Alto Saxophone, Violoncello, and Piano. (2013) 9’30”
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Seamus Heaney’s poem, “Out of this World,” is dedicated to
the memory of the Polish poet, Czesław Miłosz, who in his long life, experienced the devastation of Eastern Europe through two World Wars and Communist rule. In this poem, Heaney contemplates the enduring nature of sacred symbols:
- Like everybody else I bowed my head
- during the consecration of the bread and wine,
- lifted my eyes to the raised host and chalice,
- believed (whatever it means) that a change occurred.
- I went to the altar rails and received the mystery
- on my tongue, returned to my place, shut my eyes fast, made
- an act of thanksgiving, opened my eyes, and felt
- time start up again.
- . . . . . . . . . . . . . I cannot
- disavow words like “thanksgiving” or “host”
- or “communion bread.” They have an undying
- tremor and draw, like well water far down.
This is not about being Catholic, but about sacred mystery embodied in symbols, powerful symbols such as the cross, im- ages of birth and death, mother, father – music. The experience is innocent in the sense of being without cynicism or irony, of being fully open and immediately present to the full power of the deep unknown.