winter morning

I love the orange sky and peach and lemon and tangerine, just as the sun rises! This has been a difficult week with the time change and with a concert or concert rehearsal four out of the last 5 evenings after a full day of clinic. Concert today and tomorrow, and I love the pieces we are doing. Here: Rainshadow Chorale.

all sounds become music

I am in RainShadow Chorale. My father was one of the people who started it in 1997.  I moved to Port Townsend in 2000, because my mother had cancer. She died in May of 2000. My father died in 2013. I had the joy of singing with him in this group for 13 years.

Our concert is weekend after next and I really love this one. We are doing a wild mix of pieces and moods with the theme from a Walt Whitman poem. In this time of so many people being afraid and angry and stirred up, going to chorus is healing. All of these people, unpaid, coming together to create these two concerts of beauty and unity and joy. A gift to each other and a gift to the community.

Ticket information on the website.

Stages of Grief: anger

I am thinking of the songs that comfort me in grief.

And thinking about the stages of grief. Five, right? Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Grief and Acceptance. My sister said, “They left out Revenge and Acting Out. ” She died of cancer in 2012 at age 49. Six days after her birthday and the day after mine.

Anger songs for grief. But denial is first, right? Not necessarily. These are not stages you move through in a certain order. This is more like a spiral, where you go from one to the next and back to the start, from day to day or even hour to hour.

I’ve already written about My Name is Samuel Hall. That is an angry song, unrepentant, that my sister wanted the last time that I visited her. I knew that she was furious about dying and leaving her husband and daughter. And me and her friends.

My mother sang:

“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go eat worms. Big fat slimy ones, little tiny wiggly ones, see them wiggle and squirm. Bite their heads off, suck their guts out, throw the skins away. I don’t see how anyone can live on three meals of worms a day… without dessert….”

She also taught us this:

“I don’t want to play in your back yard
I don’t like you any more
You’ll be sorry when you see me
Sliding down my cellar door”

My parents had songs for every mood I can imagine. There were moods they would not speak about but they sang them.

My favorite angry groups are The Devil Makes Three, Hank Williams III, The Offspring, and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Sweet Honey in the Rock? Yes. They sing about death a lot. This song is not about death: it’s about a “bad” woman, wanted dead or alive. But listen to the song: they are singing about a real event and a woman who fought back against a rape. On the thirty year album of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the group says that their first “hit” was this song, played by news stations. “It was a hint that we were not going to be top 40.” The song is Joanne Little.

So here are three songs by the others:

The Offspring: Why don’t you get a job?

The Devil Makes Three: All Hail

Hank Williams III: My Drinking Problem

And how do families show anger? They fight. They fight with each other. They fight about how someone should die, what should be done about mom, whether dad can live alone any more, about the right way to grieve. They fight about small things or big things and they even sue each other. Before you wade into the fray, step back. Remember, families grieving are always a little bit insane, very stressed and it’s all grief.

Hank Williams III: Country heroes

Blessings on the people I know in hospice right now and on their families and loved ones. Third one today. Sending love.

 

 

 

More Dawn

Here is one of the Voiceworks Classes with Dawn Pemberton. My biggest problem is I want to go to all five or six classes that are running simultaneously and then there are people playing music in the halls, on the porch, singing in the practice rooms!

And we’re on our feet practicing singing soul.

DSCN3532

I shall leave you

My poems start with a problem, an idea, a worry. I never know where it will go when I start. This poem started with wanting to leave in a positive way and started with the title. So how could I leave but leave with kindness? And what would I leave?

So it is a song. And should include sign language, I think….

I shall leave you

I shall leave you with a song
I shall leave you with music
I shall leave you with a picture
I shall leave you with voice upraised

I leave you with a song
I leave you with music
I leave you with a picture
I leave you with voice upraised

I leave you a song
I leave you music
I leave you a picture
I leave you voice upraised

I leave a song
I leave music
I leave a picture
I leave voice upraised

leave a song
leave music
leave a picture
leave a voice upraised

a song
music
a picture
a voice upraised

song
music
picture
voice

song

Paper of pins

For the daily prompt: Treasure.

This is another song to raise girls. My sister and I loved the double twist at the end. This is a courting song, to be sung by at least two voices. At music parties, my parents would sing it to each other. We would join in joyfully.

First voice:
I’ll give to you a paper of pins
and that’s the way our love begins
If you will marry me oh me,
if you will marry me

Second:
I’ll not accept your paper of pins
if that’s the way your love begins
and I won’t marry you oh you
and I won’t marry you

I’ll give to you a dress of red
all sewn round with golden thread
If you will marry me oh me,
if you will marry me

I’ll not accept your dress of red
all sewn round with golden thread
and I won’t marry you oh you
and I won’t marry you

I’ll give to you a coach and four
so you can ride from door to door
If you will marry me oh me,
if you will marry me

I’ll not accept your coach and four
so I can ride from door to door
and I won’t marry you oh you
and I won’t marry you

I’ll give to you the keys to my heart
so we can love and never part
If you will marry me oh me,
if you will marry me

I’ll not accept the keys to your heart
so we can love and never part
and I won’t marry you oh you
and I won’t marry you

I’ll give to you the keys to my chest
so you can have money at your request
If you will marry me oh me,
if you will marry me

I will accept the keys to your chest
so I can have money at my request
And I will marry you oh you
and I will marry you

I love coffee and you love tea
you love my money you don’t love me
And I won’t marry you oh you
And I won’t marry you

I’ll take my tea and sit in the shade
I think I’d rather be an old maid
And I won’t marry you oh you
And I won’t marry you

We were interested in the escalation of the offer and that in the end, the woman was quite clear: she did not love him and was not for sale.

There are multiple versions on YouTube with different words. I like the one by Rose Lee and Joe Maphis.

The photograph is of a sewing kit. It belonged to Margaret White, my maternal grandmother’s oldest sister. It says: J. A Henckel, Twinworks, Germany. The paper is a paper of needles, needles of different sizes. I liked small things, so my mother let me have this kit. I have used it since I was a child. Some of the pieces were missing from the start, but I suspect that those that remain are ivory. My grandmother was born in 1899, so this kit would be from the early 1900s. I carefully kept all of the needles in their paper packets.

Songs to raise girls: Long Black Veil

 

This and The Fox are what I think of as the two core family songs. We sang this from as early as I can remember and my father played the Band’s version on the record player all the time. I taped his records to take to college…

This is the song my parents chose to raise girls on? Oh, and I do have it memorized….

Ten years ago on a cool dark night
There was someone killed ‘neath the town hall light
There were few at the scene and they all did agree
That the man who ran looked a lot like me

Ok, it starts with a murder. Someone is killed, in the town, at night. Be careful, little girls, bad things can happen at night.

The judge said “Son, what is your alibi?
If you were somewhere else then you won’t have to die”
I spoke not a word although it meant my life
I had been in the arms of my best friend’s wife

It is about infidelity and not only infidelity, but infidelity with his best friend’s wife. This song is a morality play. He doesn’t speak. I see the magazines at the counters in the grocery store and think about how different this song is from our current culture. Divorce and splashed all over the papers, that’s what the celebrities do today.

She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave where the night winds wail
Nobody knows, no, and nobody sees
Nobody knows but me

So she doesn’t speak either. She remains faithful to him in visiting his grave, but the marriage must continue, because she only goes at night.

The scaffold was high and eternity neared
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes at night when the cold wind moans
In a long black veil she cries over my bones

She watches him die for what they considered a sin. This song is about ethics, really. The two of them had broken their code of honor and paid the price, which was that he died for a different crime. And did the man who really killed the person in the first stanza then go free?

Why wouldn’t they speak up? Perhaps she had children and he couldn’t support them. Perhaps they truly considered it a sin, a dishonor, a horrible mistake. Perhaps honor and honoring his best friend was more important than love…. Our current culture seems to think that love conquers all, but it doesn’t in this song. Did they do the right thing? This is a song to discuss and to think about and yes, a song to raise girls.

Though I think the husband and any children would know that there was something…. a parent and partner can’t really hide that deep sorrow….

It was written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin in 1959 and originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell.

Lefty Frizzell: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50k18gL76AU]

The Band, 1968

Johnny Cash, 1968

Lots of others…. and us.

The photo is me and my sister, probably in 1993 or 1994.