I am hoping to take some time off today and tomorrow. This seems to be difficult for me lately. I do have a lot on my plate. My Mom’s in the hospital and I need to be attentive to that as well. But I am exhausted from the last several days.
I finished The Stillness of the World Before Bach by Swedish poet, Lars Gustafsson recently. I was so impressed with his work that I ordered a used copy of his Elegies and Other Poems.
I read the first poem in this collection on Amazon this morning.
A couple days ago I read a poem by James Weldon Johnson called “Listen, Lord: A prayer.” I remember listening to a recording of his poem, “God’s Trombones,” (from which this poem is taken) as a kid and being very impressed with It.
I think I still am. This may be one of my first experiences of hymnody and religion as art. I just checked and I not only have the vinyl record from my childhood (originally owned by my parents), I seem to have purchased a second copy probably because the older record is in bad shape.
This is definitely a hokey rendition of the poetry. But reading the poem helped me realize how sincerely I am attracted to the poetry of the Negro Spiritual. I ordered a beautiful copy of James Weldon Johnson: Writings
During the last paragraph, I took a break and Skyped with Sarah and Lucy in England. This morning is getting away from me. I need to get over and check on Mom at the hospital.
I’m finishing listening to the recording of “God’s Trombones.” I don’t find the music that attractive, but the poetry manages to come through to me even in this version. I see on my record that the flip side is recordings of five spirituals, none of them in versions that would be my choice to use these days.