This morning on joy’s patio

We are given joy because we are given death. And heaven
will be its name until we arrive and know the true end of time.  – Sally Ito  (On Joy and Heaven, from Alert to Glory)


This morning on joy’s patio

It was not Joni Michell’s limpid lilt in “California,”
so unmistakable and transformational
as to turn any Parisian park into a Malibu beach,
and call us all to that endless coast of longing.

Nor was it Fleetwood Mac’s, “Never going back
again,” with its irresistible chop-and-change of hollow-
body-hop, and its spare lyrics toasting every minimalists
hope of staying above, after going down twice.

It was The Wailin’ Jennys’ cover of “Old Man”
that worked its way into my still uncaffeinated
vessels and lifted me above the blue park and patio
into this bright-backed September morning.

And it was the harmonies, woven rug-tight and riding
a weave into the crystal air, like some sun-spun Aladdin,
rubbing his ears in disbelief, of a genii who would grant
the scores of Terpsikhore to this gentle trio of folk.

And of course, it was also a reminder of the old man,
Neil Young, his song with its symphony of losses,
unveiling our seasons’ brief expressions, and so
exposing life’s solstices of joy.

For what could be more achingly clear on this day
through the choral strains and reedy revelation
of these blues-harp muses, than to know time’s beseeching
love, awaits our restful reception in her yearning arms.


  1. What a glorious tribute to the effects of the Jenny’s music…How true do their harmonies and thoughtful lyrics, in this song and their others, call up longings for what we cannot even name. Thank you for this joyous beginning to the day.

  2. Steve, I spent a full 1/2 hour trying to get the gist here (had to look up Terpsikhore). You make the words work hard! Beautiful. I like the Wailin’ Jennys’ version better.
    Erika and I watched the movie “Unfinished Song” on Friday. It’s about an old man finally taking a look at his life.

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