NOTES ON SOLSTICE
Bonnie, Daniele, Diana, and Jeff,
I was thinking about Joe, and I wanted to share my thoughts about him with you and all of his friends here today.
I know that Joe loved clocks, art, and time. W.H. Auden said, “You cannot conquer time.”
But I think you can. Hamlet believe in 1602 that Caesar died and was turned to clay, and then became other elements. There was a precession of souls, the way planetary orbits precess, and shift. John Donne said in 1623: when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language. The composer John Adams called it “transmigration of souls.”
Today, June 21st, is the summer solstice, which to me is a time when this progression, the transition between seasons, between souls – the celestial clockwork, - is on our minds.
So this is a poem about the celestial gears which produce the migration which we call time. It’s a poem about Joe’s clocks.
Modern science believes in this transmigration of energy. Einstein discovered that particles are symmetrical, that they came in identical pairs. When one particle is hit, for instance, its twin particle reacts as if it were hit, even if it’s across the universe. Quantum mechanics calls this symmetry.
This has always reminded me of the way people who love each other become twinned, the way they finish each other’s sentences, have the same dreams, known what each other is thinking, and come to resemble their dogs.
Two people react as one because they actually are connected. There’s a grid of energy which is like a fishnet that underlies everything in the universe. Scientists believe this net predated the universe, so that when there was nothing, before the Big Bang, there was actually a grid, a spider web, a field, made up of very low-level energy, which suddenly coalesced into what we call matter, and in a few seconds the universe was inflated, like a raft. But the grid continues to lie beneath everything we see and touch. This secret energy field connects stars, and galaxies, and planets, and people.
Since we’re in the Frances Hodgson Burnett Memorial Garden, I’d like to say that there really is a secret garden.
In this secret garden, this hidden field, messages travel back and forth faster than the speed of light. So when we have premonitions or even memories, it’s because we are connected by that celestial garden. Thoughts come from inside our minds; but they also come from outside. This is the music of the spheres, the common harmonies that make planets hum and keep them in orbit.
So people can be in different places and even in different times, and still feel connected. And so I think that Joe is with all of us who knew him in more ways than we suspect, and that Joe will be with Bonnie forever. And with Daniele, Diana, and Jeff.
Lanikai, June 14th and 15th, 2014
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON SOLSTICE
I sent this poem to our friend Antón García Abril after he lost his wife Aurea a week before he was to come to Montana. He not only came, but presented Cathy and me with seven beautiful songs he had written for us and for Aurea. His son and daughter-in-law, Debora, and their team at Ensamble made a video for us using this poem as a text, and under it a gorgeous piano piece which Antón told us he wrote to convince Aurea to marry him. It worked, and it is her elegy on this beautiful film. So Solstice carries the memories of our past friends on its shoulders.