Friday, July 27, 2007

Natalie Merchant - Verdi Cries

Years ago, Gadabout wrote his epitaph , and I will share it with you today:

Below sleeps a man

He loved
He lived
He served

In success he knelt
In failure he rose
He fought and he felt
Promises he kept
And he often wept
Never to forget
That Goodness triumphs

I have read those words in public only twice. The first time was for a fallen friend, Nick, at his memorial service. The second was during my father’s eulogy after he was killed. Dad died three weeks before I completed my final overseas deployment while on active duty. Both died flying. Gadabout respects all who fly.

I wrote these words not as a testimony for my life. Quite the contrary, I wrote them as a template for my yet unfinished work that lies ahead. This is Gadabout’s challenge; to live up to these few simple lines of poetry. I read them for both because they both deserved those words. I am still on my quest.

Before my time does come, I would like to make a request from whoever is still around: please play Verdi Cries at my wake, if I lived up to the promises penned above. You must agree that Natalie Merchant is on her game here, and I want this touch in the end.

If you are a tenacious Gadabout reader, then you might have noticed his trademark photo of him knelling before a gravestone. If you were observant, you would have noticed that his name was inscribed upon that stone. This finding rocked Gadabout, and reminded him once again of the limits placed upon our lives from the Master of Mystery. Gadabout’s girlfriend reluctantly took the picture.

Remember, we are all just actors, playing a bit part in a high-budget, limited engagement film. Make the best of it. After our final appearance, Verdi cries only once and then the show moves along.

Verdi Cries

The man in 119 takes his tea alone. Mornings we all rise to wireless Verdi cries. I'm hearing opera through the door. The souls of men and women, impassioned all. Their voices climb and fall; battle trumpets call. I fill the bath and climb inside, singing.

He will not touch their pastry, but every day they bring him more. Gold from the breakfast tray, I steal them all away and then go and eat them on the shore. I draw a jackal-headed woman in the sand, sing of a lover's fate, sealed by jealous hate then wash my hand in the sea. With just three days more I'd have just about learned the entire score to Aida.

Holidays must end as you know. All is memory taken home with me: the opera, the stolen tea, the sand drawing, the verging sea, all years ago.

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