It was good to get away for a couple of days. I breezed through the last two days returning to my life in Helland. It occurs to me that I am going to have to change our All Saints anthem due to erratic rehearsal attendance. It’s slightly frustrating because I know if I could see people a bit more regularly we could accomplish more musically. But that’s the way it works for me these days in this place. Ah well.
I managed to pull the choir sound together yesterday. Despite the usual negativity emanating from a few of them, they did a good job as a group. We ended the service with the congregational hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” The prelude and postlude were both based on this hymn. And although it was “bishop visit Sunday,” it was satisfying to play the hymn and the pieces based on them. After church a woman came up and introduced herself. I recognized her as someone who has been attending recently. She told me she was a RCA minister and was grateful for the nod to the Reformation.
Any given Sunday, it seems, there are wounded people in the room.
I can’t think of that hymn without thinking of an old satire I heard once on it which began “A Mighty Fortress is our Church.”
After church and lunch and boggle with beautiful Eileen, I grocery shopped. Then back to church for a session on the bench. No drinky poo last night. I gained a couple of pounds during my attitude adjustment vacation. Blood pressures remains okay.
I had some serendipity this morning reading Amiri Baraka. I stumbled onto a bitter little poem entitled “Othello Jr. (One Moor Time.” It doesn’t seem to be floating around out there on the interwebs. Baraka draws a bitter little parallel between Shakespeare’s play and the O.J. Simpson trial: “Marsha Clarke Desdemona.”
I have been reading the play. I did so this morning. Living in such a “white” world, it helps me to read Baraka’s angry poetry. Also Tyhimba Jess and Derek Walcott. I’m also plugging away on Edward Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (on p. 274 of 420 pp.)
There was an amazing section in a poem called “Morningsport Moan” in Jess’s Leadbelly I read this morning. This is the voice of Leadbelly as imagined by the poet.
the band of whites wanted their songs virginal, full of salvation they would army on its skin like the whip marks burned into my back. but i knew the back door way of that tune, how it snuck its way out of the parlor and spread its legs wide in saloon. i sang it back to them low down and bent up, the slow somber way you tell a man the truth about his wife, where he can really find her when he’s working his hands till they’re brittle as hay.
Once again the poetry is an antidote to living in an insular unreal world.