Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Poetry Corner: John R. Cash

Who? I hear you ask

Monday and Tuesday, Tadpole had a retreat together with his school orchestra and the orchestras from four other schools, in order to prepare for a big concert Wednesday evening at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The retreat was a success, and the resulting concert was fantastic. The students played in various subgroups, including the Honors Orchestra, students who have distinguished themselves by playing in the All-State Orchestra, or the Albuquerque Youth Symphony, or other special accomplishments – since Tadpole was in All-State, he was in the Honors Orchestra. The finale of the concert was all 119 student musicians on stage together, playing Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Suite. The whole evening was made even more special by having as a guest conductor a music professor from Weber State University who said he had found his experiences with these young musicians to be especially rewarding.

The typical attire for students at such a concert, when they come from backgrounds where their families don’t always have much money for clothes, is fairly simple. Usually it’s black pants or skirt, with a white shirt or blouse. Shoes should also be black.

Last year, somehow, there was some sort of communications glitch, and Tadpole ended up wearing not just black shoes and pants but also a black shirt. That did make him stand out a bit, since everybody else was wearing a white shirt or blouse. This year, he continued to wear black, and so did several of the other students in the orchestra – apparently all-black was an officially permitted option this time around.

After the concert, I asked Tadpole whether he was wearing black because he is a New Zealand fan or a Johnny Cash fan, and he said, “A little of both.” Well, since my boat is named for the New Zealand America’s Cup yacht, he has to favor New Zealand. But I suspect he’s more in tune with the Man In Black, who explained his attire as a response to the social injustice he observed. Thanks to for the lyrics.

Why I Wear Black
Johnny Cash

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

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