Tuesday, November 15, 2005

So my horrid poetry professor finally redeemed herself. Let me explain her shortcomings to you as succinctly as possible:

1) She has no "tactful" setting.
2) She has no mental filter between what she is thinking and what she says. So, for example, a typical sentence about Emily Dickinson might run something like this: "She's writing about the *gasp* and the *whoosh*. In all of her poems, you've got the *gasp* at the beginning of each line and the *whoosh* at the end of each line. Right? [insert manic, inappropriate laughter here] I mean, you know what I mean? Anyway...oh, by the way...[digression into a topic about some other poet she has a crush on] "
3) She is hostile to people she percieves as having ideas about poetry that are in any way different from her own. (And Chem majors, too.)

I could go on, but I won't, since, as I said, she has redeemed herself in some manner. Today, she brought in a CD player and a Leonard Cohen album. She wanted to give us an idea of the character layers that form in some poems, and how multiple characters can be combined into a more abstract entity, such as a city or place. To that end she had us read The God forsakes Anthony, by Constantine Cavafy. She then played a song off of Cohen's fairly recent album, "Ten New Songs."
The song is called:

Alexandra Leaving

Suddenly the night has grown colder
The god of love preparing to depart
Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder

They slip between the sentries of the heart

Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure
They gain the light, they formlessly entwine
And radiant beyond your widest measure
They fall among the voices and the wine

It’s not a trick, your senses all deceiving
A fitful dream the morning will exhaust
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost

Even though she sleeps upon your satin
Even though she wakes you with a kiss
Do not say the moment was imagined
Do not stoop to strategies like this

As someone long prepared for this to happen
Go firmly to the window, drink it in
Exquisite music, Alexandra laughing
Your firm commitments tangible again

And you who had the honor of her evening
And by that honor had your own restored
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving
Alexandra leaving with her lord

Even though she sleeps upon your satin
Even though she wakes you with a kiss
Do not say the moment was imagined
Do not stoop to strategies like this

As someone long prepared for the occasion
In full command of every plan you wrecked
Do not choose a coward’s explanation
That hides behind the cause and the effect

And you who were bewildered by a meaning
Whose code was broken, crucifix uncrossed
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost

Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost...


Wow. Can he write or what...? The way I see it, any professor who plays this for her class and shows them Cavafy's work to pore over in comparison to this richly sorrowful hymn, can redeem at least some of her shortcomings. Maybe I can forgive her hostility towards me at least for giving me the oppurtunity to add another song to my life.

1 Comments:

Blogger Dymphna said...

mygod. What a song...I'm speechless.

Except to say, except...this is what a Four is like when he has limned his soul, when he is old and the fires are banked but not out. By no means out.

This is the end of the mystic's journey, though it really has no end. This is an end. One end. He has more....

(My only fear is that he has had it over-produced. He does that sometimes, as though he thinks he is not enough)

12:29 AM  

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