“Shenandoah”

Arguably one of the most beautiful melancholic true American pieces of music you will ever hear. It belongs to the U.S. and has been sung around the world….and as such, belongs to all people. Like many of us U.S. Americans, this song is a blending of many cultures and stories. There is the story of first nation man Shenandoah who aided the new republic in defeating the British. Though he was true and valiant, he saw his people and lands ultimately diminish. It is said he stood 6’5″ and was a great war chief. The story in the original version alludes to a seven year courtship a trader held for Shenandoah’s daughter. He brought the chief a canoe full of gifts, but was rejected. Later, he brought liquor, and thus, when the chief was under the influence, he stole her away. Shenandoah’s life existed far away from the Missouri River. So how did this river become a part of the song?
Well, this song was a well used shanty sang by sailors who worked the boats from the Missouri, down through the Mississippi, and eventually onto the ocean faring ships….which made it a global song. Apparently, this is where the marriage of the river, the native princess and the men came together.  The story of a man’s love and his willingness to risk his life for that love was just too much not to sing about. It was a man’s song about a man, his desire and unfulfilled love. The river and its unrelenting power gives a beautiful metaphor for leaving, adventure and the power of love.There are many versions. The original likely carried a medium upbeat tempo. The meanings behind all of the versions take on a certain abstract interpretation that transcends any one simple story. But no matter the version, the tune stays constant, and sends the listener to distant places. Like a great river, this song is a confluence of stories that by themselves are wonderful, but together make for something words cannot describe. It is a song for the world.

November’s Ambiance

Summer was squarely bumped
Unusual here in the southland
She was marked cool and wet
And in complete dark, freezing

It was a good month
With cloud and shadow
Displays of light and color

Here in this place of respite
Inspiration moves the hands
Daydreams control the mind

A few photos from November’s meditations. Includes a simple dark adagio.

Quiet Confidence (Reprise)

Oh my how the road
Can become dark so quickly
What once was well illuminated
Now stands in crushed shadows

But we know our steps
And have walked the terrain
In previous journeys 

The river still waits
Its banks overflow 
With expectation

Standing in the cool foam
A thousand tree limbs rush by
Debris from summer’s memory
Washing away forgotten voices

It all looked so dark
A moment ago
But I knew when I arrived, I remembered
Some things are so much stronger 
So much more reliable
Than I will ever be

The Joy of Light

The Joy of Light

We are all grass
Among many grasses
The lone portrait
Is a lie
We live 
Among the thickets
Thriving
In the dust
Always at the ready
To fight or die
In darkness
Death keeps us still
In deep shadows
We grope
For knowledge
And assurance
When the light comes
We rejoice
The celebration
Of life 
Of color
Of comforting revelation

Straight of of the camera photography – Botanicals – Mission Trails San Diego – Music “Touch the Stars” By me, poem, by me ©2018 Mark Steven Wade