Christmas card. Some years I steal a few hours from work and create one of these with Lilypond. I don't mail them out or anything - just pass them out by hand.

'Twas just this time, last year, I died.
I know I heard the Corn,
When I was carried by the Farms —
It had the Tassels on —

I thought how yellow it would look —
When Richard went to mill —
And then, I wanted to get out,
But something held my will.

I thought just how Red — Apples wedged
The Stubble's joints between —
And the Carts stooping round the fields
To take the Pumpkins in —

I wondered which would miss me, least,
And when Thanksgiving, came,
If Father'd multiply the plates —
To make an even Sum —

And would it blur the Christmas glee
My Stocking hang too high
For any Santa Claus to reach
The Altitude of me —

But this sort, grieved myself,
And so, I thought the other way,
How just this time, some perfect year —
Themself, should come to me —

            Emily Dickinson

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

                                Walace Stevens

            For Evgeny Rein, with love
There floats in an abiding gloom,
among immensities of brick,
a little boat of night: it seems
to sail through Alexander Park.
It's just a lonely streetlamp, though,
a yellow rose against the night,
for lovers strolling down below
       the busy street.
There floats in an abiding gloom
a drone of bees: men drunk, asleep.
In the dark capital a lone
tourist takes another snap.
Now out onto Ordynka turns
a taxicab, with sickly faces;
dead men lean into the arms
       of the low houses.
There floats in an abiding gloom
a poet in sorrow; over here
a round-faced man sells kerosene,
the sad custodian of his store.
Along a dull deserted street
an old Lothario hurries. Soon
the midnight-riding newlyweds
       sail through the gloom.
There floats in outer Moscow one
who swims at random to his loss,
and Jewish accents wander down
a dismal yellow flight of stairs.
From love toward unhappiness,
to New Year's Eve, to Sunday, floats
a good-time girl: she can't express
       what's lost inside.
Cold evening floats within your eyes
and snow is fluttering on the panes
of carriages; the wind is ice
and pale, it seals your reddened palms.
Evening lights like honey seep;
the scent of halvah's everywhere,
as Christmas Eve lifts up its sweet
       meats in the air.
Now drifting on a dark-blue wave
across the city's gloomy sea,
there floating by, your New Year's Eve--
as if life could restart, could be
a thing of light with each day lived
successfully, and food to eat,
--as if, life having rolled to left,
       it could roll right.
            Joseph Brodsky
            (translated by Glyn Maxwell)

            Евгению Рейну, с любовью
Плывет в тоске необъяснимой
среди кирпичного надсада
ночной кораблик негасимый
из Александровского сада,
ночной фонарик нелюдимый,
на розу желтую похожий,
над головой своих любимых,
у ног прохожих.
Плывет в тоске необьяснимой
пчелиный ход сомнамбул, пьяниц.
В ночной столице фотоснимок
печально сделал иностранец,
и выезжает на Ордынку
такси с больными седоками,
и мертвецы стоят в обнимку
с особняками.
Плывет в тоске необьяснимой
певец печальный по столице,
стоит у лавки керосинной
печальный дворник круглолицый,
спешит по улице невзрачной
любовник старый и красивый.
Полночный поезд новобрачный
плывет в тоске необьяснимой.
Плывет во мгле замоскворецкой,
плывет в несчастие случайный,
блуждает выговор еврейский
на желтой лестнице печальной,
и от любви до невеселья
под Новый год, под воскресенье,
плывет красотка записная,
своей тоски не обьясняя.
Плывет в глазах холодный вечер,
дрожат снежинки на вагоне,
морозный ветер, бледный ветер
обтянет красные ладони,
и льется мед огней вечерних
и пахнет сладкою халвою,
ночной пирог несет сочельник
над головою.
Твой Новый год по темно-синей
волне средь моря городского
плывет в тоске необьяснимой,
как будто жизнь начнется снова,
как будто будет свет и слава,
удачный день и вдоволь хлеба,
как будто жизнь качнется вправо,
качнувшись влево.
            Ио́сиф Бро́дский

a few notes )


For a miracle, take one shepherd's sheepskin, throw
in a pinch of now, a grain of long ago,
and a handful of tomorrow. Add by eye
a little chunk of space, a piece of sky,

and it will happen. For miracles, gravitating
to earth, know just where people will be waiting,
and eagerly will find the right address
and tenant, even in a wilderness.

Or if you're leaving home, switch on a new
four-pointed star, then, as you say adieu,
to light a vacant world with steady blaze
and follow you forever with its gaze.

                              Joseph Brodsky
                              translated by Richard Wilbur

...tried the Gregorian context in Lilypond for the first time last week.



April 2017

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