Sunday, December 12, 2010

Althea: Issa's Sunday Service, #81

This week's selection is one I just ran across during the recent 30 Days of the Dead promotion and really enjoyed.  It is a serious Litrock song, with references to Hamlet that are professionally cited in the Annotated Althea lyrics from the truly amazing Annotated Dead Lyrics webpage.  Attention to detail like this - well, the folks from the War on Drugs simply never give you the upside.  Here's the verse relevant to Hamlet:

You may be Saturday's child all grown
moving with a pinch of grace
You may be a clown in the burying ground
or just another pretty face
You may be the fate of Ophelia
sleeping and perchance to dream -
honest to the point of recklessness
self centered to the extreme

The referencing of Richard Lovelace's To Althea from Prison (1649) will set anybody back on their heels.  The poem contains, among much else, the famed lines "stone walls do not a prison break / Nor iron bars a cage."  Besides Hamlet and Lovelace, there is also the old folk song "Monday's Child" in the line "You may be Saturday's child all grown," as noted above.   This one is jam packed and lovely, too.

This is the Dead's second appearance on the Sunday Service and, with this annotated site ready for detailed perusal, I'm sure it won't be the last.   Let's cap this one with a live performance of said tune from 1982:


This week's selection from the Lilliput archive comes from issue #126, July 2002, and is from West Virginia poet, John McKernan.  It is fine:

Distant Church Bell at Midnight
  High C   Butterfly
  Of sound   Larva
  Of darkness   Peeling off
  Layer upon layer of silence

  Twelve strokes   That
  Wooden hammer once
  A tree  The bell itself
  Once flecks of lead & silver   Hidden

  Under the hard earth's soft shadows
John McKernan

Reading this after so many years, I suddenly realized that perhaps it has a relationship to the following:

       on the temple bell  

Sometimes blissful ignorance has its pending rewards.

the praying mantis
hangs by one hand...
temple bell
translated by David G. Lanoue


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Go to the LitRock web site for a list of all 81 songs
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1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I never listened to a lot of the Greatful Dead's music but they did do some cool lyrics. I would not have gotten all these references, though. Not without help.