Monday, March 7, 2011

Music Mondays: Blake's "Ah! Sunflower" and Grateful Dead's "China Cat Sunflower"

I hoping to start pairing a poem and a song on Mondays. Here is my first effort:


This weekend my wife and I were cleaning the house, and I had Grateful Dead playing. The show was in Copenhagen from 72. Which. I believe, is the same tour/time period from which the Europe '72 tapes were pulled from. Pig Pen did not look his best, and I guess the rest of the guys knew that. Keith Godchaux was already a "member" playing piano, while Pig Pen was playing B3 (organ). What I found interesting about this show, was something I had never realized before. The lyrics of China Cat Sunflower caught my interests. In his collected book of lyrics, Box of Rain, Robert Hunter states, "Nobody ever asked me the meaning of this song. People seem to know exactly what I'm talking about. It's good that a few things in this world are clear to all of us."

But this time watching the video, I had a new experience: It was Blake's Sunflower that generated in my mind. I was pulled to a state of sublime power, where my sense are in rapture. This is the power of Blake and this is the power of the Grateful Dead. They both, with great force, pull on beauty and bombard the senses.

So today, I give you William Blake and his "Ah! Sunflower" and Grateful Dead and "China Cat Sunflower."


Enjoy, Happy Lundi Gras.


Ah! Sunflower

Ah Sun-flower weary of time.
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go!



China Cat Sunflower (from Copenhagen '72)

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