Sunday, 30 April 2017

Ideas are like stars

I've just had a significant birthday.  Or is it an insignificant one?  It leaves me with a zero at the end, anyway.

As an antidote, I pulled together songs that came out in a year that ended in "7".  For 1997, I chose "Ideas Are Like Stars" by Mary Chapin Carpenter, a song that, for me, doesn't belong so much to 1997, as it belongs to 2001, and my first winter in Hades.

I'd just acquired the CD A Place in the World, and younger daughter had just been "identified" as having Special Needs.  This song would come on, and I'd have to dive into the basement to smother my sobbing.

While searching for videos, I came across a new recording Mary Chapin Carpenter has made, with an orchestral score and choir.

Today Joseph is sitting alone, with occasional nods to the waitress
She tops off his cup while she's snapping her gum, making her rounds on the lunch shift
Counting out coins, he leaves them arranged, in neat lines and circles and arcs
She just stares at the tip that spells out her name and ideas are like stars

And yesterday pedaling down 4th Avenue, between the stalls and the bookshops
The sepia tones of a lost afternoon cradled a curio storefront
And inside the air was thick with the past, as the dust settled onto his heart
And here for a moment is every place in the world and ideas are like stars

They fall from the sky, they run round your head
They litter your sleep as they beckon
They'd teach you to fly without wires or thread
They promise if only you'd let them

For the language of longing never had words,
so how did you speak from your heart?
Yet here is a box that swears it has heard that ideas are like stars

Tonight Joseph stood out in the yard, as Debussy played from the kitchen
Celestial companions `til mornings first lark, shone overhead and he listened
And who was that shadow there by the gate, who was that there standing guard
It was only loneliness, and loneliness waits, and ideas are like stars
Ideas are like stars.

I've since learned that the Joseph in the song refers to American artist Joseph Cornell, and have found a video featuring the original 1996 recording, with images of Cornell's artwork.