Online Anthology of Lyrical Audio Poetry in Modern English, recorded by Walter Rufus Eagles ad majorem Dei gloriam
A personal literature and art website

Midi Sequence by permission John Sankey, at
William Byrd [1542?-1623]: In Nomine [MB51] [2:52]
Keyboard music from the Age of Shakespeare
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Poetry - The Other Side of Music

I love a few special things, among them, and in no particular order: my wife and family, both nuclear and extended, several good friends, the Divine Creator/Creatrix, music, and literature, especially English language poetry, though I must not omit certain classical Chinese poets, among them Li Po, Tu Fu and Wang Wei --all three in English translation, sadly. (I am married, with a grown daughter and two grown sons. My youngest son David, also a poet, reads some Chinese, but I never studied it.) One poem from Li Po is especially important to me, as it was to J.D. Salinger:

On the Mountain of Boiled Rice I met Tu Fu
Wearing a straw hat in the hot midday.
"Friend, why have you grown so pale?" I asked.
"Is it because you suffer from poetry?

I am afraid I have to admit that I do "suffer from poetry" and have since I was twenty one and first realized my vocation, at the Marine Corps Supply Depot in Barstow, California after reading T.S. Eliot's poetry, first in the base library and then in solitude, in the Mojave Desert. {That was in 1955. In August 2004, I will be 70 years old ("three score and ten").  As a poet, I have never been published except in college quarterlies, and probably never will, since I have not sought that venue.  However, thanks to the fulfillment of a lifelong dream concerning the publishing of audio poetry (the creation of this website and subsequent recording of one of the largest audio anthologies to be heard on the web), the best of my work can now be heard in my own voice in sixty six countries.   I thank God that I have lived to hear this opportunity come to fruition. -- addendum 2003}

Music - The Other Side of Poetry

I find delight listening to a portable CD or tape recorder under headphones, and it is wonderful to be on a lawn somewhere or by a group playing sport, with your own private world of inner musical sensation, but with a necessarily different set of visual stimuli. First, there's the solitude of it. No one can hear your music, so you don't need to be concerned about personal interaction, either positive or negative. Thus it is only your own inner censor you need silence in the usual literary "suspension of disbelief" in order to approach the experience fresh, without bias, at least of the social kind.

As an example, once I took my oldest granddaughter to baseball practice. (Imagine a ballet student at seven, the only girl among a group of boys, flinging a ball with something like consummate grace and poise, from a probably numbered ballet position; and I must credit the boys with tolerance of such a disparate set of associations: there was no teasing of her being, first a girl, and then balletic in stance and movement.) While I was watching her practice, I listened under the headphones to pianist Murray Perahia playing the inexhaustibly listenable Schubert Impromptus, op. 90 and op. 142, with the Walkman tape player strapped to my belt, first seated cross-legged on the grass and then standing and slowly pacing about once the legs got cramped. It was late on a sunny afternoon, the light coming aslant and casting long shadows from the otherwise diminutive players.

The school is near the top of a group of foothills, so there is, on the large flat lawn of the athletic field, a vista lacking only fog and foreign architecture to persuade one that one is, in a much-reduced scale and with considerably more oxygen, at Machu Pichu in the Golden Age of Andean time. And inside the center of the brain a listening vantage from which Schubert's romantic music magically issues. I feel, as I watch the children play, that I am exactly where I both desire to be and ought to be at that moment, a happy confluence of duty, love, and aesthetics. And I thank "whatever gods may be" as Henley said, for Schubert's unconquerable music, strong against time and the changing fashions that follow in its train: fresh, original, and playing at that moment in counterpoise against this specific visual panorama and received by my senses and brain, as Gerard Manley Hopkins said, like everything "counter, original, spare, strange...He fathers forth whose beauty is past change. Praise Him." Indeed.  And Amen.

Copyright Walter Rufus Eagles 1996, 2003

Click on image to see a series of action photos of Mahra in a paper-ball game.