The Mystery of Meaning

Contrary to the expectation I expressed yesterday when posting an obscure article about the chord changes in Duke Jordan’s Jordu, I got the following alert from WordPress:

Usually I get a bit nervous when there’s a spike in my stats. I tend to imagine I’ve posted something controversial and the people checking it out are all lawyers. As it turns out the destination of most of the traffic was not the piece I had just posted but an old post about a poem, Meaning by Czeslaw Milosz. Here is the poem:

When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
– And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
– Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.

I have no idea why there was a sudden surge in interest yesterday – most of it from the USA – in this particular poem. I’d guess that it may have featured in a TV broadcast, as that sort of thing has in the past caused sudden increases in traffic to posts about music.

If anyone can solve the mystery of Meaning I’d be very grateful to hear through the comments box.

Update: Mystery solved. The poem was read by the Reverend James Lawson at the funeral of civil rights campaigner John Lewis. Many thanks to the commenter below for this information.

20 Responses to “The Mystery of Meaning”

  1. Gary Mathlin Says:

    Peter, I really don’t understand why you thought your readership doesn’t like your posts on Jazz. I can say that me and both your other two readers (Sid and Doris) look forward to some Jazz content on here. I spent a happy hour at my (electric imitation) piano messing about with II/V/I progressions yesterday as a result of your post (instead of preparing a resit paper on Exoplanets for next month).

    • telescoper Says:

      I was just going on the evidence – whenever I post about jazz the traffic goes down.

      Yesterday was an exception, obviously…

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        That might be the case, but that might be because jazz posts generate fewer comments, and thus fewer come back to read the comments, which presumably also counts as views of the post.

        I’ll try to generate some more by posting this video on the Beatles’ knowledge of music theory. The entire video is worth watching, even if one isn’t a fan of modern beat combos,but the 40 seconds or so starting at 15:22 with a Scouse imitating posh RP absolutely spot-on is a special joy.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        Here’s the reverse: a posh chap imitating a Scouse shortly after 2:50:

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      I’m vain enough to think that Peter might have had some of my early critical comments on this blog about postwar jazz in mind, but after I’d said them 2 or 3 times it seemed merely rude to repeat them whenever he posted stuff I didn’t like much. It’s his blog! So I pass over these posts and am glad that others enjoy this music.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        “Jazz” is a huge category; probably only “heavy metal” has more variety of styles. While I am no fan of atonal music in any form, be it free jazz or Schönberg, there is some really good jazz music. In particular, I recommend Thilo von Westernhagen. Michael Sagmeister is also worth a listen.

        Depending on the definition, jazz might even include ragtime. It certainly includes Dixieland and so on, which is far from atonal (and essentially pre-war).

      • telescoper Says:

        I’m afraid on this occasion your vanity is misplaced. 😉

        I was just going by the stats…

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I shall have to try harder to be vain.

      • telescoper Says:

        Let’s hope your efforts are not in vain.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I underwent a blood test recently and the nurse had trouble finding the right place. I asked her if she was searching in vein, and then apologised that she must have heard that one many times before. She said she hadn’t. That is disappointing.

      • telescoper Says:

        The last time I had to give a sample for a blood test I left with an enormous bruise.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        Be happy that it wasn’t a sperm donation. 😀

  2. Phillip Helbig Says:

    “If anyone can solve the mystery of Meaning I’d be very grateful to hear through the comments box.”

    The Lord works in mysterious ways. 🙂

  3. Michel C. Says:

    Some new additional mysteries to look at…

  4. Michel C. Says:

    This tune is great by the way.

  5. Michel C. Says:

    I meant yesterday’s song, not the Beatles song, I prefer Yesterday too, though I prefer today over yesterday.

  6. Anton Garrett Says:

    Milosz is big in the USA, which most probably explains it. I have his searing book “The Captive Mind” about dissident intellectuals in Eastern Europe behind the Iron Curtain. The outstanding chapter is one of four character portraits that Milosz throws in, this one of Tadeusz Borowski (pseudonymised as “Beta”). Borowski was an Auschwitz survivor who became a communist as the one certain way to make sure that it could never, ever happen again. Then he learnt of the gulag. Then he gassed himself.

  7. David Ross Says:

    It was because the Rev Dr. James Lawson read it as part of his eulogy for his friend and fellow civil rights leader, Rep. John Lewis on Thurs., July 30th. , at Ebeneezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. I searched for it myself but only found it today, here, and happily so. Thank you. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjhr7L93_jqAhWRVs0KHQNuA0QQyCkwAHoECAoQBA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DYOxpSPT5PnI&usg=AOvVaw0reB0fkmgmhoyAenz7XPvg

    • telescoper Says:

      Thank you. I thought it might be something that was broadcast in the USA because of the origin of most of the traffic.

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