Rags and Feathers

The two of us lazing in the park

with silence sweeping the green,

as a summer day fizzles out

in the static, darkening leaves.

I love how the last line pivots on the two meanings of static: the hissing of summer lawns, and stilling of autumn trees.

Speaking of albums that Tanky spun for us in Canadian nights, here is a diamond in the mine: Nina Simone’s gorgeous version of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”. An incredible arrangement. Her reworking of the phrasing honors the original and yet makes it new (a higher honor to the original).

Nina Simone “Suzanne” (1969). (Cohen’s original was released in 1967.)

(Also glinting in the same mine: Aretha Franklin “Suzanne” (1973). An outtake from the sessions for Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky).)

***

The above poem: “The Nightingale” by Ben Wilkinson

Are we ever meant to read “the nightingale” as the-night-in-gale? The sweet soft spontaneous song of night—but within it the stormy dark? Love & despair in one tangle. Or despair lurking where love lives. Wilkinson’s poem touches this turn; as the summer “fizzles out” he wistfully recalls: “Once, love came easily enough”—and the weight of that ‘once’ is the rub (does it mean ‘once’ as in before or ‘once’ as in one time only?). The poet’s prayer is that it means ‘before, and also again’. And asks his beloved to fend off the clouds & shadows and hear again the clarity. RIGHT! Push back against the gale—TGIF yallz.

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