Archive for Solitude

#WorldPoetryDay: `Solitude’ by Lord Byron

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , , , , on March 21, 2020 by telescoper

Today (Saturday 21st March 2020) is United Nations World Poetry Day. As I think we need poetry now more than ever I thought I’d post some poems to celebrate. There will be five altogether, spread throughout the day. My first choice is by Lord Byron:

To sit on rocks, to muse o’er flood and fell,
To slowly trace the forest’s shady scene,
Where things that own not man’s dominion dwell,
And mortal foot hath ne’er or rarely been;
To climb the trackless mountain all unseen,
With the wild flock that never needs a fold;
Alone o’er steeps and foaming falls to lean;
This is not solitude, ’tis but to hold
Converse with Nature’s charms, and view her stores unrolled.

But midst the crowd, the hurry, the shock of men,
To hear, to see, to feel and to possess,
And roam alone, the world’s tired denizen,
With none who bless us, none whom we can bless;
Minions of splendour shrinking from distress!
None that, with kindred consciousness endued,
If we were not, would seem to smile the less
Of all the flattered, followed, sought and sued;
This is to be alone; this, this is solitude!

by Lord Byron (1788-1824)




Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on January 6, 2015 by telescoper

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)



Posted in Jazz with tags , , on July 19, 2012 by telescoper

In my Solitude

Posted in Jazz with tags , , , on November 3, 2011 by telescoper

Here’s a little gem for you. It’s a lovely little short version of Duke Ellington’s great song (In my) Solitude as performed by the quartet that was co-led for a short time in the 1970s by guitarist George Barnes and cornettist Ruby Braff. They may not have stayed together for very long before the two leaders had a major falling out and they split up, but they certainly produced some exquisite music while the band lasted and the “Braff-Barnes Quartet” is much celebrated in Jazz histories.

Ruby Braff’s technical ability on cornet is astonishing but  his style very traditional; he was once described as “The Ivy League Louis Armstrong”. On this tune in particular he manages to produce a smooth velvet tone in the lower register, which almost merges with the arco bass of Michael Moore, as well as  brilliant quicksilver runs in the upper register. The other member of the band was Wayne Wright who played (mainly rhythm) guitar.

This particular track proves that this band not only new how to play but also when to stop;  2:38 is pretty short for a live jazz performance but I think they stopped at just the right moment – something that quite a few bands  would do well to learn from!