Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tom Waits and Jack Gilbert: A Song and a Poem

One song, one poem:

This popped up on the ipod on the way to work and, as it always does after I hear it, has been haunting me all week. No candidate for Issa's Sunday Service, still I thought it well worth posting the haunting "What's He Building in There," with the clichéd hope that I'd get rid of it that way.

It's all yours. Good luck passing it on ...


And here's a poem found last week on the Writer's Almanac site well worth passing on, from Jack Gilbert's excellent collection, Refusing Heaven:

Failing and Flying
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.
Jack Gilbert

flying two feet
then two feet more
translated by David G. Lanoue



Ed Baker said...

well now...

I think that I will email you... some things,
even for me, are
(sort of) "sacred"
;try Jack's Views of Jeopardy

long long time for him between books/poems. and

used to go see/hear Tom Waits (and others) at The Bohemian Caverns and The Showboat Lounge 60's and 70's... frequently

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Hey, Ed ... Jack the best ... I've heard varying reports about how he is doing - the work has a painful beauty, the anguish of sorrow, of loss, and also life's wonder full ness.

What's he building in there?

Ed Baker said...

Bob A saw Jack last year at a poetry reading/event. I think in Vermont near where Jack lives.

not sure if Jack read.

poem of Jack's you post seems to me to be about Linda in Lindos about 1970... then he takes it (or it takes us) beyond the immediate into Big Mind, where the private is public and our "muses" (real and imagined), rule the roost!


Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Yes, Ed ... that seems very much spot-on ...

Jhon Baker said...

Often I wonder what the neighbors think and I believe it to be along these lines, However, my wife and I share the line "what's he building in there?" as a sort of private joke. Love Tom.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

What IS he building in there?
What is he BUILDING in there?
WHAT is he building in there?

Yes, we are all suspect, we are all guilty, and we are all redeemed in the Tom Waits' world we live in ...

Thanks, Jhon.