Thursday, September 1, 2011

The joy in which we come to rest...

Twenty five minutes of silent meditation at Ann's grave started the day. This we followed with readings and breakfast at the Bibury Court Hotel, at Tigger's, Ann's sister's, hospitality.

I read a short poem by Wendell Berry:

"Learn by little the desire for all things
which perhaps is not desire at all
but undying love which perhaps
is not love at all but gratitude
for the being of all things which
perhaps is not gratitude at all
but the maker's joy in what is made,
the joy in which we come to rest."

I had introduced Ann to Berry's poetry and we both recognized in it that ability that poetry has of encapsulating a seeing, a way of being, in ways immediately recognizable, so that you taste the understanding of it, rather than merely understand.

I left for a meeting in Bristol and drove across the Cotswolds accompanied at first by Vaughan Williams' Lark Ascending: music played at Ann's funeral and that has remained glistening in memory and regard ever since, appropriate to the time and to the place.

On the way back I listened to assorted pieces by Holst: a composer I love very much - I would like his Brook Green Suite played at my funeral. I always feel deeply sorry that his oeuvre as a whole is overshadowed by his perceived masterpiece: The Planets. There is so much more to enjoy - Egdon Heath or the Hymn to Jesus or the music inspired by themes Indian - the settings of hymns from the Rig Veda for example (for which he tried to learn Sanskrit to make his own translations). He is certainly the most spiritually questing of composers, in a modern vein, ecumenical to a fault.


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