Monday, June 7, 2010

A Milk-White Horse


See, they are clearing the sawdust course,

For the girl in pink on the milk-white horse.

Her spangles twinkle; his pale flanks shine

Every hair of his tail is fine

And bright as a comet's; his mane blows free,

And she points a toe and bends a knee,

And while his hoofbeats fall like rain

Over and over and over again.

And nothing that moves on land or sea

Will seem so beautiful to me

As the girl in pink on the milk-white horse

Cantering over the sawdust course.

by Rachel Field 1894-1942

Though this may not be the one in Rachel Field's poem, this white horse is one of my favorites from the gallery of work by Heywood Hardy. The name of this painting is "Noonday - Taking a Horse to Water." I hope to take you to the wellspring of Natalie Merchant's new CD Leave Your Sleep. Listen (Equestrienne) and drink the fresh waters of her creative and inspired music set to the words of poets who were writing not merely for the children of their day, but for all who cherish and honor childhood with its mystery, magic, and melancholy.

My younger son picked right up on the hint I dropped for a Mother's Day present after I had heard Ms. Merchant discussing her latest project on NPR back in April. In fact, he had been "reviewing" the music in the days before May 9, and saying, with a huge smile and sparkle in his eyes, "I have a great present for you....I mean GREAT...Do you want it now?" I declined. Even when I did get to open it, I had little time to listen closely and pore over the poems and the commentary featured in the small book which holds the two CD's. Last week, it was vacation time. Though the sun was shining on the Gulf Coast, the gloom of the coming disaster was heavy in the atmosphere...everywhere. When I was not sleeping late or dining on seafood with best friends, or staring more deeply and more sadly at the unbelievable beauty and brightness of the beach at Seaside (as seen in my header photo), I was escaping into this music. And what a thorough escape it is! For anyone who writes poetry or music, or both, this is a must. I suggest you click on the RED link above and allow Natalie to tell you about it. Then try the PINK link for her dramatic presentation of just one of the 26 poems. (You will see other selections from the CD on YouTube as well.) Should you decide to purchase this, you really want the 2 CD version with the book (not the one with 10 or 12 selections). The photographs of the poets along with short profiles are both eloquent and scholarly. Guess which mother and son have tickets to Natalie's August concert in Atlanta?


Betsy said...

What a beautiful Mother's Day gift! He was right when he called it 'great' :)

I can see why you love the poem and the painting...lovely!

willow said...

I am totally envious of the Atlanta concert! I was unfamiliar with Natalie Merchant until your generous introduction. I'm completely immersing myself in her magic and melancholy. Your son has impeccable taste!! xx

Derrick said...

Thank you for introducing me to those fourteen minutes or so of words and music, Marnie. It sounds a magical project which has taken time and love to achieve and one wonders how many people will come to hear of it. I can imagine how much enjoyment you have got/will get from this work and from the concert. You must tell us all about it.

jabblog said...

Those beautiful words are quite perfect for the painting. Lovely post!

~T~ said...

Lovely poem and painting pairing! I'm getting more curious about this album.
Thanks for stopping by my Garden!

About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat