Saturday, November 12, 2011

Silent Muse Saturday MENDING SOCKS

Silent Muse

|ˈärˌgīl| noun [usu. as adj. ]
  A pattern composed of diamonds of various colors on a plain background,
used in knitted garments such as sweaters and socks.
 A sock with such a pattern.

From Argyll, a family name and a former county of Scotland.
A pattern based on the tartan of the Argyll branch of the Campbell clan.

When I came into this world, WWII was ongoing.
We had rationing, making do, and reports on the radio
I wouldn't have noticed had they not interrupted my favorite shows.
I remember my Grandmother, and Aunts talking about the other war,
the boys they lost. WWI, I later came to understand, was
a bloodbath on both sides, most battles, almost sanctioned suicides.
It was called The Great War by those who knew.
My father did, indeed, lose most of his brothers to it,
some in Flanders Field perhaps.

He, himself, escaped enlistment in WWII because he was on the police force, as well as being the sole provider for his mother,
my mother, me and my brother,
when that sort of condition mattered.
In Flanders Field
by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
Written on 3 May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies grow

Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

The boys I see in newsreels of most wars are 15 to 22, and their wounds are  not poetry.  I'm thinking about them today, day after Veterans Day, after the parades, after the early dusk turned velvety night, after the dreams visited, and departed. Just thinking about them,
my Grandmother and Aunts, all the women who waited,
and all the ones who enlisted, and volunteered,
and the lost Uncles too.
I'm thinking about them, about the soldiers of today,
about the diplomats, politicians and pundits,
while I'm mending socks,
listening to Jacques Brel.

sung in concert style by the exquisite Judy Collins
by the powerful Helena Hettema who
delivers it with a force similar to Brel himself

and again
by the sweet duo of Micheline and Bruno Brel performed
in the cabaret manner so typically French
 Why Jacques Brel
It has a great deal to do with authentic passion, and beyond that,
with when I first heard him, with how that connected to my own life,
but I can't really explain.
If you happen not to know the man at all,
  scan the substantial wikipedia entry.
Do read Amy Hanson's illuminating essay.
This song is Brel's hymn to Flanders,
written in 1962, from the short film
"Le Petit Jour." He sings.
Here, perfectly executed by Laurika Rauch,
 is the song that instantly plunged me into 
salty depths of unrestrained feeling. 

When I heard it, I was twenty five years old.


deanna7trees said...

i always loved argyle socks but don't have any. and i'm glad i know that time does not exist...tick-tock...

Ms. ∆×∆p×≥h/4π said...

Ha! Just from the mortal flesh perspective, it does--"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew."