It’s Monday and I’m heading in to the library alone. No staff, and sadly, no patrons. As per Pennsylvania’s State Library and the Department of Education, and the directive of the governor, all Pennsylvania public libraries have closed for a period of at least 14 days to “flatten the curve,” as they say in an attempt to slow the spread of covid-19, coronavirus, via deliberate social distancing.
There’s a lot we could talk about regarding this, and I will probably post something more about it this week, but this morning it just seems like a good time for a return of the Monday Music feature. Traditionally we pair a poem with a song, and this is perhaps a loose pairing but here goes.
This morning on my Facebook memories, I was reminded of waking up to two feet of snow on this date three years back. Fortunately, we don’t have that to deal with literally on top of everything else. Three years ago I was still driving the ancient Oldsmobile Bravada which has since given up the mechanical, proverbial ghost. “Who knows where the time goes?”
How’s that for a sloppy segue way? Hold on, it gets worse. I did some hiking alone this weekend and when I got in the car the first song that started playing from the USB was by Brandi Carlile with these words: “It’s not the end of the world. It’s not even over. . .” and I thought, good! . . . then “but it will be soon.” Way to pump up my anxieties, Brandi. But then last night I was catching up in season two of “End of the Fucking World,” and I thought, damn, I’ve really got myself running away with this theme, don’t I? Maybe I’ll do some analysis of that show later. For now, let me say that I love the musical selections in their soundtrack. At a possibly pivotal moment in the episode this song started playing.
I’ll have to do some searching to find who the artist was who sang it for the show, but upon looking for the song online I found first Nina Simone’s gorgeous, moody version, and then Judy Collins’ rendition which led me to Sandy Denny, the songwriter and her original. Now forgive the old-timey look of this video from 1998, a mere 22 years ago, but do check out the details and the band members in the YouTube video description. I was just captivated by this interpretation, and how the background singers are not treated as mere background, but instead as vital players in the band, their voices their instruments.
UPDATE: You’ll have to click on the thumbnail of the video below to follow the link to play it on YouTube, as it’s disabled for playback on other websites. Or just click here.
The poem to pair with it on this Music Monday is Philip Larkin’s “Days.” It just seems right. Philip Larkin, like me, was a librarian. And if there is any order to the stream of consciousness that brought this post into some sort of cohesion on this pandemic Monday, well, I am grateful for that. Be safe, take care of each other, but from your separate houses where possible, for now.
What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.
by Philip Larkin from Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)