Weep No More

A few days ago, I found myself thinking of the film Sense & Sensibility, the one with the screenplay written by Emma Thompson.

I love Jane Austen’s novels, and find this particular film adaptation to be very much to my taste. I re-read the book nearly every year, and re-watch the film with a similar frequency. Gorgeous work, both.

But the element surfacing in my mind this time was the song that Marianne sings near the middle of the film. The actress portraying Marianne is Kate Winslet, and it is her voice we hear.

Isn’t that lovely?

In my search for the clip, I learned more about the origins of the lyrics and and the melody. Patrick Doyle composed the score for the film, but borrowed a poem from Elizabethan times for the words that the actress would sing.

The authorship of the poem is a little uncertain, but it’s attributed to John Dowland, a court lute player for King James I from 1612 through 1626.

Weep you no more, sad fountains;
What need you flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mountains
Heaven’s sun doth gently waste.
But my sun’s heavenly eyes
View not your weeping,
That now lie sleeping
Softly, now softly lies
Sleeping.

Sleep is a reconciling,
A rest that peace begets.
Doth not the sun rise smiling
When fair at even he sets?
Rest you then, rest, sad eyes,
Melt not in weeping
While she lies sleeping
Softly, now softly lies
Sleeping.

Other composers in addition to Doyle have been inspired by the verses, among them Gustav Holst, who included “Weep You No More” in his lieder, Six Songs Op. 16. Modern singer songwriter Sting composed a version (performed with lutenist Edin Karamazov) which I also found beautiful.

 

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Blood Silver: A Song of Peace

The faie knight of Blood Silver—Tahaern—first encounters a mortal when he discovers the healer woman of Gleannbaile at work in her garden. She sings as she gathers leaves for an herbal remedy.

Tahaern is overwhelmed and awed by the density of experience that is the bright world, so different from the darkness of his birthplace under the knowe. Mortal beauty possesses an irregularity that is so much more appealing than the smooth perfection of faie beauty.

I listened to the healer woman through Tahaern’s ears and was nearly as charmed as was he by the melody of her song. I imagined it to be similar to “Deep in the Meadow” as sung by Jennifer Lawrence in the movie The Hunger Games.

The words to my healer’s song were her own, of course.

Deep in the valley, beside the water
A song of peace from wisdom’s daughter
Open your heart, sing with your spirit
Then while you dance, hope will arise

Now brings wonder, now brings awe
Now opens the kingdom, the heart of every choice
Now your dreams shine golden and beckon you anew
Now is the time when I love you

For more about Blood Silver, see:
Plate Armor, How It Works
Cross Strike, Squinting Strike, and Scalp Strike
The Book Title
The Crooked Strike
The Joust
Which Cover to Choose?
The Strike of Wrath
Rope Climbing and a Cliff
What If the Sword is Wrong?
Wielding a Long Sword
Origin of the Story (The State of This Writer)

 

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I See Her in Nature

          The sky is so blue and friendly
          almost as though it is her smile
          or maybe her laugh
          or both

          I have no sense of its infinite possibility
          ceding to the blackness of outer space
          going on and on past the moon
          past Mars

          No, this sky is immediate, personal
          happy like a baby blanket
          comforting like Mother
          and mine

          I am shielded, illuminated, protected
          under its canopy of brightness
          so long as daylight shines
          safe

In memory of my mother:
Futile Seeking
Gusty and Fresh
Risen
In Memoriam
Bright Radiance
Grievous Loss

 

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Risen

Easter was my favorite holiday when I was a child
Somehow it was always sunny, the warm rays
          of the daystar shining in through the panes
          of the living room windows
          gleaming on the polished hardwood floor
          brightening the paneling around the hearth
          warming the space, like a nest might be warm
          and shining through the colored cellophane of the baskets
          casting a glow of pink or green or yellow
          wherever the light fell

I felt safe and happy

Today’s living room, that of my adulthood
          holds the same promise
          sunlight flooding through the many square panes
          of the three windows
          making rectangles of bright squares on the oak floorboards
          shining through the suncatchers crafted by my daughter
          scattering patches of crimson, royal blue, and emerald green
          wherever the light slants
          warming the space, like a nest might be warm

I should have wanted to come in from the cold

In other seasons, the warm quietude would nourish me
          but in the season of my mother’s death
          I feel the weight of grief whenever it is still
          the bright quiet stillness of refuge
          should have her presence in it
          does have her presence in it
          and yet she is gone, most grievously gone
          I can only miss her and miss her and know that she is gone
          as I rest in the warm quietude of my room

No wonder I long for the brisk busyness
          of the bright and cold and windy day outside
          she is present in the wind and the bother
          the way she always was, ready to go and be and do
          seek adventures, make new friends, savor new experiences
          she is not gone in the great outdoors
          but meets me at very corner
          in the very slap of each gust of wind
          resurrected within the hustle and bustle
          my mother who was so thoughtful
          but who loved to laugh and climb the heights

There in her milieu—lively and brisk and warmly bright
          all at the same time—I greet her

In memory of my mother:
Futile Seeking
Gusty and Fresh
I See Her in Nature
In Memoriam
Bright Radiance
Grievous Loss

 

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Gusty and Fresh

Gusty and fresh and filled with sun
The air carries a sense of happy busyness
          getting things done
          meeting newness at every turn
          finding joy in unexpected corners

I could stay out in it forever
          rejoicing in the changeable breeze on my cheek
          squinting against the brightness
          sniffing the clean, cold aroma of winter

The wind’s energy fills me up
          prompting me to go out and explore
          to seek adventure, to make a new friend
          and to trust that life will bring me its best

But the cold nips my fingers now
          pinching them cruelly
          and the wind has whipped tears from my eyes
          which freeze on the delicate skin below my lashes

I resist the retreat indoors where
          in the stillness I must confront what I’ve forgotten
          feel the loss and grieve it
          with no bright, busy wind to distract me

In memory of my mother:
Futile Seeking
Risen
I See Her in Nature
In Memoriam
Bright Radiance
Grievous Loss

 

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Futile Seeking

No matter where you might be, I will find you

If I could search the right telephone book
          I’d find your number
And when I called I’d ask for Dad to put you on
          we’d talk and talk, and I’d know you were there

If I could buy the right train ticket
          I’d board that train
And when I arrived you’d be on the platform waiting
          we’d hug and hug, and I’d know you were here

If I could look in the right places
If I could speak the right language
If I could do the impossible
          I’d find you
And then we’d be together again
          mother and daughter
          friend and friend
          you and me

How can you be gone?
You were too real to ever die
Surely I can find you somewhere
          and yet I don’t
You have gone, truly gone, and I can’t fathom it
          oh, Mother, come back
          I need you
          come back

Even beyond death, I still seek you

In memory of my mother:
Gusty and Fresh
Risen
I See Her in Nature
In Memoriam
Bright Radiance
Grievous Loss

 

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Bright Radiance

The icicle glistens in the sun, liquidity given sculptural form
          yet melting in the light’s warmth
The dripping water taps the porch floor
          like a heartbeat
Regular, reassuring
          All is well
          All is well

I sit in a pool of calm stillness
          at peace for a spell
The sun’s brightness cheers me
Its warmth soothes me
Pervasive brilliance cradling me
          All is well
          I am safe

Even the snow, hateful a moment ago, now upholds me
          receiving the sunlight and spreading it
          everywhere, from horizon to horizon
The whole earth is bright, bright
          with the sun’s radiance

So I rest . . . for now
          upheld by brilliance below
          nourished by brilliance above
          there is only light

Light blazes all round me
          light so strong that in its
          cradling of me, it enters into me
          and shines the darkness away

          Blessed be
          All is well

In memory of my mother:
No Beauty
Exiled
Despair
Cold Rage
Beauty in the Close
Grievous Loss

 

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Cold Rage

          The sky is a hard blue
          I love this shade of blue
                    Usually I love it
                    so bright, so fierce, so definite
                    But today it makes me angry

          The snow is so white, so bright
          I love the fallen snow on a winter’s day
          The light it radiates, reflects, amplifies
                    Usually I love it
                    but today I see its coldness
                    unfriendly, frozen-edged, cutting
                    Today I hate it

          Or, no, I don’t hate it
          I just hate everything

          Hate the medical bills, the unrepaired house
                    the feebleness of my body, my beloved child’s disability
                    unrelenting responsibility, the impossibility of it all
          Hate all of it
          Hate it

          The bright sky over the crusting snow
                    shouts my hatred
                    like an angel of hell
                    like a brazen trumpet

          Or else mocks it
                    mocks me

In memory of my mother:
No Beauty
Exiled
Despair
Bright Radiance
Beauty in the Close
Grievous Loss

 

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