Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Waters of March: A Philosophical Meditation

http://beauxartsdesameriques.com/site/wp-content/gallery/s-scott-notations/scott_05.jpg

Waters of March #34 (triptych), by Susan G. Scott

In 1972, Brazilian pop and jazz composer Antonio Carlos (“Tom”) Jobim first recorded his wondrously, unassumingly strange song Waters of March.  According to Wikipedia,  “In 2001, Águas de Março [the original title, in Portuguese] was named as the all-time best Brazilian song in a poll of more than 200 Brazilian journalists, musicians and other artists...”

It’s a fascinating song -- beguilingly banal in many places, with sudden glimpses of epiphanies almost zen-like, in evoking, or invoking, the extraordinary in the ordinary.  And behind, beneath, or beyond all that there seems to be a leitmotif revisited with a phrase that echoes the title:

And the riverbank talks   

of the waters of March   

it’s the end of the strain   

it’s the joy in your heart.

-- which when reprised at the end changes “the strain” to the deeper “all strain” -- the end which is the transcendent substance of faith (in the sense of Hebrews 11:1 as further amplified by philosopher Eric Voegelin and Catholic existentialist Miguel de Unamuno), with further resonances in T.S. Eliot’s Little Gidding and Dry Salvages from his Four Quartets:

the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England
[or wherever you, the reader are] and nowhere. Never and always.
 

. . .


The point of intersection of the timeless / With time

. . .

[where] the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--  


. . .


 Or, as Tom Jobim’s song says:

it’s a beam, it’s a void,

it’s a hunch, it’s a hope.    

֍ ֍ ֍ ֍ ֍


A stick a stone:

it’s the end of the road

it’s the rest of a stump       

it’s a little alone.

It’s a sliver of glass   

it is life, it’s the sun

it is night, it is death

it’s a trap, it’s a gun.

The oak when it blooms   

a fox in the brush

the knot in the wood   

the song of a thrush.

The wood of the wind   

a cliff, a fall

a scratch, a lump   

it is nothing at all.

It’s the wind blowing free   

it’s the end of the slope   

it’s a beam, it’s a void,

it’s a hunch, it’s a hope.   

And the riverbank talks   

of the waters of March   

it’s the end of the strain   

it’s the joy in your heart.

The foot, the ground,   

the flesh and the bone,   

the beat of the road,   

a slingshot stone.

A fish, a flash!   

A silvery glow,
   
a fight, a bet,   

the range of a bow,

the bed of the well,   

the end of the line,

the dismay in the face,   

it’s a loss, it’s a find.

A spear, a spike,   

a point, a nail,

a drip, a drop,   

the end of the tale.

A truckload of bricks,   

in the soft morning light,   

the sound of a shot

in the dead of the night.   

A mile, a must,

a thrust, a bump,

it’s a girl, it’s a rhyme,   

it’s the cold, it’s the mumps.   

The plan of the house,

the body in bed,

and the car that got stuck   

it’s the mud, it’s the mud.   

A float, a drift,

a flight, a wing,

a hawk, a quail,   

the promise of Spring.   

And the riverbank talks
   
of the waters of March,   

it’s the promise of life,

it’s the joy in your heart:

[Interlude]
   
A snake, a stick!

It is John it is Joe

it’s a thorn in your hand   

and a cut in your toe.

A point, a grain,

a bee, a bite,

a blink, a buzzard,

a sudden stroke of night.

A pass in the mountains,

a horse and a mule,
   
in the distance the shelves
   
rode three shadows of blue.
   
And the riverbank talks

of the waters of March,

it’s the promise of life,

in your heart, in your heart.

A stick a stone...

the end of the load

the ash of a log

a lonesome road.

A sliver of glass   

a life, the sun,

a night, a death

the end of the run.

And the riverbank talks

of the waters of March,   

it’s the end of all strain,

it’s the joy in your heart...

1 comment:

graveninmage said...

Here's a link to the video for "Waters of March":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3oNSFQVzNM