Turtle (cooing) Doves

Musical voicing becomes movement of life as I voice Thoreau’s sounds.  I read that mysterious signature line from Walden‘s beginning:

I long ago lost a hound,

                                            a bay horse,

                                                                                       and a turtle dove.

 This has nothing to do with birds or dogs but with loss – everywhere and alwaysand with sounding that loss, baying it in the chase, the chase after (and of) life.

It’s about the musical breathing of words, letting them ride on an exhale and inhale.  So we should begin with breath as a sigh.  It’s the sigh that exceeds what is said, and the sigh of loss.

I long ago lost —   I long ago lost

ah Oh, ah ah Oh,  —  ah Oh, ah ah Oh

[the ‘ah’ is an uptake, the ‘Oh’, a release]

And try the same, breathing and listening to the rhythm of “. . . a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle dove.”

Sometimes we run down the trail after the disappearing hound when we should enjoy his bark, and bark back.


3 comments on “Turtle (cooing) Doves

  1. Ishmael says:

    Today I discovered a quotation that seems to wholehearted endorse your insistently upbeat approach to Thoreau – your always looking for the bright side of him despite the indubitable dark side that is also there:

    “The day is never so dark, nor the night even, but that the laws at least of light still prevail, and so may make it light in our minds if they are open to the truth. There is considerable danger that a man will be crazy between dinner and supper; but it will not directly answer any good purpose that I know of, and it is just as easy to be sane. …I never yet knew the sun to be knocked down and rolled through a mud-puddle; he comes out honor-bright from behind every storm. Let us then take sides with the sun, seeing we have so much leisure.” (Letter to H.G.O. Blake, December 19, 1854)

    No crowing allowed, Chanticleer!

  2. dmf says:

    nice, lots of response-abilities to be cultivated, to be carried away by


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