I'm off for March Break and, given that my blog may or may not be present as part of the Star's entertainment offerings when I return, I figure it's a good time to pause and thank you, gentle reader, for popping by to visit and share in these miscellaneous musings, listenings and bits of news.
If I counted right, this is my 847th post since the first on March 16, 2009. I was, with the rest of my colleagues at the Star, encouraged to start a blog in the paper's effort to reach as many people as possible every day and also add to the variety of different voices that readers could find under the broad umbrella of a daily news organization.
The Old Skool printed Star still gets more than a million reads every day, as far as I know. Yesterday, for the first time since April, 2009, I saw the traffic figures for my blog and immediately understood why my managers see no point in having me spend a couple of hours every day working on it. I'm told my blog was more popular than many others under the Star's purview, but, to put it bluntly, for me they were a powerful slap in the face. The metaphoric red marks will take a little while to fade from my bestubbled cheek.
My little history with my little blog is a tiny microcosm of the well-documented struggles all news organizations are having with shifting reading and interest habits. Don't let any pundit, expert or visionary convince you otherwise: There isn't a single news organization out there that has any clue what combination of information and social media tools are the right mix to gather up a critical mass of readers while bringing in enough revenue to pay for the delivery of credible news and opinion. It is all a process of trial and error.
In the meantime, what we do -- and what format we do it in -- will continue to be in constant flux.
That said, I've had a ball with this blog. It's been a brilliant way to ask myself questions, to explore new music and to distract my wandering mind with a few grains of sand in the world's giant classical-music sandbox.
I've sometimes begrudged but largely enjoyed the discipline of having a daily post ready by 9 am (I'm slacking off already: it's 9:20 am as I write this) and it could be that I've become so addicted to the post-dog-walk Dear Diary routine that I'll want to continue this blog regardless of whether it enjoys the Star's official blessing.
But we'll see.
I can't very well say goodbye without a musical salutation influenced by the mind-blowing images from yesterday's earthquake in Japan.
I've included the poems (with the lines and verses clumped together to save space):
1. Sea Slumber-Song, by Roden Noel
Sea-birds are asleep, The world forgets to weep, Sea murmurs her soft slumber-song On the shadowy sand Of this elfin land; ‘I, the Mother mild, Hush thee, O my child, Forget the voices wild! Isles in elfin light Dream, the rocks and caves, Lulled by whispering waves, Veil their marbles bright, Foam glimmers faintly white Upon the shelly sand Of this elfin land; Sea-sound, like violins, To slumber woos and wins, I murmur my soft slumber-song. Leave woes, and wails, and sins, Ocean’s shadowy might Breathes good-night, Good-night!’
2. In Haven (Capri), by Alice Elgar
Closely let me hold thy hand, Storms are sweeping sea and land; Love alone will stand. Closely cling, for waves beat fast, Foam-flakes cloud the hurrying blast; Love alone will last. Kiss my lips, and softly say; ‘Joy, sea-swept, may fade to-day; Love alone will stay.’
3. Sabbath Morning at Sea, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The ship went on with solemn face; To meet the darkness on the deep. The solemn ship went onward, I bowed down weary in the place; For parting tears and present sleep Had weighed mine eyelids downward. The new sight, the new wondrous sight! The waters around me, turbulent, The skies, impassive o’er me, Calm in a moonless, sunless light, As glorified by even the intent Of holding the day glory! Love me, sweet friends, this sabbath day, The sea sings round me while ye roll Afar the hymn, unaltered, And kneel, where once I knelt to pray, And bless me deeper in your soul Because your voice has faltered. And though this sabbath comes to me Without the stoled minister, And chanting congregation. God’s Spirit shall give comfort. He Who brooded soft on waters drear Creator on creation. He shall assist me to look higher, Where keep the saints, with harp and song, An endless sabbath morning, And on that sea commixed with fire, Oft drop their eyelids raised too long To the full Godhead’s burning.
4. Where Corals Lie, by Richard Garnett
The deeps have music soft and low When winds awake the airy spry, It lures me, lures me on to go And see the land where corals lie. By mount and mead, by lawn and rill, When night is deep, and moon is high, That music seeks and finds me still, And tells me where the corals lie. Yes, press my eyelids close, ’tis well; But far the rapid fancies fly To rolling worlds of wave and shell, And all the lands where corals lie. Thy lips are like a sunset glow, Thy smile is like a morning sky, Yet leave me, leave me, let me go And see the land where corals lie.
5. The Swimmer, by Adam Lindsay Gordon
With short, sharp, violent lights made vivid, To southward far as the sight can roam, Only the swirl of the surges livid, The seas that climb and the surfs that comb. Only the crag and cliff to nor’ward, And the rocks receding, and reefs flung forward, Waifs wreck’d seaward and wasted shoreward, On shallows sheeted with flaming foam. A grim, grey coast and a seaboard ghastly, And shores trod seldom by feet of men – Where the batter’d hull and the broken mast lie, They have lain embedded these long years ten. Love! when we wandered here together, Hand in hand through the sparkling weather, From the heights and hollows of fern and heather, God surely loved us a little then. The skies were fairer and shores were firmer – The blue sea over the bright sand roll’d; Babble and prattle, and ripple and murmur, Sheen of silver and glamour of gold. So, girt with tempest and wing’d with thunder And clad with lightning and shod with sleet, And strong winds treading the swift waves under The flying rollers with frothy feet, One gleam like a bloodshot sword-blade swims on The sky line, staining the green gulf crimson, A death-stroke fiercely dealt by a dim sun That strikes through his stormy winding sheet. O, brave white horses! you gather and gallop, The storm sprite loosens the gusty reins; Now the stoutest ship were the frailest shallop In your hollow backs, on your high-arched manes. I would ride as never a man has ridden In your sleepy, swirling surges hidden; To gulfs foreshadow’d through strifes forbidden, Where no light wearies and no loves wanes.