Monday, May 19, 2008

The song

It's beautiful, the way a Chopin prelude is beautiful, the way Catherine Barkley in Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms" is beautiful, the way the sun is beautiful, when it sets in the evenings over the rippling waters of the lake.

I can't explain it. I hear in its rhythms something so damn beautiful, and yet its lyric is so damn sad. I also hear in it something I've lost, and something I've never known and will never have.

Good music hits you in such a way. It was the same, if not near as acute, with Roberta Flack, and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." I heard that, years ago, on an old 45. It gave me a youthful understanding of what it means to want a woman with all of your inner being.

I came home last night, sat down, and tried to will the pain away. But it wouldn't go, so I dialed the iPod to something poignant, smoked a cigar (yeah, I know I shouldn't, sue me already) and dulled the senses enough to function.

It's insane, I know, but what I thought about was Hemingway, or really about Catherine, and how his hero walked into the rain the night she died. I wanted to be elsewhere, drowning my soul, but the moment, alas, had passed.

It always does.

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