I spent the afternoon walking around Smithsonian exhibits and national momuments with my brother John, his wife Elba, their kids Anna and Kim, and my nephew Joe. Here are Kim, Elba, and Ann.
Here is a poem written and read by Dylan Thomas that my mom and I listened to this Xmas evening (20 min.):
I woke up on Xmas morning not to snow, but freezing rain. As the resident fire-builder, I immediately feared we would have no dry wood for a fire, grabbed the closest hat and coat, and went out to bring in the dry stuff at the bottom of the stack. Mom laughed and took my picture, saying I looked like an Hispanic Yankee Doodle.
Below you will find the Xmas performances of my students and I at the house concert we had on the cul-de-sac where they all live.
To see photos of the evening, go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/79775161@N00/sets/1636231/
Flea/Bee – Ian plays and Jason sings the song they wrote a few weeks ago.
World War 3 – Katie sings and plays the song she wrote.
Blowin’ in the Wind – Abby sings and plays Bob Dylan’s classic.
Twist N’ Shout – The Guit’rs (Reed, Kyle, Jason) play the Beatles.
But My Soul – The Guit’rs (Reed, Kyle, Jason) play a song written by Kyle and Jason.
Song for Andrew – The Guit’rs (Reed, Kyle, Jason) play a song written by
Kyle and Jason for Andrew for the first time.
The Box – Ellyn Hickey tells the story she wrote about boy who was the prince of Egypt.
Angels We Have Heard On High – Abby sings and Jason plays the xmas classic.
Jingle Bell Rock – Katie sings and plays.
Lord I Lift Your Name On High – Kyle plays and Jason sings a worship song.
Sing-along Medley – Overlookers: all together now!
Last Xmas, I helped my mom buy an old video of A Child’s Christmas In Wales, by Dylan Thomas. We watched the VHS tape on Christmas and it broke. So I was extatic when, as I was digging through the albums the other day at the thrift shop, I found a record of Dylan Thomas reading his own poetry: A Child’s Christmas In Wales and Five Poems. It was $1! I brought it home and digitized side 1, which contains his Christmas rememberance and Fern Hill, another of my mom’s favorite poems. I remember her qouting, “Time let me play and be golden in the mercy of his means,” about childhood.
Here is Fern Hill, read by Dylan Thomas with his elegent, sonorous, Welch lilt:[audio:2005/Fern_Hill.mp3]
by Dylan Thomas
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.
And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.
And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Here is a poem that often comes back to me, and did again thismorning:
The Snow Man
by Wallace Stevens
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
This evening, P, Lib, Maile, and I went to the Alamo Drafthouse to “see” the Audible Picture Show. A young Glasgow guy, named Matt Hulse, collects audio pieces under 5 minutes to be shown in “a dark theatre,” and takes them to dark theatres around the world. It was a great experience for a number of reasons. Many of the pieces were very well done and entertaining. The act of listening to an audio piece seems to be both more relaxing and suggestive than watching a film. My favorites were the found audio pieces like the tape which is a random collage, mostly of an older British couple trying to get the tape recorder to record, not knowing it is on. I loved the story about the blind dog that still loved to catch the frisbee and who jumps for, and gets, the microphone, when the interview cuts in to the frisbee throwing. Matt had a nice, sparse remix of Judy Garland singing a few different lines, out of order, from the Wizard of Oz. Check out the Audible Picture Show website for clips of all of the pieces in the collection. I’m going to the thriftshop to hunt for cassette tapes.