At a Solemn Musick by Delmore Schwartz

Discussion in 'Audio Poem of the Day' started by FlamingFeenix, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. FlamingFeenix

    FlamingFeenix
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    [mp3=http://jpicforum.info/audio-poem-of-the-day/delmore-schwartz_at-a-solemn-musick.mp3]At a Solemn Musick by Delmore Schwartz[/mp3]

    [fieldset=At a Solemn Musick by Delmore Schwartz (1913–1966)]Let the musicians begin,
    Let every instrument awaken and instruct us
    In love’s willing river and love’s dear discipline:
    We wait, silent, in consent and in the penance
    Of patience, awaiting the serene exaltation
    Which is the liberation and conclusion of expiation.

    Now may the chief musician say:
    “Lust and emulation have dwelt amoung us
    Like barbarous kings: have conquered us:
    Have inhabited our hearts: devoured and ravished
    —With the savage greed and avarice of fire—
    The substance of pity and compassion.”

    Now may all the players play:
    “The river of the morning, the morning of the river
    Flow out of the splendor of the tenderness of surrender.”
    Now may the chief musician say:
    “Nothing is more important than summer.”

    And now the entire choir shall chant:
    “How often the astonished heart,
    Beholding the laurel,
    Remembers the dead,
    And the enchanted absolute,
    Snow’s kingdom, sleep’s dominion.”

    Then shall the chief musician declare:
    “The phoenix is the meaning of the fruit,
    Until the dream is knowledge and knowledge is a dream.”

    And then, once again, the entire choir shall cry, in passionate unity,
    Singing and celebrating love and love’s victory,
    Ascending and descending the heights of assent, climbing and chanting triumphantly:
    Before the morning was, you were:
    Before the snow shone,
    And the light sang, and the stone,
    Abiding, rode the fullness or endured the emptiness,
    You were: you were alone.[/fieldset]


    -------------------------
    Delmore Schwartz, “At a Solemn Musick” from Summer Knowledge: Selected Poems (1938-1958). Copyright © 1959 by Delmore Schwartz. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
     
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