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Lift your lamp beside the golden door, Break not the golden rule, avoid well the golden calf, know; not all that glitters is gold, and laissez faire et laissez passer [let do and let pass] but as a shining sentinel, hesitate not to ring the bell, defend the gates, and man the wall

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Poetry and Song of the 1900s

The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling 1919
Excerpts Used For The Overton Window by Glenn Beck

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBoeHgy7svg



THE SECOND COMING by William Butler Yeats 1919
    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

http://www.potw.org/archive/potw351.html


"Fragments of Olympian Gossip" by Nikola Tesla 'Novice' 1934

While listening on my cosmic phone
I caught words from the Olympus blown.
A newcomer was shown around;
That much I could guess, aided by sound.
"There's Archimedes with his lever
Still busy on problems as ever.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable."
"Below, on Earth, they work at full blast
And news are coming in thick and fast.
The latest tells of a cosmic gun.
To be pelted is very poor fun.
We are wary with so much at stake,
Those beggars are a pest—no mistake."
"Too bad, Sir Isaac, they dimmed your renown
And turned your great science upside down.
Now a long haired crank, Einstein by name,
Puts on your high teaching all the blame.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable."
"I am much too ignorant, my son,
For grasping schemes so finely spun.
My followers are of stronger mind
And I am content to stay behind,
Perhaps I failed, but I did my best,
These masters of mine may do the rest.
Come, Kelvin, I have finished my cup.
When is your friend Tesla coming up."
"Oh, quoth Kelvin, he is always late,
It would be useless to remonstrate."
Then silence—shuffle of soft slippered feet—
I knock and—the bedlam of the street.



You've Got To Be Carefully Taught from "South Pacific" by Rodgers and Hammerstein 1949 

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You've got to be carefully taught!


  

DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT
by Dylan Thomas 1951

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.



THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND by Woody Guthrie 1956  
(Guthrie: Progressive Communist) 
 
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

As I was walking a ribbon of highway
I saw above me an endless skyway
I saw below me a golden valley
This land was made for you and me

I've roamed and rambled and I've followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
And all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me

The sun comes shining as I was strolling
The wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
The fog was lifting a voice come chanting
This land was made for you and me

As I was walkin'  -  I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side  .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

In the squares of the city - In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office - I see my people
And some are grumblin' and some are wonderin'
If this land's still made for you and me
 

 
Mad World, Written by Roland Orzabal 1982

"Mad World" is a song originally performed by "Tears for Fears". 
[I liked the version by Michael Andrews 2001]
"That came when I lived above a pizza restaurant in Bath and I could look out onto the centre of 
the city. Not that Bath is very mad – I should have called it "Bourgeois World"!"
 —Roland Orzabal communist
"Lyrically the song is pretty loose. It throws together a lot of different images to paint a picture 
without saying anything specific about the world."—Roland Orzabal

All around me are familiar faces
 Worn out places, worn out faces
 Bright and early for the daily races
 Going nowhere, going nowhere.
 The tears are filling up their glasses
 No expression, no expression
 Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
 No tomorrow, no tomorrow 

 And I find it kind of funny
 I find it kind of sad
 The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
 I find it hard to tell you
 I find it hard to take
 When people run in circles its a very very
 Mad World
 Mad World

 Children waiting for the day they feel good
 Happy birthday, happy birthday
 And they feel the way that every child should
 Sit and listen, sit and listen
 Went to school and I was very nervous
 No one knew me, no one knew me
 Hello teacher tell me whats my lesson
 Look right through me, look right through me

 And I find it kind of funny
 I find it kind of sad
 The dreams in which I'm dying are the best I've ever had
 I find it hard to tell you
 I find it hard to take
 When people run in circles its a very very
 Mad World
 Mad World
 Enlarge your world
 Mad World

 
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen song) 1984

Well I heard there was a secret chord 
That David played, and it pleased the Lord 
But you don't really care for music, do ya? 
Well it goes like this 
The fourth, the fifth 
The minor fall and the major lift 
The baffled king composing Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 

Well Your faith was strong but you needed proof 
You saw her bathing on the roof 
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you 
she tied you to her kitchen chair 
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair 
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 

Well baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya 
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march 
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah 
Hallelujah
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah
Hallelujah 

Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah
Hallelujah 

Well maybe there's a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who'd OUT DREW YA
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen in the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah 
Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah <<(held for a long time)
Hallelujah
 


Arguably Buckley's most famous work, this was originally written and recorded by Leonard Cohen in 1984 on his album Various Positions. It was featured in several episodes of the Fox TV show The O.C. several years after Buckley drowned in the Mississippi River. (thanks, Andrew - Toronto, Canada)
The song is about love which has soured and gone stale. Cohen used a lot of religious imagery, including references to some of the more notorious women in the bible. Here's some lyrical analysis:
"You saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you" - Bathsheba, who tempted the king to kill her husband so he could have her.
"She tied you to her kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair" - Delilah, who cut off Sampson's locks that held his superhuman strength.
"But remember when I moved in you and the holy dove was moving too" - This could be a reference to the divine conception and Mary.
The lines referring to the immaculate conception can also be interpreted as having a sexual connotation: "And every breath we drew was hallelujah."
Cohen: "Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means 'Glory to the Lord.' The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It's a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion." (thanks, Roderick - Qingdao, China)
Regarding the line, "The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift," to which the chords played are: F - G - Am - F:
It is clever the way that not only the chords line up in the lyrics and in the music, but also because the connotations themselves of "major" and "minor" add to the meaning of the song. The "fourth" is a major chord based on the fourth of the key Buckley is playing in. Likewise the fifth is the major chord based on the fifth tone of the key. The "Minor Fall" corresponds to Buckley playing a minor chord based on the sixth of the key. "Major Lift" corresponds to playing the major chord on the fourth again. (thanks, Gol - Gainesville, FL)
The Bible makes reference to King David communing with the Lord and learning that certain types of music were more pleasing. The chords mentioned in the lyrics (that "David played and it pleased the lord) are often used in hymns. (thanks, Mike - Perth, Australia)
Leonard Cohen sang this to Bob Dylan after his last concert in Paris. The morning after, they sat down at a cafe and traded lyrics. Bob especially liked the last verse.
Dylan himself has performed this live, and there are bootleg versions in circulation of his version of this song. (thanks, Daniel - Nova Scotia,Canada)
Buckley started covering this after he became inspired by John Cale's version off his 1992 album Fragments Of A Rainy Season. Cale shaped his own interpretation after Cohen faxed him 15 pages of lyrics for this song. He claimed that he "went through and just picked out the cheeky verses."
Buckley always closed his live shows with this song. Remarkably, his revved-up crowds became extremely silent. (thanks, Kristy - La Porte City, IA, for above 2)

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