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Somewhere a Life with You - 2. Part Two – Union Everlasting

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Part Two – Union Everlasting

Scene One: “Marriage Equality”

 

 

No. 12 – Duettino

 

BARITONE:

I announce justification

TENOR: Of candor and of pride –

I announce uncompromising

TENOR: Freedom and equalness –

I announce our adhesiveness

TENOR: Hand in hand, limitless –

I announce natural persons

TENOR: To rise up and take pride![1]

 

The diverse shall be no less,

But diverse flow and unite –[2]

As with the general who

Makes a good army himself

TENOR: Has good army without –

As they, happy in themselves,

Genders happiness without –[3]

As with one man, or woman,

No matter who one chooses,

Illustrates the complete law –

Every right, every duty

Is eligible to them.

 

BARITONE and TENOR:

On the same terms as any![4]

 

TENOR:

I announce justification

BARITONE: Of candor and of pride –

I announce uncompromising

BARITONE: Freedom and equalness –

I announce our adhesiveness

BARITONE: Hand in hand, limitless –

I announce natural persons

BARITONE: To rise up and take pride![5]

 

 

No. 13 – Dialogo

 

TENOR:

“I wish you would put

The ring on my finger again,

It seems to me

There is something

That is wanting

To complete

Our friendship

When I am with you.

I have tried to study it out,

But cannot find out

What it is.

You know when you

Put it on, there was

But one thing

To part it from me

And that was death.[6]

[For in time, our]

Times have become

Settled, and

Our love sure.”[7]

 

 

No. 14 – Cavatina

 

BASS:

This is the press

Of bashful hands –

This is the float

And fragrance of hair.

 

This is the murmur,

Subdued in yearning,

The trembling of your lips,

At the touch of mine.

 

This the thoughtful

Merger of me –

This is the float

And outlet again.[8]

 

 

No. 15 – Dialogo

 

BARITONE:

[John Emerson and

John Stegall were]

Two Norwegian boys,

And fine specimens

Of their race –

Intelligent, faithful,

And always ready

For duty [to each other.]

[Their devotion] reminded one

Of the stories told

Of the sworn attachment

And […] unfailing devotion

That were common

Between two Goth

Warrior youths. […]

Between them [the soldiers]

Had an overcoat

And a blanket.

At night they lay

Upon the coat

And covered themselves

With the blanket. […]

They never quarreled

With each other.

Their tenderness

And affection were

Remarkable to witness. […]

(recitative)

[But, they] began to go

The way that so

Many were going:

Diarrhea and scurvy set in. […]

I met Emerson one day,

With one leg drawn

Clear out of shape. […]

He was very weak,

But was hobbling

Down to the creek

With a bucket made

From a boot leg.

[I offered to carry

The heavy bucket

Back up the hill, but

He wheezed out:]

 

TENOR:

‘No – much obliged.

My partner wants

A cool drink,

And I guess

I’d better get it for him.’

 

BARITONE:

[John Stegall] died in June.”[9]

 

 

No. 16 – Duettino

 

TENOR and BASS:

I will sing the song of partners

I will show what these must compact

I believe an ideal will find

Manly-love worthy between us.

 

BASS:

I will make my songs

Of materials

For I think they are

The most spiritual.

 

TENOR:

I will make my songs

Of my body and

Of mortality

For I know they last.

 

BASS and TENOR:

I think I supply

Myself with my songs;

Of my spirit comes

Immortality.[10]

 

TENOR and BASS:

I will sing the song of partners

I will show what these must compact

I believe an ideal will find

Manly-love worthy between us.

 

 

No. 17 – Cavatina

 

BARITONE:

Miracle

Every hour

Light and dark

And every inch

Miracle

 

With the same

The Earth’s surface

Glimmers ‘round me

Inseparable

With the same.[11]

 

 

 

Scene Two: “Everlasting”

 

No. 18 – Dialogo

 

BASS:

“I can almost see you

Drowsing and nodding.

I am telling you something

Deep about the heavenly bodies –

And in the midst of it

I look around and find you

Fast asleep, and your head

On my shoulder like

A chunk of wood –

An awful compliment

To my lecturing powers. […]

But, Good Night, Pete – […]

Here is a kiss for you,

Dear boy – on the paper, here –

A good long one. […]

I will imagine you

With your arm

Around my neck, saying

Good Night, Walt –

And me –

Good Night, Pete.”[12]

 

 

No. 19 – Cavatina

 

TENOR:

Mysterious ocean

Where the streams empty,

Prophetic spirits there

Flickering ‘round me

In wondrous interplay,

‘Tween seen and unseen.

 

Living beings

Identities

Doubtless near us

Misting in the air

Know we are there

Though we doubt them.

 

Ecstasy everywhere

Touches and thrills me,

There in contact daily,

Hours and minutes.

Hints demanding me write,

So I release them.[13]

 

 

No. 20 – Duettino

 

BASS:

O you, whom I often

Come up silently to

In my thoughts that I may

Be with you at your side –

Walk with you as you go,

Sit near you when at rest.

 

BARITONE:

O you, who do not know

Come up silently too

In my thoughts that I may

Raise subtle, electric

Tingles in you of me –

When you think I am near.[14]

(a due at recapitulation)

 

 

No. 21 – Dialogo

 

BARITONE:

“I have Walt’s [overcoat] here…

I now and then put it on,

Lay down, think I am

In the old times.

Then he is with me again.

It’s the only thing

I kept amongst

Many old things.

When I get it on

And stretch out

On the old sofa

I am very well contented. […]

He understood me –

I understood him.

We loved each other deeply.

[I may have regrets,]

But it is all right.

Walt realized

I never swerved from him –

He knows it now –

That is enough.

You gentlemen,

Take the glasses.

There, I will drink

right from the bottle.

Now, here’s to the old man

And the dear old times –

And the new times too,

And to every one that’s to come.”[15]

 

 

No. 22Recitetivo ed Aria

 

BASS:

(recitative)

I sit and look upon the sorrows

That oppress and shame the entire world;

I hear the secret convulsive sobs,

Young men anguish for deeds done/undone.

I see love’s misuse by those who love,

Jealous ranklings unrequited,

All these – meanness and all agony –

I sit and look upon without end.[16]

 

(aria)

O, me of slack faith for so long,

Denying proportions aloof,

Me with my mole eyes unrisen

To buoyancy and vision free

Only aware today of that

Compact, all-diffuse truth of me.

 

Today there is no lie in form

As it grows inevitably,

As truth grows truth upon itself,

Or as any law of the Earth

Shows the way out of Earthly woe.[17]

 

(recap: “O, me of slack faith….” etc)

 

 

No. 23Finale

 

BARITONE and BASS:

Whoever walks a furlong

Without any sympathy

Walks a callous, unloving step

Behind his own casket.

 

TENOR:

To glance with a human eye,

Or show a bean in its pod,

Confounds the learnings of time.

 

BARITONE and BASS:

You or I though pocketless

Of dollar or dime may still,

Minted with caring empathy,

Purchase the pick of the Earth.

 

TENOR:

There’s not trade or employment,

But the young man following

May lead him to a hero.

 

BARITONE and BASS:

Any man or woman shall,

Knowing they lived in kindness,

Stand cool and spotlessly pure

Before far universes.

 

TENOR:

There is no bosom so soft

That it cannot make a hub

For great-wheeled universes.[18]

 

TUTTI:

(fuga)

A vast similitude

Interlocks all.

This vast similitude

Compactly holds.

 

All high spheres –

Grown, ungrown, large and small

All base things –

Earth, feelings, dirt and air

All our souls –

Same, different, close and far

All actions –

Good, callous, fine and coarse

All nations –

Pure, compact, free and held

All living –

Now or dead, once and coming.[19]

 

A vast similitude

Interlocks all.

This vast similitude

Compactly holds.

 

(Darkness – Fine di Cantata)

 


[1] LG = After p.453

[2] LG = After p.437

[3] LG = After p.421

[4] LG = After p.453

[5] LG = After p.453

[6] LS = p.229 Harry Stafford to Whitman, November 1877 (spelling updated)

[7] LS = p.230 Harry Stafford to Whitman, July 1877 (spelling updated)

[8] LG = After p.47

[9] LS = ps.139-141 memoirs, John McElroy, 1879

[10] LG = After ps.9-10

[11] LG = After p.220

[12] LS = ps.169-170 letter, Whitman to Peter Doyle, August 1870

[13] LG = After p.13

[14] LG = After p.377

[15] LS = p.177 interview, Peter Doyle to Horace Traubel, 1895

[16] LG = After p.236

[17] LG = After p.237

[18] LG = After ps.100 and 101

[19] LG = After p.230

_

Copyright © 2018 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.
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Numbers 15 and 16 sang directly in my ear. How I wish I could write the modulation to minor and back again that plays in my head. So much is here to use as musical material. I am astounded at the way you pulled so many elements together from Whitman’s writings, making them into a coherent whole. 

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2 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

Numbers 15 and 16 sang directly in my ear. How I wish I could write the modulation to minor and back again that plays in my head. So much is here to use as musical material. I am astounded at the way you pulled so many elements together from Whitman’s writings, making them into a coherent whole. 

Thanks, Parker. The key I think to pulling off a work like this is to organize the separate pieces into musical scenes. Instinctively I think you felt that here, as Nos. 15 and 16 from a very integral unit all by themselves. It makes me smile to know you could hear the beginnings of music coming alive for you. 

 

Thank you once again.   

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MichaelS36

Posted (edited)

AC I do not know how you did this. To take all those works and come up with this is genius. All of these authors would be pleased with your results here. Wonderful!

Edited by MichaelS36
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41 minutes ago, MichaelS36 said:

AC I do not know how you did this. To take all those works and come up with this is genius. All of these authors would be pleased with your results here. Wonderful!

Thank you, Mike. I like creating works like this is because I can play with various bits of info I've found and organize them into a place where they belong. I have a few more I can post :)

 

Thanks for reading. I really appreciate it.  

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Gosh i am sorry i am soooooo late here. this is lovely, beautiful.  I saw your answer to Michael. I remember doing the Found poetry prompt .. hunting through one piece to find ideas that fit, you have chosen multiple poets and authors whose work you sift through. You did a wonderful job here ... Thank you AC .. you are an inspiration. xo

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15 hours ago, Mikiesboy said:

Gosh i am sorry i am soooooo late here. this is lovely, beautiful.  I saw your answer to Michael. I remember doing the Found poetry prompt .. hunting through one piece to find ideas that fit, you have chosen multiple poets and authors whose work you sift through. You did a wonderful job here ... Thank you AC .. you are an inspiration. xo

It's never too late :) For these types of stage works, I like to explore the art of collage. My mind is so full of odds and ends, scraps of remembered bits and bobs, that it's a great way to write about how this knowledge affects me, emotionally. I can arrange them in patterns and find/adapt/write poetry that best speaks to the stories being illustrated. I might dust off my Gay American History and see what I'd have to do to get it ready for posting. 

 

Thanks again, as always.    

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