Sunday, June 21, 2009

There is no forgiveness when you ruin a child

Our first poetry score, Crossing America by Leo Connellan, includes one of the finest son's cries of pain to a father in poetry.

It comes late in the poem, in sections 26 and 27 of his epic, 29-piece poem. Here they are, followed by the musical interlude Lij and I imagined and recorded (by The Gateway Brass Quintet) to come after it in the flow of the score.

Free mp3s
"Crossing America XXVI and XXVII"
(Leo Connellan)
Leo Connellan

"Proudly on everybody's lips"
(John Philip Sousa)
(arr. Battles/Holcombe)
The Gateway Brass Quintet

We went for a John Philip Sousa march that has the bright, bouncy flavor of a college football brass band. The intention was ironic, given that Leo remembers in excruciating (and amusing) detail his father's disappointment that the boy was showing interest in poetry, rather than athletics.

Yet, this movement of the poem ends on a note of triumph, with Leo imagining his father's pride in his achievements as a poet, "with his last name proudly on everybody's lips," so Lij and I liked the bright, confetti-colored brass chords of the Sousa march jumping in just after this line of Leo's.

Still, nothing can undo the raw pain of the poetry here.

There is no forgiveness when you ruin a child
Not even if the child forgives you.
Happy Father's Day!


Photo of Leo courtesy of his widow, Nancy Connellan.

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