A Once and Future Ode
Beautiful music, especially music profound in its simplicity, the kind that echoes through one’s heart and resounds in one’s soul while playing with one’s mind can be so complex and ironic at the same time.
In this instance I’m thinking of the plaintive slave’s song adopted as the battle anthem of the Confederacy, ironic in and of itself but perhaps not as ironic as the fact that it is now so despised by African Americans and most liberals.
It’s a hymn I love and can’t really tell why. Played quickly it stirs the blood while played slowly it tugs at heartstrings. It reminds me of my youth, of a very different time now long gone, a time of possibilities balanced in the crux of the past, the present and the future, a time when anything and everything seemed possible and all possible results seemed positive. A time that seems so distant now.
I wonder if by some miracle that hymn could somehow unite us as it once somehow divided us. Its magical strains tell me that it’s so. A hymn which in its beautiful simplicity and complex tapestries might help us weave a brighter, fairer future. Wouldn’t that be something?
I wish I were in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten, look away, look away, look away, Dixieland.
 © Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2011; all rights reserved