Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2011

Detail from "Still and Green Moon" by Yolanda Sharpe.  Photograph by Gilda Snowden.


Did I say that I have joined a choir?

We have been diligently working on "Lessons and Carols," and more and more I think that a choir is a fantabulous subject for a comic novel. We have the usual mad people and eccentrics and quirks and characters that one finds in a good-sized group devoted to the arts, and I do a lot of laughing along the way as the choirmaster-organist-composer attempts to rein in such varied personalities and abilities and steer them aright. Truth be told, Roberta Rowland-Raybold has a more difficult job than most! I admire her sacrificial work, giving tutorials to the needy...

My favorite piece is "There is no rose," the medieval poem that has been inspiring to various composers. We are singing the ethereal music of Hal H. Hopson, and I cannot shake it from my head.

There is no rose of such virtue
as is the rose that bare Jesu;
Alleluia, alleluia.

For in this rose contained
was heav'n and earth in little space;
Res miranda, res miranda.

By that rose we may well see
there be one God in persons three;
Pares forma, Pares forma.

Transeamus, Transeamus,
Pares forma, Pares forma,
Res miranda. Alleluia.

So today it is Thanksgiving, and I give thanks especially:
for Hal Hopson
with the hope he will write many more ravishing pieces in his time;
for the invention of children
and especially for my three, two at home, one with my mother;
for Featherstocking the turkey who stalked around Cooperstown
until he was (sadly) struck by a car in front of Stewart's last week;
for the gift of word-twisting;
for you (for I feel friendly to the world most days!);
for waterfalls and rains of inspiration;
for blessed common sense;
for collaborations with Clive and Graham and Paul and Mako;
for the help of Andrew;
for husbands who love to cook and do so
and for the safe return of my husband from Morocco and Egypt;
for my mother, weaving and gardening and scaling mountains at 82;
for all that is most wonderfully secret and most aspiring;
for cranberries;
for joy;
for all that is annealed in me.

Res miranda!

15 comments:

  1. Lovely Marly! I too give thanks for the choir I am part of and the congregation in which it resides, as well as family and friends! And writing, let's not forget that.
    Enjoy.

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  2. Happy Thanksgiving, Marly! And, also to your family! Thanks for posting a detail shot of my watercolor painting, Still and Green Moon.

    Yolanda

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  3. I did not know Hopson's, 'There is no Rose' and looked up it and listened : )
    I like that!

    I also like Yolanda's painting (and a lovely choice for this blog entry indeed).

    Happy Thanksgiving time, Marly.

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  4. Beautiful in every way! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Marly.

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  5. Robbi,

    Oh, writing is in my list... word-twisting...and part of "all this is annealed."

    Happy Thanksgiving! I am awfully glad the ACLU has not yet outlawed the holiday. With luck, maybe they won't realize what it was for...

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  6. Yolanda,

    I am wroth with you! The soprano section was rather thin!

    Happies anyway--

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  7. Paul,

    Evidently our choirmaster--our choirmistress? is that what we say?--contacted him when we sang something else of his, and he has retired from his college post and says he feels inspired to write more music.

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  8. marja-leena,

    Happy Thanksgiving from one side of the continent to the other! (Isn't Canadian Thanksgiving another day? If so you are not needing a nap right about now...)

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  9. Marly,
    I too need to look up that music and listen to it. Loved the painting too, and what was most interesting was the fact that despite the title, I don't see any green in it. It's like that experiment where people have to read color words (like blue or green) written in other colors, such as red or yellow. People tend to get confused when they try to do that.

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  10. By the way, I recognized the writing, and that's what made me think of it. I too often take it for granted, I think.

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  11. Robbi,

    It's hard to find that particular setting of the poem online. I did find a choir on youtube. But I didn't think it up to maximum loveliness!

    If you click on Yolanda's name in the caption, you will see lots more of "Still and Green Moon"--with more green, I promise.

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  12. We sang a joint concert with the Irvine Unified Church of Christ, as we do every year. This is very unusual for synagogues and churches. We also have a Turkish Muslim congregation that comes to join us for supper and fellowship at least once or twice a year.
    This concert we sang Aloni's Sim Shalom and a song from a psalm, "The Eyes of God are Upon Us." Both were beautiful. There is a You Tube performance of the latter that does some justice to it.

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  13. Robbi,

    That's interesting--I remembered that you did a Jewish-Muslim night...

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  14. And a happy extended thanksgiving to you Marly.

    Now you make me long for Christmas even more so I can play 'There is no rose' (probably another, older version) and many other carols and seasonal music. In fact I can start some of them on Sunday with Advent. Hooray! Veni, veni...

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  15. Lucy,

    The Hopson is available online for that one. I think it is my favorite of them all, which is saying a lot...

    Hey, I forgot to give thanks for Box Elder! I do.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.