In the lore of Greek myths, naiad Pirene was grief-stricken by the death of her son, Cenchrias. She dissolved into a fountain of tears outside the gates of Corinth. It was said the essence of a naiad was tied to her spring; she could no longer exist if the spring dried up, as is often the case with inspiration and poetry. Pirene’s fountain was one of three springs associated with Pegasus, and was sacred to the muses, who drank of the waters for fresh inspiration.
At Pirene’s Fountain, it is our hope that we can share of each other’s knowledge, and in the spirit of Ancora Imparo –“ I am still learning,” open our hearts and minds to inspiration.
"Music is the shorthand of emotion." ~Leo Tolstoy
Very close to the heart of music is poetry. Music shares its lyrical qualities with poetry, and lives in the words themselves. Poetry, like speech, is melodic in nature; it contains elements of assonance, rhyme, and tone. Not only are there melodic hints in the words, but actual melodies, which elicit an emotional response. Rhythm is created from the normal stress of spoken syllables. Crafting of words can emphasize cadence, and the subtle use of punctuation and line breaks controls pace and musical texture. Alliterations and other sonic embellishments create music in a poem, and onomatopoeic words such as crunch, gurgle, bubble and crash carry their own sound effects.
While imagery brings visuals to life in poetry, with metaphor as its driving engine, the emotional complexity of music sets it apart from all other arts. Music delights our senses in an ultimately mysterious process, and contains a swiftness of feeling that circumvents thought: we are moved to tears by a piece of music in a way we cannot explain. Our human souls revel in the spiritual sustenance of music and the pure quality of lyricism that poetry often brings us. Together, they are the divine arts.
"Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes."
~Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven's Quartet in C Major, Opus 59
it is the cellist
who seems to be
holding the music
in his arms,
moving his bow
as if it were
a dowsing rod
and the audience
dying of thirst.
© 2006 by Linda Pastan
Reprinted from Queen of a Rainy Country by Linda Pastan.
Used with permission of the publisher, W.W.Norton & Company, Inc.
"Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes."
When Autumn Came
This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.
The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust
even before the hunter strung his bow.
Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.
Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984)
translated by Naomi Lazard
"Music fills the infinite between two souls." ~ Rabindranath Tagore
The Cosmic Lord of Dance, Siva Nataraja, (iconic representation of dance, music, art, theatre, and literature.) performs his divine dance in an aureole of flames, balancing over a demon who symbolizes ignorance. The elliptical ring represents his rhythmic play—the source of all movement within the universe: the purpose of his dance is to release the souls of all men from the snare of illusion. The place of the dance, Chidambaram, which is portrayed as the center of the universe, originates from the heart, where the artist and his art are the same, thought to evoke the oneness of creation, knowledge, truth and beauty.
Still half residing
in the place of dreams
the sudden arrival of light
in gradual drift to waking
Bhairavi , with its four flatted notes
ushers in morning, its air clear
pure, unruffled surface of water
serene mirror of the silver tray
laden with milk and honey, tulsi leaves,
"Charnamrit" for the morning Aarti
tea served in white bone china
to feed the hunger for that first cup
where yesterdays dissolve,
stirring the promise of a new day
and from the fleshy peel cracked apart
ruby-lit pomegranate seeds
—the hundred mouths of morning
open their soft, dark sleep to welcome
the splendor of the sun
Ami Kaye, 2010
From: Singer of the Ragas
(Bhairavi—a minor scale raga
Tulsi—sacred basil, Aarti—prayer song