Like Janus, the Roman god with two faces, each year we pause to look to the past, to honor the lives of those who labored and sacrificed for freedom, even as we dream of a future when we will live without war. The song that came to my mind immediately is “Bang The Drum Slowly” written by Emmylou Harris with Guy Clark. It’s an autobiographical song she wrote about her father, who was a veteran, but anyone who has ever lost someone dear and had things left unsaid, questions left unasked, will own a piece of it. Here, in Emmylou’s own words:
This is an elegy for my father, who died in '93. A couple of years afterward I was talking to (songwriter) Jamie O'Hara and said, "You know, I just feel the need to write about my dad. But I can't even get started. I have so many regrets because there are so many things that I could have learned from him that I didn't. Jamie said, "Just write that." I took the song to Guy Clark and he really helped me with the lyrics and inspired me to write more. Everything in the song is true. That's why it was so hard to write – I couldn't go into the realm of fiction or poetry. It all had to be true.
The YouTube video of “Bang The Drum Slowly” was posted by a family in honor of their father – A Tribute to Arthur Monroe Marshall Sr. – a family man, and a veteran. I don’t know any of these people, but it’s obvious they are a beautiful, close-knit and loving family. I think it’s really moving that they celebrated his life in this way – and generously posted it on YouTube and shared it with the world.
I’m also including a link to the lyrics to this song. I’m a dedicated Emmylou fan, but will be the first to admit that her diction isn’t always the best, so the words are HERE if you want them.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons Video by YT member MarshallSteele The song “Bang the Drum Slowly” is on the album Red Dirt Girl.
The Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) is a lyric poem by the respected Indian poet, Kālidāsa. The poem centers around a yaksa in exile. Longing for his beloved, waiting for him on a Himalayan mountain, he asks a cloud to take a message to her. The sights he tells the cloud it will see on its way make up most of the poem.
The idea of recording observations appeals to me. I thought The Cloud Messenger was the perfect title for a blog about the journey that we all make as we move through our days.
I'm a baby boomer who grew up dancing in the streets of Detroit during the classic Motown years, lived beside the Rocky Mountains for many years, now retired and living (and writing full time) in S. Ontario. I have one blog for rock 'n' roll oldies, and one for nature, poetry and life along the Lake.