Monday, October 11, 2010

Pleasures of the Harbor




It is my month of contemplation, the one where everything that gets done gets done inside of me. Octobers have passed me through the looking glass of remembrance for some years now. During the course of this October I will mark, on different days, my 25th year of sobriety and also the tenth year since my mother's death. I have decided to let spill out what will spill, in the sense of posting things that in some way signify aspects/realities/feelings/memories of one or both events for me personally.

Both are represented in the song below. My mother always said she wanted her grave marker to say simply, She Lived. Then she decided she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes scattered in the ocean. My husband and I did the scattering from a whale-watching boat and afterward we tossed in a beautiful large wreath my sister ordered with a ribbon entwined in it that read: She lived. We watched it bob and dip until it was out of sight, the sole and fleeting splash of color on a slate gray, stormy November sea.

And I have, in a sense, lived two lives: the one prior to and the one now in sobriety. I have a few regrets regarding the former and much gratitude for the latter.
 


Pleasures of the Harbor, sung by Glenn Yarborough  (whose voice is musical poetry)


Pleasures of the Harbor  ~ by Phil Ochs
(full lyrics -- not all sung in the Yarborough version above)
  
And the ship sets the sail
They've lived the tale
To carry to the shore
Straining at the oars
Or staring from the rail

And the sea bids farewell
She waves in swells
And sends them on their way
Time has been her pay
And time will have to tell

Oh, soon your
Sailing will be over
Come and take
The pleasures of the harbor

And the anchor hits the sand
The hungry hands
Have tied them to the port
The hour will be short
For leisure on the land

And the girls scent the air
They seem so fair
With paint on their face
Soft is their embrace
To lead them up the stairs

Soon your
Sailing will be over
Come and take
The pleasures of the harbor

In the room dark and dim
Touch of skin
He asks her of her name
She answers with no shame
And not a sense of sin

'Til the fingers draw the blinds
Sip of wine
The cigarette of doubt
The candle is blown out
The darkness is so kind

Oh, soon your
Sailing will be over
Come and take
The pleasures of the harbor

And the shadows frame the light
Same old sight
Thrill has blown away
Now all alone they lay
Two strangers in the night

Till his heart skips a beat
He's on his feet
To shipmates he must join
She's counting up the coins
He's swallowed by the street

Oh, soon your
Sailing will be over
Come and take
The pleasures of the harbor

In the bar hangs a cloud
The whiskey's loud
There's laughter in their eyes
The lonely in disguise
Are clinging to the crowd

And the bottle fills the glass
The haze is fast
He's trembling for the taste
Of passion gone to waste
In memories of the past

Oh, soon your
Sailing will be over
Come and take
The pleasures of the harbor

In the alley, red with rain
Cry of pain
For love was but a smile
Teasing all the while
Now dancing down the drain

'Til the boys reach the dock
They gently mock
And lift him on their backs
Lay him on his rack
And leave beneath the light

Oh, soon your
Sailing will be over
Come and take
The pleasures of the harbor

And the ship sets the sail
They've lived the tale
To carry from the shore
Straining at the oars
Or staring from the rail

And the sea bids farewell
She waves in swells
And sends them on their way
Time has been her pay
And time will have to tell

Oh, soon your
Sailing will be over
Come and take
The pleasures of the harbor


.

10 comments:

Looking to the Stars said...

What a beautiful post and what a beautiful way you did your mother's ashes.

You and I are kindred spirits. I too, have had 2 lives and have been thinking of sharing. Tho mine was differant, it was due to amensia.

I loved your post, it touched me deeply :)
take care

madamebutterfly said...

A lovely post Lydia.

I haven't heard this song before its very moving.

YogaforCynics said...

Between here and your posting "There But For Fortune" on Facebook (at least I think that was you), you've inspired me to break out my Phil Ochs...not that it would interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends...

Owen said...

You are a remarkable person I think, have clearly come a long, long way, and can hold your head high...

All best wishes, it is always a pleasure to drop in here and see what you've been composing, however hard the subject matter, what comes across is warm and caring... a near total stranger can stop by, contemplate a moment, and go away again with glowing heart...

La Belette Rouge said...

I wonder if a life without regret is a life fully lived. I so admire you for your rebirth. Dying to our old ways can be so hard. You did it. So much to be proud of.
As always, I am so touched by your love for your mother. Hugs to you, lovely you.xoxo

Lydia said...

Looking to the Stars~ I thought about your comment many times today after reading it early. You have a mysterious treasure of a personal story, and I sure hope you do share it if/when the time feels right for you. Your camaraderie feels special and I thank you.

madamebutterfly~ Thank you. I like the song too and think it is better appreciated with a little aging than when it was new. :)

YogaforCynics~ Yes I posted the other song on my FB and saw your "like" indicator. I guess we are a relatively small (global) band of friends who still remember and love his music.

Owen~ Your comments brought a tear...and still more gratitude. Cannot imagine my life without special near total strangers like you; really, that is true!

Belette Rouge~ Love your first sentence. It is a deep thought that I'll think about lots this month, I can tell that already. Thank you for your dear comments.

Melinda said...

It sounds like October is a profound month for you, Lydia. Huge congratulations on 25 years of recovery--what a remarkable feat that is, in and of itself--and my throughts and healing energy are sent in contemplation of the tenth anniversary of your mother's passing. October, it seems has been a month of immense change for you, so it is not surprising you find that a month for contemplation. January happens to be that month for me, since it was then that I entered recovery, lost my husband, and found my new one. It all goes round in circles, though, doesn't it?

Take care, my friend--

Melinda

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Your text is always powerful and inspiring. Needless to say about the poems which are always carefully selected.

Nancy said...

The picture of the wreath was very moving. I'm sure she appreciated your gesture of love. My father is in Mountain View Cemetery. He's with three generations of our family, all in the same area. Sometimes I find that very comforting, despite the fact that I really don't think of my parents actually being there.

Lydia said...

Melinda~ Yes, round in circles it does go. :) I so appreciate your comments of pure understanding. xo

Phivos~ Your comments are always so kind. They make my days happy. :)

Nancy~ Thanks for being here. Wow, three generations of your family all at Mountain View. That is quite a legacy. You have deeper ties to Reno than I do. Only one family member of mine is buried there, in an unmarked grave. He was the stillborn baby of an unmarried relative who stayed with my mother at the later stages of her pregnancy. It was before I was born. But I think of the little guy anyway, from time to time.

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