We apologise for last week's absence; our FT has been particularly poorly and her laptop exploded.
We are back to normal now :-) :>)



Catacombs / With the Dead in a Dead Language

Note by Ms E. Bird

We arrive at the next movement of Mussorgsky's Pictures suite. This describes a watercolour by Hartmann (above), in which the artist himself is visiting the Catacombs of Paris with architect Vasily Kenel; a guide bears a lantern by which to view the bones.

The movement comprises two parts. 'Catacombs' is full of foreboding, mingled with anger and grief; 'With the Dead in a Dead Language' has a sad yet serene mood. In contrast to the other movements of the suite, these are introspective pieces. As well as feeling sorrow, M. blamed himself in part for H.'s death. He had been with his friend when H. first experienced symptoms of an aneurysm and he was persuaded by H. that it was nothing. Naturally, after H.'s demise, he wished that he had insisted H. see a doctor.

M. claimed that H.'s creative spirit inspired him to see a pale light gleaming within the skulls, leading to conversation in Latin, 'Dead Language'. We might attempt Latin verses when we have time. Here we offer a simple dialogue to describe the exchange that enables M. to gather strength and continue with his composition.


* * *

How I rage and how I weep
through these anguished days!
collapsing into hectic sleep
drenched in vineyard haze.

VIKTOR! How I scream your name,
try to find my friend
in a maze of bones and blame
without time and end.

Skulls surround me, absent eyes,
none to see my grief,
no one hears my desperate cries,
no one speaks relief.

Fury hurls me at the walls,
hands clawed to destroy,
throw these empty forms like balls,
feel a savage joy.

Suddenly a pallid light
shines inside the skulls,
calms me in this mournful night
as pain ebbs, then dulls.

Calmly I address these dead,
'Is my Viktor here?'
All respond as if one head,
'Neither here, nor near.

'True, he visited these haunts,
by soft lantern glow,
one of his artistic jaunts,
many years ago.
'

'And where is he now?' I ask;
'In the spirit space;
we are merely crumbling mask,
in this earthen place.


'Does he blame me for his death?'
'No; he bears thee love,
only love, with his last breath,
then from up above.
'

And the pale light fades and dims
as, serene, I wake,
comforted by sounds of hymns,
music I shall make.




Poetry by Coo & Co The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2015-08-24 at 00:42

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Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
How beautiful. A consolatory voice telling him his friend loved him. It would be nice if we could talk to the departed to know they rest in peace. Rather spooky though. BOO :)
2015-08-27


Jamsbo Rockda The PoetBay support member heart!
How beautiful. A consolatory voice telling him his friend loved him. It would be nice if we could talk to the departed to know they rest in peace. Rather spooky though. BOO :)
2015-08-27


Ashe The PoetBay support member heart!
What a wonderful conversation to be able to have. My conversations with the dead always seem so one sided and do full of questions with no answers. A true masterpiece.
Ashe
2015-08-25


Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
This is very nice.
2015-08-24


countryfog
Brilliant, as always. How you have come to understand the influences and nuances and their relationship and its inspiration is truly amazing to me.

Would that we all had an opportunity to bring our regrets to those who have passed and find that they loved us and love us still.
2015-08-24

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Poems at an Exhibition
by Coo & Co