A timber slug—mottled-brown, six inches long, thick as my thumb—crawls over the ground near my feet, leaving a trail of silvery mucus, like a ribbon of wet cellophane laid over the plumes of moss. I love to watch slugs, but never pick them up. They leave a film of mucus on your fingers that refuses to dry and clings with amazing tenacity, as if it had a life of its own. I also step carefully around them, remembering the times I’ve found slugs squashed on trails, like punctured sacks draining thick organic ooze. Over a few days, a dead slug seems to melt away, becoming a shapeless lump and then shrinking down into itself until only a stain is left. Timber slugs are the gentlest and most peaceful of creatures, slipping silently along on saturated stomachs, sensing their way with stalked antennae, feeding on the forest’s loamy decay. They epitomize the cool jungle-wetness of this place—soft as clouds, dark as evening, damp as mist, bellies full of rain.
Richard Nelson, The Island Within (1991), 105

Tarkovsky, Stalker (1979)

I close my eyes and see a flock of birds. The vision lasts a second, or perhaps less; I am not sure how many birds I saw. Was the number of birds definite or indefinite? The problem involves the existence of God. If God exists, the number is definite, because God knows how many birds I saw. If God does not exist, the number is indefinite, because no one can have counted. In this case I saw fewer than ten birds (let us say) and more than one, but did not see nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or two birds. I saw a number between ten and one, which was not nine, eight, seven, six, five, etc. That integer—not-nine, not-eight, not-seven, not-six, not-five, etc.—is inconceivable. Ergo, God exists.
Borges, “Argumentum Ornithologicum” (from The Maker, 1960), trans. Hurley

"….but so far none has opened."

Fill in the blank. 

Bell Tower (1929)


I have seen, desolate one, the voice has its tower;
The voice also, builded at secret cost,
Its temple of precious tissue. Not silent then
Forever—casting silence in your hour.

There marble boys are leant from the light throat,
Thick locks that hang with dew and eyes dewlashed,
Dazzled with morning, angels of the wind,
With ear a-point for the enchanted note.

And these at length shall tip the hanging bell,
And first the sound must gather in deep bronze,
Till, clearer than ice, purer than a bubble of gold,
It beat in the sky and the air and the ear’s remorseless well.

—Léonie Adams (1899-1988)

Doubt there’s a lyric more perfect in all American poetry. I memorized this my first year of college, and it’s been in my ears ever since. “The Horn” is another.

It was also Hart Crane’s favorite poem of hers. “The bell-rope that gathers God at dawn…” 

Léonie Adams, “The Apple in Its Season”

Léonie Adams, “The Apple in Its Season”

Alice James / Diaries, 26 October 1890

William uses an excellent expression when he says in his paper on the ‘Hidden Self’ that the nervous victim ‘abandons’ certain portions of his consciousness. It may be the word commonly used by his kind. It is just the right one at any rate, altho’ I have never unfortunately been able to abandon my consciousness and get five minutes’ rest. I have passed thro’ an infinite succession of conscious abandonments and in looking back now I see how it began in my childhood, altho’ I wasn’t conscious of the necessity until ‘67 or ‘68 when I broke down first, acutely, and had violent turns of hysteria. As I lay prostrate after the storm with my mind luminous and active and susceptible of the clearest, strongest impressions, I saw so distinctly that it was a fight simply between my body and my will, a battle in which the former was to be triumphant to the end. Owing to some physical weakness, excess of nervous susceptibility, the moral power passes, as it were for a moment, and refuses to maintain muscular sanity, worn out with the strain of its constabulary functions. As I used to sit immovable reading in the library with waves of violent inclination suddenly invading my muscles taking some one of their myriad forms such as throwing myself out of the window, or knocking off the head of the benignant pater as he sat with his silver locks, writing at his table, it used to seem to me that the only difference between me and the insane was that I had not only all the horrors and suffering of insanity but the duties of doctor, nurse, and strait-jacket imposed upon me, too. Conceive of never being without the sense that if you let yourself go for a moment your mechanism will fall into pie and that at some given moment you must abandon it all, let the dykes break and the flood sweep in, acknowledging yourself abjectly impotent before the immutable laws. When all one’s moral and natural stock in trade is a temperament forbidding the abandonment of an inch or the relaxation of a muscle, ‘tis a never-ending fight. When the fancy took me of a morning at school to study my lessons by way of variety instead of shirking or wiggling thro’ the most impossible sensations of upheaval, violent revolt in my head overtook me so that I had to ‘abandon’ my brain, as it were. So it has always been, anything that sticks of itself is free to do so, but conscious and continuous cerebration is an impossible exercise and from just behind the eyes my head feels like a dense jungle into which no ray of light has ever penetrated. So, with the rest, you abandon the pit of your stomach, the palms of your hands, the soles of your feet, and refuse to keep them sane when you find in turn one moral impression after another producing despair in the one, terror in the other, anxiety in the third and so on until life becomes one long flight from remote suggestion and complicated eluding of the multifold traps set for your undoing.

Adams, “Grapes Making”

Noon sun beats down the leaf; the noon
Of summer burns along the vine
And thins the leaf with burning air,
Till from the underleaf is fanned,
And down the woven vine, the light.
Still the pleached leaves drop layer on layer
To wind the sun on either hand,
And echos of the light are bound,
And hushed the blazing cheek of light,
The hurry of the breathless noon,
And from the thicket of the vine
The grape has pressed into its round.

The grape has pressed into its round,
And swings, aloof chill green, clean won
Of light, between the sky and ground;
Those hid, soft-flashing lamps yet blind,
Which yield an apprehended sun.
Fresh triumph in a courteous kind,
Having more ways to be, and years,
And easy, countless treasuries,
You whose all-told is still no sum,
Like a rich heart, well-said in sighs,
The careless autumn mornings come,
The grapes drop glimmering to the shears.

Now shady sod at heel piles deep,
An overarching shade, the vine
Across the fall of noon is flung;
And here beneath the leaves is cast
A light to colour noonday sleep,
While cool, bemused the grape is swung
Beneath the eyelids of the vine;
And deepening like a tender thought
Green moves along the leaf, and bright
The leaf above, and leaf has caught,
And emerald pierces day, and last
The faint leaf vanishes to light.

Frances Yeend, Martha Lipton, David Lloyd, Mack Harrel, Bruno Walter, New York Philharmonic, Westminster Choir - Te Deum in C major: I. Te Deum. Allegro moderato
34 plays

Bruckner, Te Deum in C major (1884): 1. Te Deum. Allegro moderato

Westminster Choir / New York Philharmonic / Bruno Walter (1953)

[Angel, Baptismal Font, Parish Church (Maria Wörth)]

I do not see myself by any means as someone who repeats historic performances, or wants to reintroduce historic conditions — not in any field of music. On the contrary, I only feel justified, or even obliged to perform music when it has something relevant to say to the musicians and music-lovers of today. Pure historic interest or correctness is absolutely not enough for me: the music must be necessary today, and it must be necessary to me. For this reason I also have problems performing music of lesser significance by ‘minor masters’ (although unfair sentence is often passed here), even if it is of great interest. This music then becomes a research object for me, something that does not really affect people’s lives today. And music should always affect people’s lives. It has always been my conviction that music is not there to soothe people’s nerves or to bring them relaxation, but rather, to open their eyes, to give them a good shaking, even to frighten them. If music cannot do this, then I don’t play it; and in order to support these functions, I sometimes bring unhistoric devices into my interpretation too.
Harnoncourt (from an interview with Hartmut Krones, 1991)

Bruckner, Symphony No. 5 in B-flat major ‘Fantastic’ (1878)

1. Introduction. Adagio - Allegro | 1:45
2. Adagio. Sehr langsam. | 21:30
3. Scherzo. Molto vivace | 34:40
4. Finale. Adagio - Allegro moderato | 48:45

RCO / Harnoncourt

The personal, like friends, can’t be chosen. It can only be discovered. I can sit and list all that I know I know about myself, but not one of these facts, as secret as it may be, will draw two close together. 

There are secrets formed in shame, discretion, loyalty, treachery, secrets of identity, love, loathing, secrets that might compromise us socially — and all of these will be known, one day, just as we know them, and the knowing will change nothing. Then there are other secrets which are hidden from us: and these are the personal ones, which only some friend, some magnanimous other we can’t choose, would suspect in us, could midwife out of us. Secrets that we couldn’t know without another to show us, to make the discovery. And we them. These we can give: we can share only what another discovers in us. “The only joy I have in his being mine, is that the not mine is mine.” Each each other’s mine.