Frost and Thompson and Brandt and Wordle by Thomas Putnam
The NYT Wordle word the other day was “staid.” I mentioned on FB that I liked the word; it seems hopeful to me, even comforting. A person commented that it's in one of the songs that the Festival Chorus at MU is singing in a few weeks; lyrics a poem by Robert Frost with music by Randall Thompson. It's the last word in the last song of the song cycle called “Frostiana.”
The song is “Choose Something Like a Star” and it ends like this:
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.
It could very well be my imagination, but it seems like there is increasing incidence these days wherein the “mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far.” Public opinion seems to change direction as quickly as the climate-changed wind veers one way and then another way and then back again.
We're producing a play this September called Elephant's Graveyard by George Brandt. It is a disturbing play. It is a play wherein the “mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far.”
I saw a play at the Geva in Rochester last week about Russian manipulation of American social media in a recent election. Oh, my. It seems evident that our American mob was indeed, swayed.
Frost suggests we choose something like a star. Something steadfast. Something that can use language we can comprehend. This “something” does, indeed, ask a little of us here; we have some responsibility. But, oh to have something we can go to, depend upon; something “to stay our minds on and be staid.”
I hope we can dialogue about this in the coming months. I urge you to join me at the Festival Chorus Concert in late April at MU. I urge you to get tickets to see Elephant's Graveyard in September. I urge you to stop and chat about it when you see me on the street. Heck, I even urge you to play Wordle every morning. And I invite you to “choose something like a star.”