Sad songs

The news has me down.

I recognize many faces in that crowd.  The fellow in the middle in one-quarter view is Gaylon Powell, a good friend and a mainstay of Sacred Harp in Texas for decades.

God of my life, look gently down, 
Behold the pain I feel; 
But I am dumb before Thy throne, 
Nor dare dispute Thy will. 

 I’m but a sojourner below, 
As all my fathers were; 
May I be well prepared to go, 
When I the summons hear. 

But if my life be spared awhile, 
Before my last remove, 
Thy praise shall be my business still,
And I’ll declare Thy love.

                           --Isaac Watts, 1719


Grim said...

So turn it off, and sing instead. Just because the citizens of Boston will meekly submit to being prisoners in the face of this is no reason why you ought to do so. These two Chechens, and one dead, have no hold over you that you aren't giving them of your own free will.

Grim said...

The news has mostly made me angry, not sad. I keep reading about how the city told everyone to "shelter" today, and everyone is hiding in their homes, a whole city afraid of one 19-year-old. This is not a free people, not except by accident.

Texan99 said...

It's more West, Texas, than Boston. I'm pretty pleased about developments in Boston. Anyway, the song doesn't make me sad, it's just what I like to hear when I am sad--and to sing to it, too.

Absurdly, what got to me more than anything else about West was a woman on the phone to CNN whose dog had just been killed in front of her. I'm well defended against the pain of the loss of humans when they're strangers, but a story about a dog flies right under my radar and hits me where I'm defenseless. And of course she had to send her husband off to fight the fire (he survived), even though her house had just been utterly destroyed around her, because what else could he do at a time like that? She had taken refuge at her brother's house.

No, all I have to say about Boston is that it's too bad most homes in Watertown aren't better armed.

Grim said...

Yeah, I get that. I've got a dog. He's a good dog. May God put her in the way of another dog, one who needs a new home as much as she needs a dog to love.

Your lady and her husband sound like they are free, though. They have the heart for it.

Grim said...

You know, Tex, the first time you posted one of these I couldn't understand it at all. But this time I can hear the power of it. I'm not sure if it is a better sample, or if I am learning how to listen to it. It is an unusual form, but one that is growing on me.

douglas said...

I still don't understand why if they had a perimeter in Watertown, they needed to shut down the whole rest of the city. What's the logic in that? Inside the perimeter, I understand (mostly), in the interest of keeping free lines of fire.

Grim said...

I imagine the logic was that, if you place the entire city of Boston under house arrest, you'll free up lots of police officers who would otherwise spend the day writing citations at auto accidents, etc. So you could send a lot of extra hands to Watertown.

There's also the advantage of avoiding this kind of thing.

Texan99 said...

It's also just belt-and-suspenders. They thought the guy was inside that perimeter, but if he broke out of it, they wanted a clean field on which he'd stick out like a sore thumb. They also wanted a whole city agreeing to do almost nothing all day long but keep their eyes peeled for the little creep. And it worked. Which is what happens when you so outrage an entire city that they're willing to drop everything and cooperate wholeheartedly on the number one priority of putting you out of business. Not every criminal can inspire that kind of universal revulsion and determination.

Texan99 said...

PS, about the music: for most people it's like bagpipes, love or hate at first experience. The moment I first heard it I knew it had to be a part of my life.

This is a pretty clean performance, hardly anyone discordant or twangy, which perhaps makes it easier to access for the non-besotted. I sometimes listen to performances of shape-note songs by professional singers ("Word of Mouth Chorus" is easily sampled on the Net, probably on iTunes). It's easier to hear the detail of the harmony, but I don't like the overall effect as much. Just imagine hearing that booming home-grown performance from the middle of it.