music heard with you
more than music, without you
all is desolate
Adapted from the Conrad Aiken’s Music I Heard.
I like his work though I had never heard until Savannah attached itself to myself late in life.
Yet the words, Music I heard with you was more than music, And bread I broke with you was more than bread, describe life with my wife that it seems like I have known his work for years.
Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
Now that I am without you, all is desolate,
All that was once so beautiful is dead.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved:
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes.
And in my heart they will remember always:
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise!
Like Johnny Mercer, the poet Conrad Aiken was known as Savannah’s own.
Mr. Aiken, according to his entry in Wikipedia, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, taught briefly at Harvard, and served as consultant in poetry for the Library of Congress.
Somehow, he was also largely responsible for establishing Emily Dickinson’s reputation as a major American poet.
Yet, in Savannah, he might be best know for recognizing a word combination in the daily newspaper where one day under SHIPS – ARRIVALS – DEPARTURES, he saw the notice;
Cosmos Mariner—Destination Unknown.
Mr. Aiken took notice of the notice.
Mr. Aiken recognized the pure accidental poetry of the words.
He like the arrangement.
He like the rythym.
He liked it so much you that can read to this day as he had it carved into a marble bench.
A marble bench that sits next to his grave in a Savannah.
A bench where anyone can sit and watch the ships come and go from the port of Savannah.
Maybe one of them might be the Cosmos Mariner.
And its destination might be unknown.
Maybe I am the Cosmos Mariner.
Going out through the Cosmos.