Monday, August 3, 2009

Who now follows the call of the Sirens?

John William Waterhouse:
Ulysses (Odysseus) and the Sirens -- 1891

The prodigal returns to Mother Earth

But as he danced, he held the human short-lived soul
clenched tight between his teeth for fear the winds might take it.
When the great dancer had danced his fill, he shrank like fire,
the burning stones calmed down, the world stood still once more,
and as he panted, the brain-sucking man could hear
his blood leap frothing through his flesh from head to toe.
Like the lithe snake who in wide circles twists and coils,
delighting in the world from head to tail, just so
the archer wished to merge in one form head to foot.
He bent and fiercely bit his heel till his lips filled
with warm salt blood, and thus his fearful body drank
communion as he sipped his blood, refreshed, till all
his strength flowed round his body in full, steadfast rings.
Man, woman, god, and beast all merged within his blood,
turned to blood brothers, vanished in swift freedom's wheel:
"I've no more children, comrades, dogs, or gods on earth.
May they speed well and prosper, may winds fill their sails!
Enough! I want their breaths and their sweet swoons no more,
for I'm all ships, all seas, all storms, all foreign strands,
I'm both the brain-begotten god and the anti-god,
I'm the warm womb that gives me birth, the grave that eats me!
The circle is now complete, the snake has bit its tail."
At length Odysseus leapt erect, he cut new roads,
his heart grew light, his white beard gleamed like grapes in the sun,
and his mind shone like mountain summits after rain.
As the full-bodied moon stepped lightly up the sky
and the sun plunged in waters silently to cool,
the freed mind of the great god-slayer stood between them;
he felt he tossed the sun and moon in both his hands
and flung them in the sky like falcons trained so well
they came when he called again, bound with fine golden chains.
The honey of evening slowly dripped on the cool ground,
the heart grew tranquil in calm truce with sovereign Death,
till for the lone man freedom was a saddened power
that crossed her hands and watched all things on earth with tears,
and wore a wreath of cliff-weeds in her russet hair.
He passed beyond pride's arrogance, the drunken rage
of plunder, each man's secret week of sin, until
the savior, saved from his salvation, bent with awe
and kissed his mother, Earth, with sweet humility
and the due homage of a son long prodigal.

The closing lines of Book Sixteen
"The Odyssey -- A Modern Sequel"
By Nikos Kazantzakis

Song of the Earth

What better way to observe, even to celebrate, one's return from the Ethereal to the Earth than through the voices of Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli performing "Canto Della Terra" on a summer evening? There is no better way, I think.

It also seems like a good moment to prepare for the not too distant future with a second piece from Sarah and Andrea. "Time To Say Goodbye," unquestionably, is the best known of their collaborative efforts.


The Fabulous Diva said...

Hmmmm I'm reminded of a Jerome Kern song....

"Come to us, we've waited so long for you,
Ev'ry day we'll make a new song for you,
Come, come, to us we love you so.
Leave behind the world and its fretting
And we will give you rest and forgetting,
So sang the sirens ages and ages ago.

Come to us, we've waited so long for you,
We'll make life one beautiful song for you,
Come, come, to us we love you so.
That's the song the sirens will sing you,
And if you hark, to shipwreck they'll bring you,
Just as they used to ages and ages ago."

And I can understand....even I feel the Sirens' call, no matter where it takes me, to a safe distant shore, or to crash upon the's something one must follow.

Let us know when you decide to follow the Siren's call Sweet Fram.


Magdalena said...

What an amazing testimonial of enlightenment, and how very touching, how beautiful. Thank you Fram the Wolf. For listening to your music I will be back again later.

Sending you cloudy and rainy, but shining, glittering smile :-)

Fram Actual said...

You do seem to know and to enjoy the old masters, Diva. The name of Jerome Kern is one I am barely familiar with, although I have seen a few films based on his musicals and once an extravagant community theater stage production of "Show Boat."

It is very nice to see you making regular appearances again, although my own will be coming with less frequency, at least for a time.

As for when I decide to follow the call, Diva, having been a policy analyst in a previous incarnation means I am a demon for detail in planning and execution. I will begin the first of a few "rehearsal runs" next weekend, and maybe know better upon my return.

Fram Actual said...

Introspection is something either few people do or few people talk about doing, Mag. Mine has been ongoing for a couple of years and, like Odysseus, it is coming time to make another voyage. He is a good role model, I think.

I am not certain I can decide who is the better (truer) writer, Homer or Kazantzakis, which makes it difficult to differentiate between historical reality and historical fiction.

I welcome the rain for the grass and, even more, welcome the your brilliant smile for myself.

A Cuban In London said...

Fantastic music and that good ol' beast, Ulysses. Does his myth represent an innate desire in man (as in gender) to have a coterie of women singing to him? Luring him to his demise, but happy of having been sung to? Questions, questions.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Was it his grandfather or his father who was the thief, our man Odysseus / Ulysses?

He represents both the best and the worst in man, I think, but came to a good end, at least in the story invented by Kazantzakis.

I do not think there is a man or a woman who does not appreciate being surrounded by the songs of others, CiL, and we all are reckless at times in which we choose to hear and then decide to follow. No matter, though, because there are worst causes to live and to die for than love.

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Fram :)
Hope you are having a Happy Day!

Fram Actual said...

The day is fine, Kelly, and life is cooperating with me fully. I hope the same is true for you.

Piper .. said...

Were you there at Caribou Coffee(on Washington Ave and Oak street junction)yesterday afternoon? Just wondering.. Coz there was someone here and I thought it was so you :)

On second thoughts, I dont think you`re a coffee shop frequenter..or are you?

Fram Actual said...

Piper .... I almost missed you way down here. You are back from Chicago, apparently.

You saw someone with fangs and a long tail in a Caribou Coffee shop? No, it was not me. Had this been chasing a caribou on the Canadian tundra, then it might well have been me.

And, you are correct. You will not find me in a coffee shop unless it is the wish of a young lady I happen to be accompanying.

Something special ....