Sunday, May 01, 2011

A Commonplace Entry

Poetry for the First Day of May

First, "Nothing Gold Can Stay", a poem written by Robert Frost in 1923.  This eight-line poem was published in the Yale Review in October of that year. It was later published in the collection New Hampshire (1923) that earned Frost the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

and, from the Lerner and Loewe musical, Camelot. . .

Tra la! It's May! The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when everyone goes blissfully astray
Tra la! It's here! That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts merrily appear

It's May! It's May! That gorgeous holiday
When every maiden wishes her lad would be a cad

It's mad! It's gay! A libelous display
Those dreary vows that everyone takes, everyone breaks,
Everyone makes divine mistakes, the lusty month of May!

Whence this fragrance wafting through the air?
What sweet feelings does its scent transmute?
Whence this perfume floating everywhere?
Don't you know it's that dear forbidden fruit?
Tra la la la la! That dear forbidden fruit!

Tra la! It's May! The lusty month of May!
That darling month when everyone throws self-control away
It's time to do a wretched thing or two
And try to make each precious day one you'll always rue!

It's May! It's May! The month of "yes you may,"
The time for every frivolous whim, proper or im-

It's wild! It's gay! A blot in every way
The birds and bees with all of their vast
Amorous past* gaze at the human race aghast!
The lusty month of May!

--Music by Frederick Loewe, Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.  Their dynamic partnership is somewhat of a mystery as it is not clear as to why they would end their collaboration only to begin again (until The Little Prince, their last work together). After Brigadoon, their first major success, Loewe was heard telling his close friends that, as long as he lived, he would never work with Lerner again. But they did work together again, reaching the pinnacle of their partnership with My Fair Lady. Interestingly, they only got to work on the adaption of Pygmalion (play) (on which My Fair Lady is based) after Noel Coward and Rodgers and Hammerstein had passed it up. Again, for unknown reasons, their partnership grew frazzled as they were knee-deep in work with Camelot. After Camelot, Fritz Loewe retired and swore he would never write another note.

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