Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March On & Hallelujah

"March on, March on...

Alfred Eisenstaedt

... with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone.
No, you'll never walk alone."

This song, by Rogers and Hammerstein, just popped into my head... it came from nowhere, but I know better.

It came from the usual place... my subconscious, where my deepest thoughts and feelings reside until they're made transparent in the form of a song that's played again and again in my head, or hummed, or sung out loud. Apparently these issues need to simmer awhile, come to a boil, then burst into recognizable tunes.

Like the time my husband Michael and I had a huge argument, which thankfully doesn't happen often, and I caught myself singing,... "Mama, he treats your daughter mean... he's the meanest man I've ever seen."

"Is that all there is? If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing... let's break out the booze and have a ball... if that's all there is", which surfaces whenever routines become tiresome, as in, 'same old', 'same old'.

Or when problems lack solutions, and I'm subliminally made aware of the words... "let it be... let it be... there will be an answer... let it be", by The Beatles, or "Sha la la la la la live for today... and don't worry 'bout tomorrow", by The Grass Roots.

This happens all the time... life's dramas played out in song.

Crazy?... maybe, but true.

I first sang this Rogers & Hammerstein show tune in the choir, in front of an audience, led by our jr. high school music teacher, Mr. Cherry. I don't remember much about him except for his name that conjures up delightful images of ice cream sundaes with whipped cream and yes, cherries on top, and this song about facing adversity and finding the strength to carry on. Sung in 3 part harmony and built to a powerful crescendo, this compelling piece, when finished, left many sniffling and others sobbing in tears.

I like singing... to myself... and I'm pretty good at carrying a tune, which was once written as a comment on a report card by my elementary school teacher... to which my dad in his usual wit, replied... "But where does she carry it to?"

Which brings up a good point. Why exactly am I carrying this tune?

Perhaps it's the weather, cold and gray, and now torrential rain that has me indoors far too long and in need of encouragement.

Or maybe it's the words to the song, "March on", the name of this month, and the necessity to forge ahead with another idea for another new post.

But, as usual, I've messed up the words. "March on" should really be..."Walk on".

I may like to sing, but I'm rubbish with lyrics.

Michael, with his vast knowledge of things, noticed my mistake and 'Google' confirmed it. Here are the actual words to "You'll Never Walk Alone" and its message of perseverance.

Joseph Szymanski

"When you walk through a storm hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never, ever walk alone."

George Brassai

And speaking of perseverance...

This month marks the one year anniversary of 'HERE and NEXT', my blog, started on March 28, 2012!

It's a real accomplishment for me, an Aries, who's great at starting projects, but lousy on endurance and finishing things. I can't believe I actually wrote and completed '20' posts! Wow! All I can say is... HALLELUJAH!!!

..."It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah"

From the song "Hallelujah", by Leonard Cohen

"It's a song about total surrender and total affirmation", Cohen said, and added, "The world is full of conflicts and full of things that can not be reconciled, but there are moments when we can transcend the dualistic system and reconcile, and embrace the whole mess, and that's what I mean by Hallelujah. That regardless of what the impossibility of the situation, there is a moment when you open your mouth and you throw open your arms and you embrace the thing and you just say... Hallelujah!"

I recently ran my own marathon with Leonard Cohen. For days I played nothing but his music on CD, watched his 'Live in London" performance and "I'm Your Man" on DVD, as well as read two books about his life and music, "I'm Your Man:The Life of Leonard Cohen", by Sylvie Simmons and "The Holy or The Broken", by Alan Light.

When you're indoors, being strongly affected by weather and other moody circumstances, there's nothing better than having a comrade in 'solemnness' at your side.

Leonard Cohen

When once asked by Bob Dylan how long it took to write "Hallelujah", Leonard replied, "A couple of years", too embarrassed to give an answer that was closer to 5 years and enough verses to fill 80 notebooks. "I remember being in the Royalton Hotel, in New York, on the carpet in my underwear, banging my head on the floor and saying, I can't finish this song." "My trouble is that before I can discard a verse, I have to write it. I have to work on it and I have to polish it and bring it as close to finished as I can. It's only then that I can discard it."

Talk about perseverance! Thankfully, my posts, even with all the editing, could never take that kind of time or this blog would never have been started.

So now having just completed my '21st' post... with open arms I embrace these seemingly endless gray days, surrender, and simply say..."Hallelujah!"

Do you have a favorite song?... or one you find yourself singing again and again?

Have you ever had a life experience made memorable by a song... maybe your first love, a favorite place, a special event?

I'd love to hear about it.

To hear "When You Walk Alone", by John Barrowman of the BBC sci-fi series Torchwood go here.

There are many covers of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Take your pick.

Leonard Cohen's version here.

Jeff Buckley's version here.

K.D. Lang's version here.

Rufus Wainwright's version here.

John Cale's version here.

Happy Anniversary to me... Happy Anniversary to me
Happy Anniversary, Dear 'HERE and NEXT'... Happy Anniversary to me!

And thanks to all of you who faithfully read and hopefully enjoy this blog.



  1. Bravo Dyan on your one-year anniversary and your excellent, thought-provoking posts.

    1. Thanks Carol for your kind words and for continuing to read my blog.
      The real test will be if 'HERE and NEXT' gets a two-year anniversary!

  2. Congrats on the first anniversary of Here and Next.
    The blog has become a monthly tribute to thoughtfulness, play, and spirit. It's no wonder that "Hallelujah" would be an expression and focus for reflection. For me, it points to something absolute, similar to a religious experience. Either you have it or you don't. There isn't something that is disputable. It isn't so much the music which seems to be a witness to what is going on inside but more the poetry/words that resonate.
    There have been times when I've made a new resolve or mapped out some new direction. Like the voice of nature herself, something I would read, or hear, seemed to be a "personal address" or flash of light on my inner radar. At times it acts like a mirror moment, encapsulating the drama. The old Rodgers and Hammerstein "Climb Every Mountain" can well up spontaneously, as can the Buffalo Springfield rendition of "Sad Memory".

    1. Hey Joe

      Thanks for the congrats on the first anniversary of 'HERE and NEXT' and for being such a great contributor!

      I definitely agree with you that good lyrics are often like poems whose words resonate and mirror what we are feeling. Unfortunately, I'm more of a 'beat' girl. The rhythm of the music moves me long before the lyrics.

      I just searched You Tube to hear "Sad Memory", by Buffalo Springfield, which I never heard before now. I also checked out the lyrics... "Did you ever love a girl, who walked out on you? You should know just how I feel then, why I'm so blue." I can see how this song would connect with many people in the same situation.

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. Congratulations on 21 thought provoking, funny, clever and visually rich posts!!! When I read that it has been one year, it caught me by surprise. Could it be one year already?
    I love the inspiring lyrics to “Walk On”. I remember hearing the song performed in “Man of Lamancha” in New York when I was in college. It gave me a lump in my throat.
    “Hallelujah”….what a song! Have you ever fallen in love with a song the first time you heard it? “H” was that song for me. I heard k.d. lang perform it on GMA years ago. I went out either that day or the next to buy it. I must confess that I didn’t really understand the meaning of the lyrics but the tune and the way she sang it just grabbed me. I have heard many people perform it but to me, nobody sings it like k.d. lang. She performed it during the opening ceremonies for the Canadian winter Olympics years ago, dressed in all white, standing on top of a high platform. It was stunningly beautiful.
    I have fond memories of my mom singing a song for whatever topic we were talking about. It seemed she knew a song for every topic or situation. She loved to sing and could harmonize any tune. When we were kids, after dinner my mom would wash the dishes and my sister and I would dry. We sang songs as we worked. Stacey and I would sing the melody and Mom would harmonize. She also taught us some funny songs which I passed along singing to my own kids.
    I used to sing about 3 songs to my kids when I put them to bed at night. Believe it or not, my son was almost in 9th grade before he quit requesting a song. One of his favorites was “Edelweiss” which we danced to for the Mother/Son dance at his wedding. He let me choose the song. I didn’t tell him what it was. I found a beautiful instrumental (violin) version of it. It was a special moment for both of us.

    1. Wow... thanks for all the compliments Bevo!

      What fun... a chorus in the kitchen... mother and daughters harmonizing to music while doing dishes! What other boring chores did you turn into amusement? From your stories, growing up in your house was a blast. Interestingly, you've kept many of these childhood experiences and passed them onto your own children. Who knows... some of these rituals may one day be passed onto your children's children. 'Sweet'

      Regarding Hallelujah... I too had a similar 'rush to buy' experience. Michael and I were driving in the van casually listening to the radio when this piece was played. When the song was over we listened intently to find out who did the recording. The next day we went to Best Buy and picked up Jeff Buckley's CD called 'Grace' with Hallelujah as one of the 10 songs on the disc. Before that, we had never heard of Jeff Buckley. This was definitely an instant 'fall in love with a piece of music' moment.

      I love your stories and now others can enjoy them too. Thanks!