Day 27: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

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I ran into a most interesting Ted Ed video today talking about Vivaldi’s piece, The Four Seasons. It explained several reasons as to why Vivaldi was far ahead of his time, but it also revealed that accompanying the four parts of The Four Seasons were four sonnets that are reflected in the music.

The Ted ed video describes that if one were to read the poems simultaneously to hearing the music, they would see that the music perfectly describes what’s happening in the poem—everything from birds singing in starting Spring, to thunderstorms and crackling fire, to slips and falls on Winter ice.

It’s an elevated experience listening to Vivaldi’s Four seasons while reading these poems at the same time:

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Listen to Audio here

Spring – Concerto in E Major
Allegro
Springtime is upon us.
The birds celebrate her return with festive song,
and murmuring streams are softly caressed by the breezes.
Thunderstorms, those heralds of Spring, roar, casting their dark mantle over heaven,
Then they die away to silence, and the birds take up their charming songs once more.

Largo
On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead, the goat-herd sleeps, his faithful dog beside him.

Allegro
Led by the festive sound of rustic bagpipes, nymphs and shepherds lightly dance beneath the brilliant canopy of spring.

Summer – Concerto in g-minor
Allegro non molto
Beneath the blazing sun’s relentless heat
men and flocks are sweltering,
pines are scorched.
We hear the cuckoo’s voice; then sweet songs of the turtle dove and finch are heard.
Soft breezes stir the air….but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. The shepherd trembles, fearful of violent storm and what may lie ahead.

Adagio e piano – Presto e forte
His limbs are now awakened from their repose by fear of lightning’s flash and thunder’s roar, as gnats and flies buzz furiously around.

Presto
Alas, his worst fears were justified, as the heavens roar and great hailstones beat down upon the proudly standing corn.

 

Autumn – Concerto in F Major
Allegro
The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in.
The cup of Bacchus flows freely, and many find their relief in deep slumber.

Adagio molto
The singing and the dancing die away
as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air,
inviting all to sleep
without a care.

Allegro
The hunters emerge at dawn,
ready for the chase,
with horns and dogs and cries.
Their quarry flees while they give chase.
Terrified and wounded, the prey struggles on,
but, harried, dies.

Winter – Concerto in f-minor
Allegro non molto
Shivering, frozen mid the frosty snow in biting, stinging winds;
running to and fro to stamp one’s icy feet, teeth chattering in the bitter chill.

Largo
To rest contentedly beside the hearth, while those outside are drenched by pouring rain.

Allegro
We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously, for fear of tripping and falling.
Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and, rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up.
We feel the chill north winds coarse through the home despite the locked and bolted doors…
this is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights.

(original poems in Italian: see here)

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Day 24: Just a poem

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“Hello? Hello?
I’m calling to speak to your heart
Is it up? Pardon me—is it too late?

“It’s never too late,” it says to me
gently, as it takes my call.

And I start talking without a pause:
I like you, adore you, I want to eat you up
—er, I mean because you’re cute…

To me, you’re like no other man
kind and soft, like tiptoe breeze
why, you make Canadians look even harsh.

You circle my mind, morning and night
few moments of dream with you
are fuller than a bed of clouds.

The way my heart crumbles
when escapes from you a single tear
I’d wish away the window between us
swallow you up in my arms.

Esteemed poet left me these few words:
Accept not the heart enchained by mind
And so I’ve summoned not you today
but instead your middle core.

Because, the moment
we really met
my eyes landed not on your able head.

They went
straight for your heart.

Day 20: Spring

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Short, sweet melody of the year
when eyes delight at every step
bare tree today, is prickly tomorrow
prickly today, budding tomorrow
budding today, blooming tomorrow
blooming today, Awe tomorrow

Slowing footsteps, freezing them
Bending faces out of shape
Each turn in time, I clutch my heart
I slap my forehead as I would in grief—

I cannot make sense of this Beloved Spring

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Day 13: Tiny Little Ant

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How peaceful and fine
it is to watch a moving ant

A march, a scuttle
a momentary pause

routes and patterns
much too advanced

I wonder what you’re planning next

There’s crumbs out yet
you appear to ignore them all

Sometimes its you, scoping about
And then some moments your friends too

I go about baking
your visits alongside
Comfortable and conscious
at the same time

It’s time to clean the counters now
but I cannot bear wiping
where you’re hanging out

And when I see you there
with a crumb
crouched beneath the bowl of fruit

My heart is a thousand smiles

Tiny little ant,
how do I thank the Lord
He put you graciously
in my soul.

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Day 12: Friendship

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Friendship

Time is strange
but stranger than all
are the things with time
God arranges all around

A friendly face, a genuine joy
on my face
and my friend’s alike

I remember the parting day when
I cried on the whole walk home

And yet here we are
our separate orbits visible
again
Shouting so happily
back and forth
again

Like time had not
so much as flinched

I told them
I tell them all
People don’t easily
just fall out of Space.

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Day 6: Earth Song

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Inspired by a friend’s posts, I tried three times to write about what I’m feeling, but couldn’t do it quite right. It may not be time yet. But before I even wrote what was on my mind, I was reminded of a song by Michael Jackson. His words say, rather perfectly, what I would have liked to.

It’s a strange world. We walk on carpets, on pavement, and stone. What does it feel like to have Earth under us anymore. I feel as though we’re all sedated, and forgot how the universe works—that there are cycles, forgot that we owe back, forgot that there’s no free lunch, but most of all, forgot compassion. Isn’t that what makes us human at all?

But it isn’t over. Not yet asleep, we’re somehow still in the stage when things are drifting down. There are voices, faint and few—who know not sleep, and try their best to keep their eyes open. Our eyes flicker too when we hear them. I know they do.

Even the sun doesn’t come out all at once. Steps and stages are part of the Design. It takes each raindrop to make rainfall. Should we not intend—try—just a little bit, when our eyes flicker this way at our souls?

 

Earth Song (listen to it too)
Michael J Jackson

What about sunrise?
What about rain?
What about all the things that you said
We were to gain?
What about killing fields?
Is there a time?
What about all the things
That you said were yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice
All the blood we’ve shed before?
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying Earth, these weeping shores?

What have we done to the world?
Look what we’ve done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son?
What about flowering fields?
Is there a time?
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine?
Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war?
Did you ever stop to notice
This crying earth, these weeping shores?

I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don’t know where we are
Although I know we’ve drifted far

Hey, what about yesterday
(What about us)
What about the seas
(What about us)
The heavens are falling down
(What about us)
I can’t even breathe
(What about us)
What about apathy
(What about us)
Burnt despite our pleas
(What about us)
What about the holy land
(What about it)
Torn apart by creed
(What about us)
Where did we go wrong

Someone tell me why
(What about us)
What about babies
(What about it)
What about the days
(What about us)
What about all their joy
Do we give a damn

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Day 5: Ode to Telfair

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I sit forever at the Meadowcroft light.
It doesn’t like to turn green you see.
And so I’m forced to use my time,
for refuge sits just to my side.

The green sways green all seasons long
And tall grasses strut their blooms.
They sit like Wonka’s yellow teacups
at the edge of dancing hay.

Beyond this scape, a bed of roses
is soft shocking pink, blushing mild
how indeed, it lives so full
at both ends of its own pendulum.

Bunches of trees are planted together
so have you the fortune of a stroll
there are bouts of shade
all along your taken path.

It’s concrete, concrete, everywhere
But the grackle calls me away at once.
How it swoops down on lawn and cars alike
jumping about in its black and blue
velvety like the starry skies.

And that one turn from Whole Foods to SH6
How horrid it always is. Congested, busy, such a pain.
But when duck and its tiny twelve step off the curb
the highway stops and genially swerves.

Between Target, fast food, and sandy banks
a little pond flourishes with turkey-like fowl.
Why, even the weeds here are so beautiful,
professing flowers like sheer butterflies.

But did I mention the butterflies?
How they dance around my driveway
And everyone else’s too.
Monarchs and small yellow ones.
And with them I dance too.

Also in and around my garage
jump tiny frogs smaller than my hand—
So small, two or three
could snuggle into my palm.

There’s crocodiles in that one park
and slugs in the morning path.
But stand and admire not long
Fire ants reign most parts of town.

It isn’t easy to drive straight down the road
such birds are flying right above
A flash of blue, or full yellow coat.

Dragonflies, the size of smaller birds
buzz around as you dodge and duck.

Above the artificial, man-made lake,
stand on the wooden bridge that’s been drawn
30 small turtles will gather near below
in the water under your stance.

Magnolias towering, ominous,
stand like soldiers everywhere,
Polished leaves and flowers large
They evoke my unfixed stare.

Between the shopping mall,
old trees shade the two way road
reds and violets bloom and gloat
a world of green glitters
lush and heavy in the afternoon sun.

Fruits trees are not uncommon folk.
Oranges hang off the backs of homes
Banana trees peek from within.
Hibiscus and herbs
figs and frangipani.
The aging date palm
by the post office road.

This land between two high roads,
new homes and cookie-cutter stores.
Where the signal is so often red,
Life whirls around
as Blessing
as air.

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