Friday, December 5, 2008

John Ballard

I decided to do something from Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, and decided upon John Ballard, a poem about how God is love, but first, you have to love. Setting something from Spoon River to music is inspired by Richard Buckner's The Hill, a brilliant album if ever there was. He can make the free verse work against the music while he sings. I'm not that smart or talented, so this is more of a spoken word thing over a dirty guitar.

John Ballard
In the lust of my strength
I cursed God, but he paid no attention to me:
I might as well have cursed the stars.
In my last sickness I was in agony, but I was resolute
And I cursed God for my suffering;
Still He paid no attention to me;
He left me alone, as He had always done.
I might as well have cursed the Presbyterian steeple.
Then, as I grew weaker, a terror came over me:
Perhaps I had alienated God by cursing him.
One day Lydia Humphrey brought me a bouquet
And it occurred to me to try to make friends with God,
So I tried to make friends with him;
But I might as well have tried to make friends with the bouquet.
Now I was very close to the secret,
For I really could make friends with the bouquet
By holding close to me the love in me for the bouquet
And so I was creeping upon the secret, but —

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