Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Notes.

(1) Spring arrives this year on March 20.

(2) The Full Moon, the Worm Moon, is on March 16.

(3) Daylight Savings Time begins on March 9.

(4) Today is Ash Wednesday.  Lent begins.

Purple.

From poem 1213 (1872) by Emily Dickinson:  “We like March. / His Shoes are Purple– / He is new and high– / Makes he Mud for Dog and Peddler, / Makes he Forests dry.”

From a French poem, anonymous, “Mars a le visage vermeille / Et sourit dans ses larmes.” (March has a ruddy [purplish] face / And smiles through its tears.)

Students often asked me about the imagery of purple in poems about March.  My response:  There is much purple in March.  Look for it.  Find it.  (Some undertook the suggestion as a project.  They were surprised at what they found.)

Lent.

Many “give up” things for Lent.  This year I will follow the advice of the venerable priest, Fr. Briant, who encouraged us to “give up” things that keep us from receiving spiritual blessings.  I’ve made my list and started my practice.  I hope to keep the practices after the Lenten season.

Live Broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera in Movie Theaters: Prince Igor by Borodin.  (March 1)

What are the causes of war?  What is the effect of war on people involved?  What happens to a leader who, against the advice of his counselors, wages war and loses?  Does he re-gain respect for dishonor?  How?  What happens to a country when trust in God and love for country fail?  These are questions explored in Prince Igor.

The first thing I noticed was the blocking of the action.  It was blocked almost exclusively in parallel horizontal lines, even the choreography of the joyful, almost ecstatic, and popular “Polovtsian Dances.”  (The other theater piece I have seen with this blocking was the 1992 Broadway revival of Guys and Dolls.)

There are arias of longing, love, and despair.  The lamentation of the Princess at the beginning of the last act and the choral answer are as beautiful as music gets.

There is much choral music, pieces of both lyrical beauty and of energetic warlike declamation, patriotism, and revelry.

Scenes of the horror of war and the agony of suffering and death are projected on a screen and juxtaposed with a set of a field of 12,500 brilliant red poppies backed by a cyclorama of changing blues, from powder blue, to royal blue, depending on the demands on the scenes staged there.

The four hour forty minute opera was an excellent way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Thank you for reading.  Enjoy the last few weeks of winter and project with me the joys of an upcoming spring.  I hope your week will be good.

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About billwednesdayblog

Retired high school English and French teacher.
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2 Responses to Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  1. The French poem describes ME today!!

  2. Dave A says:

    It never ceases to amaze me what I learn from reading this blog. Like the students, I, too, will have to look for purple in these coming spring days and not forget to fiddle with the clock on March 9th, though most assuredly not at 0200 (am). My wife and I have seen “Guys and Dolls” in both NYC and London’ west end; it’s one of our favorites, but I never noticed the blocking. Next time.

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