Saturday, May 7, 2011

Clair De Lune

Easily the most moving piece of music ever created by Claude Debussy

Victor Hugo writing about the magic of the moon:

X. Clair de lune

La lune était sereine et jouait sur les flots.—
La fenêtre enfin libre est ouverte à la brise;
La sultane regarde, et la mer qui se brise,
Là-bas, d'un flot d'argent brode les noirs îlots.

De ses doigts en vibrant s'échappe la guitare.
Elle écoute…Un bruit sourd frappe les sourds échos.
Est-ce un lourd vaisseau turc qui vient des eaux de Cos,
Battant l'archipel grec de sa rame tartare?

Sont-ce des cormorans qui plongent tour à tour,
Et coupent l'eau, qui roule en perles sur leur aile?
Est-ce un djinn qui là-haut siffle d'une voix grêle,
Et jette dans la mer les créneaux de la tour?

Qui trouble ainsi les flots près du sérail des femmes?—
Ni le noir cormoran, sur la vague bercé,
Ni les pierres du mur, ni le bruit cadence
D'un lourd vaisseau rampant sur l'onde avec des rames.

Ce sont des sacs pesants, d'où partent des sanglots.
On verrait, en sondant la mer qui les promène,
Se mouvoir dans leurs flancs comme une forme humaine.—
La lune était sereine et jouait sur les flots.


The moon was calm, and flecked the ocean streams.
The casement opens freely to the breeze;
While the sultana watches, breaking seas
Weave the black isles below with silver seams.

The lute slips from her fingers as she plays.
She listens:…echoes, dull, from some dull sound.
Is it a Turkish ship, full, homeward bound,
Whose Tartar oars beat the Greek waterways?

Are cormorants plunging successively,
Cleaving the waves, whose pearls roll from their wings?
Perhaps a djinn, with reedy whispers, flings
The tower's battlements into the sea?

Who is thus troubling the seraglio's shores?—
Neither the cormorant cradled on the flow,
Nor the wall's capstones, nor the to-and-fro
Of heavy vessels with their dipping oars.

Merely full sacks emitting muffled screams;
And as they sink, there might perhaps be spied
Something like human forms moving inside.…
The moon was calm, and flecked the ocean streams.


I wrote a poem about a moon man about a year ago. It is by far the poem I loved writing the best because it took a piece of me with it. It wrote itself. An Ode to the magic of the moon and the man who lived there. I could listen to the music over and over again and when the notes are close together and then quick it sounds like chaos to me and I dwell in chaos. I was lost painting this morning on some old canvas I found at Goodwill, just painting over other painting and lost in the music and I looked over to find two of the cats sleeping on the edge of my desk, one giant lump of fur and two heads just lost in the music as I was and listening to the rain spit on the windows. Let's hope with all this rain comes Spring flowers. Yes, I've planted, yes I found things that popped up from the year before that I hadn't anticipated. I miss my Mom today. She was a businesswoman, running a salon but mostly I think she was a Wife. She loved being that more than anything and with that she was our mother. She made work seem effortless and my brother is more like her than I am, tender to his soul. I was thinking about her this morning, all the Halloween costumes she made, all the recitals she attended, all the birthday parties she planned and executed flawlessly, all the effort put into our lives and yet still keeping a life of her own. She painted and cooked and sewed and danced and was entirely her own person. I used to complain about going to the salon with her on Saturdays to be a shampoo girl. Today I would love to do that with her and instead I painted and wondered if I'd ever see her again.

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