Posts Tagged ‘alienation’

The Troubled Waters

July 26, 2016

TroubledRiver

Paul Simon presents a grim solemnity as he croons his old tune, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, for the convened Democrats yesterday in Philadelphia. In  sharing with them this classic, well-loved anthem that he wrote, Paul imparts a  sense of profound desperation. But the weary, hopeless person whose dire circumstance is so poetically described in the song receives, in the end,  a deliverance. Hope shines through when a caring friend intervenes.

Paul’s tender message of friendship is well-received by the Democrats. They take the inspiration to heart by joining in, and swaying to the music’s gentle rhythm.

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v12fPV6QmeU

While viewing this scene on YouTube yesterday, I noticed Paul’s grave countenance, and I was a little surprised by the obvious aging that has reshaped his face.  Many years ago, I was greatly moved–as many of my boomer generation were– by his poetic, prophetic songs. Here is one from back in the day, for which he is perhaps most well-known:

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDIjj7CQYZw

 That was Paul Simon then, in 1965; but this is now, 2016. The world seems to be a very different place.

Yesterday in Philadelphia, the assembled Democrats responded empathetically to Paul’s solemn presentation of Bridge over Troubled Waters.      

But We Americans are a diverse collection of people. Those communitarian Democrats represent a certain segment of our population. There is, however, another strain of us Americana whose emphasis is not so much on community and everybody getting together to solve society’s problem.  I’m talking about the rugged individualists.

About the same time–mid 1960’s–that Paul Simon was so profoundly poeticizing our youthful alienation, there was– on the golden horizon of seasoned celebrity– another very popular singer. He was a smooth crooner whose older, mellowing generational zeitgeist had arisen from a very different historical time and circumstance.

Here’s a clip of Frank Sinatra, the original crooner a la 1940’s, as he belts out the song that became a theme for many, many Americans of his generation. It is a tune that expresses the determination and perseverance of his generation–the same generation that ran the Nazis and the Fascists back into their holes over there in old Europe.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnXIPV6Jh4Y

Ole Blue Eyes Frank made it big during his given time. Back in his day it was all about celebrating the good times that settled in after the War, getting all dressed up, having a few drinks, and laughing.

A couple of decades later, the sensitive poet Simon, like Dylan and others, came along, touching the troubled nerve of a booming generation that couldn’t seem to find its place in that old way of viewing the world.

So, seeing yesterday, ole Paul as he lead the communitarians in wailing that tender tune–this had an meaningful impact on me. Finding myself now in a never-never land between two obese political parties, I am alienated, wandering, looking for the party, but unable to find one that celebrates what I know to be true.

Stranger in a strange country, I wonder as I wander. . . out under the darkening sky.

But every now and then I encounter something or someone that partly expresses what I dimly discern in this land of  troubled waters– a stubborn, though fragile, life that is draped in mystery, yet with occasional glimpses of our sure mortality, and a hopeful longing  for immortality.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuXb4She_sU

Glass half-Full

The way of the World

July 24, 2014

Just rip my heart out o me

will ya? Go ahead and

snuff out any hope of justice or

mercy in this world,

as we hear of hundreds clueless

passengers get shot down because

ukraine is bleeding thirty-eight thousand feet

below,

and hundreds more of Gazan kids get blown to

kingdom come,

while ISIS caliphators purge Christ

from Mosul. Just

rip my heart out will ya?

Once again just rip my

heart will ya while

the Innocents get nailed to crooked

damn cross

between power and purge,

between them that are bad and

them that are worse.

Makes me wanna curse

but I won’t cuz it been done already

enough.

Just send in the

hearse

will ya?

 

Smoke

the Bloomsbury angst

March 5, 2012

Luminary lady of the Bloomsbury literary clique, Virginia Woolf, published her novel, The Years, with Harcourt, Brace & Co. in 1937.

On page 296, Nicholas, the mysterious Polish sage, is conversing with Eleanor, Digby’s niece. In the story, the year is 1917; German bombs are dropping on London whilst they sit in a cellar at Westminster discussing the soul:

“But how…” she began, “how can we improve ourselves…live more…” she dropped her voice as if she were afraid of waking sleepers, “…live more naturally…better…How can we?”

“It is only a question,” he said–he stopped. He drew himself close to her–“of learning. The soul…” Again he stopped.

“Yes–the soul?” she prompted him.

“The soul–the whole being,” he explained. He hollowed his hands as if to enclose a circle. “It wishes to expand; to adventure; to form–new combinations?”.

“Yes, yes,” she said, as if to assure him that his words were right.

“Whereas now,”–he drew himself together; put his feet together; he looked like an old lady who is afraid of mice–“this is how we live, screwed up into one hard little, tight little–knot?”

“Knot, knot–yes, that’s right,” she nodded.

“Each is his own little cubicle; each with his own cross or holy books; each with his fire, his wife…”

“Darning socks,” Maggie interrupted.

Eleanor started. She had seemed to be looking into the future.

What is sad about Nicholas’ and Eleanor’s dilemma is that they never, in the story or even in their lifetimes, harken to the example of the couple in whose home they are sitting. As the two soulish seekers speak of things that matter, with words that must be said, Renny and Maggie snuggle the children in bed upstairs, which marriage endeavor is the antidote to Nicholas’ and Eleanor’s loneliness and alienation.

CR, with new novel, Smoke, in progress