Pan, God of the Wild

Listening to Debussy: Pan, God of the Wild.

Pan, god of the wild, has voices for all, all seasons.
Music rises, reminds my mind of soft mild summer wind
insinuating gentleness, whispering to the senses
blood rising, shifting, lifting.
The breeze dies leaving mind blank to find hallucination
Vision and voice fill emptiness.
Birds seen through glass do not sing
Each foot settles soundless on a wintry twig
No tale told. No leaves sussurating sound.
Spring entombed nameless, waiting for sap to rise.

Music finds an inner ear away from light and sight
that the night may be auspicious.
Passion brings the dancer with the castanets
Rhythm packing heartbeat, invention
An Egyptian woman, exotic, skilled in enamoration, persuasion.
Convention. No modern view. No arab spring.
Sapped energy, re-enactment. Again vision, envision that bird
Throat throbbing boundless call
moving solid air from tree to tree, awaiting response.
It is spring, cool, grey sky in monotone holds all colours.
Give thanks to the morning rain.

At Reid Concert Hall free lunchtime program Margaret Wakeford and Simon Coverdale piano duo: Works by Debussy, Hindemith and Schubert. The Debussy was Six Epigraphes Antiques and we were offered this wording:

1. To invoke Pan, God of the summer wind

2. For a nameless tomb

3. That the night may be auspicious

4. For the dancer with castanets

5. For the Egyptian woman

6. To give thanks to the morning rain.

After writing the poem, I looked up more about it, and discovered that the music was written in homage to Pierre Louys‘ poetry celebrating lesbian love: The Songs of Bilitis.

I am happy that the poem I wrote in response to the music and the six phrases was for me a celebration of all, everyone, everywhere, however different, and somehow nameless. Though I didn’t catch that Debussy piece originated via his friend Louys from one of the loves that cannot speak its name, it still seems that what I heard matched the music played. I was listening.


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