Do you like near night? That magic time where everything is ready for the next day and one can curl up with one’s cats, books, a lover….
In past years, Chris & I would cuddle on the front porch with small tumblers of bourbon and watch the day wind down. After the girls were born, I discovered that you could reverse the baby monitor and use it as a speaker to bring music to our evenings.
Robert Penn Warren knew those evenings. Despite living all over the US, Warren’s poetry and prose remained grounded in southern rhythms as familiar as pine trees and peaches……
Evening Hawk by Robert Penn Warren
From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.
The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.
Look! Look! he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense. The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.
If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.
southern night music: Out Tonight (from Rent); This could take all Night (Amanda Marshall, used in the movie Tin Cup — so much fun!); Angel Tonight (Leigh Nash); I’d really love to see you tonight (England Dan & John Ford Coley); Here Comes the Night (Van Morrison); Wild Night (love Mellencamp’s version so much, Me’shell Ndegéocello’s backing vocals are killer); In the Air Tonight (I know Phil Collins’ version is a little dated, but the a cappella group Naturally 7 has an awesome cover); Late in the Evening (Paul Simon — just the best kick back song); If I could be with you One Hour Tonight (Coleman Hawkins has a take on this that sizzles); In the Midnight Hour (there has to be Wilson Pickett); Turn on Billie (the Pierces — subversive girl rock, so cool!); The Night the Lights went out in Georgia (Vicki Lawrence, yeah really — although Reba has a cover of this amazingly cheesy classic); Help me Make it through the Night (Sammi Smith — same vein as Georgia); Bring on the Night (the Police); One Night of Sin (Corinne Bailey Rae — where is she now?); I Could Have Danced All Night (from My Fair Lady — did you twirl around your bedroom singing this as a teen in love?); There Stands the Glass (Patty Loveless needed a song in this playlist): Don’t Say Goodnight (Natalie Cole — love her voice, not crazy about the dead father duets): Are you lonesome tonight (Elvis); Get Down Tonight (KC & the Sunshine Band — I used to sneak into my big brother’s room & listen to this on his stereo): ‘Round Midnight (while ‘Trane is indisputably the best, check out Andy Summers’ cover); Need you Tonight (INXS — what?); Music (Joss Stone with Lauryn Hill — great combo) and In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening (I love Frankie’s version)
Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than is necessary –> JM Barrie