Tonight I could write the saddest poem of all, yet I choose not to.
Lights draw constellations for muses and the skies have stars in their eyes.
I loved him and often he loved me too.
Just as love is eternal, he once belonged to my ardent kisses.
On nights like this he held me in his arms.
He kissed me so many times under infinite blues.
Tonight I write this poem left glowing in the dark:
Not one of pain, but the one of a love full of passion.
90 words, memyselfandela, 2014
Behind the fences of my soul
Where foxes did not need to hunt
And hares lived in bliss
I had grown you my garden of roses.
The wolf and the lamb in my heart
Were living always together,
No affliction or fear had come upon them
In the quiet shelter of this world.
You have come and then left like a thief
Greedily taking my defenses
, merciless crushing my peace.
Now that I’m broken and cold like a dying stone,
Away from all sanctuary, my heart blooms your last rose.
Photos: Adela Galasiu
90 words, memyselfandela, 2014
Have you ever doubted that life is beautiful? This is life. 🙂
Memyselfandela, June 2013
I’m tired of pretending
That my soul didn’t pulverise over you
When you betrayed me.
I’m done with dreaming of deliverance
After you’ve been one side and the other
Of my love universe.
Keep my stolen trust
And the dying smile in the corner of my eyes,
I’ve been only one in your big jar of hearts.
Dazzling pain struck me
I should have never loved you, stranger,
You who’ve never been and will never be true.
Withering days will pass, light will pierce this night
In another life where it will be
Your turn to wander in the dark.
Photo: Mal Smart
Today I offer you a rhapsody from my heart. An effusively rapturous and extravagant discourse. My expression of enthusiasm and praise for a musical piece that I absolutely madly deeply adore.
Whoever has read my blog in the past knows that I am passionate about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I have written about it in the past and I listen to it every once in a while when I am happy or when I recharge my inner batteries. Yesterday, as I read one very surprising comment on my blog, I have realised that I have never taken the time to put together all the reasons why I love this musical piece so very much.
The comment came from a BBC Radio 4 producer who is researching for a programme about Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I was first of all completely surprised that my post about Gershwin even showed up in an online search. But it was even more exciting for me when I had the joy to discuss on the phone with the producer and I was asked what feelings this particular piece of music awakens in my memory and heart.
If I want to explain what I feel about it I need to rewind my whole life. My memories of it start in childhood when I heard this piece on the radio and have simply fallen in love with it. Coming from a family that loved music, I have listened to both classics and modern music as I grew up. I have fed my spirit with opera played on old magnetic cassettes, with Chopin and Beethoven, with Ravel and Vivaldi, just like I have fed my soul later on in my life with the music of the 80’s and the rock music. When I was a child music was a great joy for us, as in the communism we did not have access to all the variety of entertainment that one can experience now. It was only natural that I fell in love with this piece that infuses Jazz, Impressionism and classical elements molten in a 20th Century romantic theme offered with brittle and quirky interruptions.
This appreciation for the Rhapsody in Blue has continued throughout all my life. Every time when I was defeated and low I have sat and listened to it. Unlike other people with linear lives I have been through many changes, I have witnessed a lot of pain, loss, death, suffering, but also love, joy, sacrifice and hope. Wherever things were worst in my family I was present. Throughout this all, whenever I have listened to this piece of music I have added another pearl of feeling to what has become now a very long string. To me it is now not only music, but a masterpiece and pure beauty. And because it has been with me through it all, happy moments, sad moments and great changes, it has become a part of me and a symbol of life itself.
When I say life I don’t mean only good things. Life has many layers, ups and downs, just like the human mind and heart. There are many shades and colours, numerous moments of darkness and light that create the clear image of our multidimensional reality, a rich kaleidoscope of feelings, moments, images and sounds that create a whole.
Many people don’t know that this piece of music was a commission and that it has been written in a train. This may sound uninteresting for some, what is a train you may say. Well, for me a train means volumes. My father has passed away in a train. I have loved travelling by train all my life. Even now the train is my favourite transportation to wherever I go. It brings memories, it revives moments in my past, it is also (for those who believe that dreams have a meaning) a symbol of change, passage and novelty in one’s life. Gershwin says himself: “It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise… “. He is right, it often happens to me too to hear the tune in the noise…
Rhapsody in Blue was a challenge because it was created in a very short period of time, against the clock, by a young and ambitious Gershwin that didn’t want someone else to steal his idea. This speaks volumes for me again. Under a similar pressure I have left Romania and started a new life in a moment when I felt I must do and I can do more with my life. I was young, ambitious and a bit unaware of what life may bring. But I didn’t care, I had only one thing in my mind- I wanted to make it. I think it is out of such moments of determination that meaningful things get born.
Did you know that the original title was “American Rhapsody”? In the end the title of this piece was inspired by two famous paintings of James Whistler of which one, “Nocturne In Blue And Green of the Thames at Chelsea”, has been rejected and misunderstood in the beginning because it was too modern for the moment when it was offered to the public. There are people who, despite of being rejected for their ideas or passion, carry on and believe in their dream until one day that dream proves to be an extraordinary thing. They may not see all the staircase, but they go up step by step, they simply have faith. It is not easy to believe in your own value when maybe nobody else does, yet being consistent in your efforts brings great results in the end.
Gershwin was not conservatory trained, an awareness of which he carried with him to his grave, and something his arch critics would never allow future students of the piano to forget. Yet, no conservatory teaches talent, so nothing can stand in front of Gershwin’s unique style and genius. Pianists have consistently interpreted Gershwin somewhere between the classicism of Chopin and the 20th Century romanticism of Rachmaninoff, but when it comes to Gershwin’s strict rhythms, what is not heard is more important than what is, for it is the magic of the split-second spacing between the notes that brings Gershwin’s Rhapsody to life in a melodic thread woven itself into a masterpiece.
The Rhapsody, with its composer as soloist, was premiered in front of a packed house that included Rachmaninov, Kreisler, McCormack, Godowsky, Sousa, Heifetz and Stokowski. Even the ones that later did not like it when it was first presented to the public and said it would have been “structurally flawed” have categorised it as a “sentimental” piece. It is as melancholic as my Romanian soul and it is full of feeling and light. It is sad at some points. It is happy, rhythmic and improvised too. Through all these characteristics it is ALIVE. If you would listen to only a part of it, if you would take a bit out of it, if you would listen to it all it would be just as alive, and that is amazing. It is a series of stories put all together, a series of songs that match perfectly in a single, uninterrupted composition of continuous and extravagant enthusiasm.
I have listened to it through various moments in my life and I have understood it in different ways. It speaks to me of happy childhood years. The first clarinet trill reminds me of a new beginning, of a new day, of sunrise. I am an animation movie lover, so when I have seen it translated into image by Disney’s Fantasia 2000 I have added even more meaning to it, as I thought that the animation is a perfect illustration for the hope trapped inside this fabulous piece of music. And I will always remember how I danced on this piece with the man I love. In a moment in time, in a quiet evening, in a quiet flat, in a quiet neighbourhood in London he has taken my hand in his hand and we have danced on this wonderful rhapsody. Our souls were dancing too, we were happy, the heart was full, the world was in the right place and we were in the right feeling.
I love Rhapsody in Blue for many reasons, for the sweet sentimental parts, for the crescendos, for the vivid pace, for the epic dimension of it, for the jazz veins and the classical bursts. My interpretation of it is perfectly subjective, I see it through the lenses of my own soul, maybe different than other people. But for me it represents life itself seen through the eyes of an optimist. Unflawed and tightly woven, with its early 20th Century innocence and brilliant musical statements taken in and out of the performers and listeners souls, Rhapsody in Blue is for me a personal stairway to paradise.
Photos: “Blue”, Adela Galasiu 2013
1500 words, memyselfandela, January 2014
More about Gershwin : Gershwin plays Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – posted in April 2012
BBC Radio 4 – Soul Music – The stories behind pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact. http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/soulmusic
Love never died with our bodies, lover
In our lost moment
We are still the same dreamers touching the sky.
When I sink in you
I can touch deep your spirit
Far away from this island where you left me marooned.
Mud volcanos burst and
as their earthly colours transfigure
heavenly beauty rises from the pain.
Roots of passion feed the memory
Of the love blooming in your eyes
Like the only roses ever born.
Most people don’t know that I used to be, many years ago, a movie devourer. And when I say this I mean it. My love for movies has started when my late father started to take me to the cinema. In a communist country one could not see much on TV, but what was extraordinary in those times was that people were getting tickets to the “Cinemateca”, a cinematographic phenomenon that has impregnated my memories from early childhood. I remember going with my parents and seeing many art movies, western movies and movies one could have never got to see on TV.
Many years later I have rediscovered the cinematography dream as the communism has died and the Romanians were able to get free access to any movie one could dream of. Throughout the years I must have watched hundreds of movies of all genres. Then life took it’s toll and I didn’t have the time for this passion till recently when I got back to my roots.
One of the movies I have seen not a long time ago (but long after being released) is “The Book of Eli”. And what I made of it is a very personal statement and very subjective thing.
It is a post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind. “The Book of Eli” is not a commercial movie. It has griped my attention throughout the story and it has thrown at me some surprise moments that have made everything in the entire movie more surreal.
Eli, a lone wanderer, has been walking west across the devastated landscape of America for 30 years, on his way to the sea. 30 years is a lifetime. 30 years is a metaphor. 3 is a sacred number, a divine number and 30 is almost the age a man should have had in order to be considered an adult in the Old Testament. This speaks to me of the path of a man in a hard life, of the sacrifices one needs to make just to find his way.
How does Eli know he’s walking the right way? “Faith,” he says. This simple reply takes on added resonance later in the film. But also speaks volumes to those that think that life is more than just a physical existence. If life has a greater purpose and we all have a destiny, the difficult and dry part of it is to actually find that purpose and fight for it.
Eli is indeed a great fighter as he needs to be in order to survive after witnessing the catastrophe that has wiped out most of the Earth’s population and left behind ruin, desolation, victimized humans and roaming motorcycle gangs of hijackers and thieves. The Hughes brothers, Albert and Allen, film this story in sunburned browns and pale blues, creating a dry and dusty world under a merciless sky. Water is treasure. There’s no exuberance in this world, only survival. There’s no great joy in Eli’s life, maybe only the solemn joy of reading his book and hearing music long forgotten by most others. This wasteland Eli treks at an implacable pace. Set upon in an ambush, he kills all his attackers. He’s got one of those swords that makes a unique noise all by itself, so you can consider him a one-man army.
Washington and the Hughes brothers do a good job of establishing this man and his world, and at first, “The Book of Eli” seems destined to be solemn. But then Eli arrives at a Western town ruled by Carnegie , who, like all the local bosses in Westerns and gangster movies, sits behind a big desk flanked by a tall bald guy and, of course, a short scruffy one. In this town, desperate and starving people live in rusty cars and in the streets. We meet Carnegie’s abused wife Claudia and her daughter Solara, a prostitute in Carnegie’s bar. He controls everybody by fear and manipulation.
Carnegie needs Eli because he has maybe the last remaining copy of a book believed to allow the expansion and rule over many more towns. “RELIGION IS POWER” Carnegie says, and this phrase makes it even more clear that we talk about the last Bible on the face of Earth and about the thirst of domination rising in the human mind.
The third act seems to be taken out of many Westerns in which the hero and the girl hole up and are surrounded. That allows countless beams of sunlight to shine in the dusty atmosphere and work as a metaphor. It can be the hope in the darkness of soul and mind. It can be breaking the rules and going beyond Eli’s limits to make a dream and life mission come true. The image of Eli walking numb by the side of the street after being shot reminds of the incredible resistance of the human spirit in the worst conditions.
Populated by a vivid imagery , the movie has a magnificent ending , unpredictable and almost implausible, breaking apart from the movie and having a life of its own. The human mind and soul can be the carrier of a dream. The dream of transmitting a message to another generation, the dream of a better world born out of ashes. If there’s a message at the end of this movie that can only be that hope never dies and one should never give up his dream.
930 words, memyselfandela, January 2014