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BS: The saddest read of all

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Skipjack 10 Dec 99 - 10:01 AM
Ringer 10 Dec 99 - 10:06 AM
Steve Latimer 10 Dec 99 - 10:12 AM
catspaw49 10 Dec 99 - 10:21 AM
Peter T. 10 Dec 99 - 11:30 AM
Peter T. 10 Dec 99 - 11:38 AM
Liz the Squeak 10 Dec 99 - 12:45 PM
Liz the Squeak 10 Dec 99 - 12:46 PM
Mary in Kentucky 10 Dec 99 - 01:26 PM
kendall 10 Dec 99 - 01:45 PM
bob schwarer 10 Dec 99 - 01:55 PM
InOBU 10 Dec 99 - 02:01 PM
sophocleese 10 Dec 99 - 02:03 PM
dutchiev 10 Dec 99 - 02:15 PM
KathWestra 10 Dec 99 - 02:54 PM
Peter T. 10 Dec 99 - 03:58 PM
Micca 10 Dec 99 - 04:00 PM
Willie-O 10 Dec 99 - 04:05 PM
kendall 10 Dec 99 - 04:50 PM
Skipjack 10 Dec 99 - 04:56 PM
Mark Clark 10 Dec 99 - 08:20 PM
katlaughing 10 Dec 99 - 08:33 PM
katlaughing 10 Dec 99 - 08:39 PM
Jon Freeman 10 Dec 99 - 08:54 PM
Little Neophyte 10 Dec 99 - 11:08 PM
katlaughing 11 Dec 99 - 12:04 AM
Little Neophyte 11 Dec 99 - 12:15 AM
Metchosin 11 Dec 99 - 12:52 AM
bobby's girl 11 Dec 99 - 06:45 PM
Art Thieme 11 Dec 99 - 08:12 PM
Mary G 11 Dec 99 - 09:49 PM
DonMeixner 12 Dec 99 - 01:16 AM
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Subject: The saddest read of all
From: Skipjack
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 10:01 AM

In the vein of the saddest song of all, the saddest read. This beauty, called Mehalah, was written by the then vicar of West Mersea, Sabine Baring Gould, last century. He is better known for penning Onward Christian Soldiers, but this is described as Victorian Melodrama, and, boy, is the final furlong devastating. I grew up amidst these same marshes, so I declare my bias now.

It has been scanned in (including the odd howler) and is collectable @

http://www.humboldt1.com/ar/literary/meh1.htm

That'll only give you Chapter 1, of which a taster below, so you need to hit in meh2.htm and so on.

Film makers need not apply. I don't want my marshes buggerred up with hordes of luvvies.

Enjoy

"Between the mouths of the Blackwater and the Colne, on the east coast of Essex, lies an extensive marshy tract veined and freckled in every part with water. At high tide the appearance is that of a vast surface of Sargasso weed floating on the sea, with rents and patches of shining water traversing and dappling it in all directions.

The creeks, some of considerable length and breadth, extend many miles inland, and are arteries whence branches out a fibrous tissue of smaller channels, flushed with water twice in the twenty four hours. At noontide, and especially at the equinoxes, the sea asserts its royalty over this vast region, and overflows the whole, leaving standing out of the flood only the long island of Mersea, and the lesser islet, called the Ray. This latter is a hill of gravel rising from the heart of the marshes, crowned with ancient thorntrees, and possessing, what is denied the mainland, an unfailing spring of purest water. At ebb, the Ray can only be reached from the old Roman causeway, called the Strood, over which runs the road from Colchester to Mersea Isle, connecting formerly the city of the Trinobantes with the station of the count of the Saxon shore. But even at ebb, the Ray is not approachable by land unless the sun or east wind has parched the ooze into brick; and then the way is long, tedious and tortuous, among bitter pools and over shining creeks. It was perhaps because this ridge of high ground was so inaccessible, so well protected by nature, that the ancient inhabitants had erected on it a rath, or fortified camp of wooden logs, which left its name to the place long after the timber defences had rotted away.

A more desolate region can scarce be conceived, and yet it is not without beauty. In summer, the thrift mantles the marshes with shot satin, passing through all gradations of tint from maiden's blush to lily white. Thereafter a purple glow steals over the waste, as the sea lavender bursts into flower, and simultaneously every creek and pool is royally fringed with sea aster. A little later the glass-wort, that shot up green and transparent as emerald glass in the early spring, turns to every tinge of carmine.

When all vegetation ceases to live, and goes to sleep, the marshes are alive and wakeful with countless wild fowl. At all times they are haunted with sea mews and roysten crows. In winter they teem with wild duck and grey geese. The stately heron loves to wade in the pools, occasionally the whooper swan sounds his loud trumpet, and flashes a white reflection in the still blue waters of the fleets. The plaintive pipe of the curlew is familiar to those who frequent these marshes, and the barking of the Brent geese as they return from their northern breeding places is heard in November.

At the close of the eighteenth century there stood on the Ray a small farmhouse built of tarred wreckage timber, and roofed with red pan-tiles. The twisted thorntrees about if afforded some, but slight, shelter. Under the little cliff of gravel was a good beach, termed a 'hard'...........


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Ringer
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 10:06 AM

Baring-Gould, of course, was also an early folk collector. I believe he lacked Cecil Sharp's musical abilities & struggled mightily when noting the tunes.

I have a copy of this book, tho' it's about 30 years since I read it.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 10:12 AM

I found Angela's Ashes to be pretty darn sad, but hilarious at the same time.

Has anyone read 'Tis yet? I haven't and I'm getting mixed reviews.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 10:21 AM

Gee Skipjack...Peter T. described a similar "Thought for the Day" awhile back, only in his marsh he has a heron that he dresses to look like Waylon Jennings. I think he has a Willie Nelson outfit he could loan your heron and make the story a lot more entertaining.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 11:30 AM

My heron is not stately, so probably the costume wouldn't fit.
Hmm. The last lines of The Sun Also Rises are about the saddest lines I know in a novel, though there is something about Gatsby in The Great Gatsby that is terribly moving. It may be that the saddest writings are saddest mixed in with comedy -- Angela's Ashes does that, as Steve says. They sort of open up a deeper vein of human experience than just a standard weepie. As far as plays go, Twelfth Night seems to me to have moments of terrible sadness -- Andrew Aguecheek, a bumbling fool, suddenly out of nowhere in the middle of a party says: "I was loved once". And he is transformed. There is a kind of grief of loss in Twelfth Night that cannot be completely reconciled at the end: it is just life.
The saddest moment in the theatre I think must be the scene in Madam Butterfly when she and Cho-cho san are preparing the house for the return of Pinkerton, and they sit and wait like little mice through the night to surprise him when he arrives (which he doesn't). I have often seen audiences weeping uncontrollably at this quiet scene, while the rest of the opera leaves them unmoved.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 11:38 AM

Sorry: the maidservant and Cio-Cio San....


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 12:45 PM

My unemployment card....

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 12:46 PM

Shortly followed by my C.V..

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 01:26 PM

Peter, I love this scene where Cio-Cio San, and Suzuki, and also Trouble (the child) wait during the night and the beautiful humming chorus is heard. Andrew Lloyd Webber recognized a real show-stopping tune when he used this for "Bring Him Home," another real sad one.

Mary


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: kendall
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 01:45 PM

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.
My second book, which is still in the word processor unfinished.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: bob schwarer
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 01:55 PM

Eugene Field's "Little Boy Blue"

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: InOBU
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 02:01 PM

The saddest read of all, is the Uilleann Pipe reed. Made of Spanish reed, the reedmaker spends a lifetime trying to perfect her or his ability to make the wee thing, only, if you actually get it right, to have the little bastard fail you in the middle of a concert, at the time most likely to look like you are a complete incompetant. Wether made with the finist tools - as is the case with Seth Galagher, or a box cutter and bear bottle, as Paddy Keenan does, there is no sadder read that the Uilleann Pipe reed. Larry Otway


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: sophocleese
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 02:03 PM

When I was a child we had two books by an author I've forgotten called Nobody's Boy and Nobody's Girl. They disappeared from the house when I was 12 and I haven't seen them since, I remembering weeping a lot while reading them. I have no idea if I'd find them remotely interesting now.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: dutchiev
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 02:15 PM

The saddest read for me has to be Hemmingway's FAREWELL TO ARMS. I did cry alot when I read Black Beauty but I think I am beyond that now. *s*


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: KathWestra
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 02:54 PM

I have always found Paul Gallico's "The Snow Goose" heartrendenly sad.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Peter T.
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 03:58 PM

Must get off this topic soon! Men of a certain age and period find "Death of Salesman" crushing. I well remember a semi-amateur performance I attended in the 1960's as a teenager, and was stunned by seeing all these grown men crying in the last act.
Maybe an even sadder moment in opera is the moment in Gotterdammerung when Siegfried suddenly remembers the bird song and Brunnhilde -- thus precipitating his own death. There is an agony of a lost memory in it that is terrible, and the music is so beautiful, paradise lost. The Marschallin throughout Der Rosenkavalier is one of the saddest characters: a lovely woman confronting age and the loss of her young lover. Also exquisite music: as if the beauty in the music contradicts, while it embodies, the passing of time.
No more on this for me.......


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Micca
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 04:00 PM

It has to be "Angelas Ashes" especially since I was there at the time and the "blind woman with the radio" was my Grandmother and the woman who sees him in the yard in his Grandmothers dress was my Aunt, now both passed over and sadly missed.
Kendall, the last couple of verses of "the Rubaiyat" are so intense aren't they? I had to do a speech at a friends funeral last July and was going to do the "turn down an empty glass" ones and when I read them aloud to get the rhythm I knew I wouldn't be able to do it in public, I just dissolved.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Willie-O
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 04:05 PM

the part in Angelas Ashes where Angela, come to fetch her truant son Frank, encounters her one-time teenage sweetheart Dennis dying of TB in a filthy shitbox Limerick hovel. This was so sad it made me feel good like the blues played superbly.

lets not have a sniffle...

Bill C


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: kendall
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 04:50 PM

yes Micca, you are so right. I have always appreciated the verse...The moving finger writes, and, having writ, moves on...nor all your piety and wit can call it back to cancel half a line, nor all your tears wash out a word of it.Since losing the love of my life, it is especially poigniant.

Hey, we all allow these feelings to come in. My ex wife hated this stuff..she called it emotional rape. Is it possible that it is connected to our love of folk music?


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Skipjack
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 04:56 PM

Kath Westra, the Snow Goose occupies the same stark coast as Mehalah, and yes, I too, dissolve at it's mere mention.

I must admit to blubbing when reading my children the last page of Watership Down, when Hazel kicks the bucket and scarpers with the Black Rabbit of Inle

Liz the Squeak, ....... I like the cut of your tops'l.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Mark Clark
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 08:20 PM

You mean there are sadder "reads" than "Grapes Of Wrath"? I've never been able to read that one straight through. My eyes fill with tears and I feel so sad I have to put it down for a few days and come back at it when I feel better.

- Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 08:33 PM

The high hopes PR stuff I used to write about my brother and his music; the lack of success rests squarely on his shoulders and everyone can see it but him. So much unknown.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 08:39 PM

Oh, and Bingen on the Rhine, poem by the Hon. Mrs. Norton. I psoted it in some thread; and, I think it is in the database: "A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers/there was lack of women's nursing, there was dearth of women's tears..."


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 08:54 PM

I rarely read but I must find the Snow Goose again and yes, I did find it very sad.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 10 Dec 99 - 11:08 PM

Well, the saddest story I've ever read was 'Dumbo The Flying Elephant. I found it overwhelming when Dumbo is visiting his Mama who has been locked up in the old train car. She lowers her trunk for Dumbo to climb on and then she rocks him back and forth to comfort him while he weeps.
Just too sad for me.

BB


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: katlaughing
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 12:04 AM

BB, that reminds me of a story I read, gawd, I think it was in Reader's Digest, years ago. Some children went to the circus. Outside the big top they were visiting the elephants. One of the children was autistic (if I remember right) and began screaming and acting out. Suddenly, one of the old mama elephants reached over and picked him up in her trunk, cradling him. As everyone watched in horror at what they expected to happen, she surprised them all by gently rocking him back and forth until he'd calmed down and became content. She knew exactly how to reach that child and help him.

I always found that moment in Dumbo sad, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 12:15 AM

Kat, I wish my mama had cradled me like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Metchosin
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 12:52 AM

InOBU, The Uilleann Pipe, from what you describe, sounds similar to the following poem by Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273)

A Reed

A craftsman pulled a reed from the reedbed,
cut holes in it, and called it a human being.

Since then, its been waiting a tender agony
of parting, never mentioning the skill
that gave it life as a flute.
(translated by Coleman Barks)

I think the saddest story I ever read was Sophie's Choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: bobby's girl
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 06:45 PM

I read 'Bridges of Madison County' before I saw the film, and very nearly didn't go to the film because the book made me cry so much - also I read 'To kill a mockingbird' for the first time when I was about 15, and when Tom dies I wept buckets!


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: Art Thieme
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 08:12 PM

If you folks want to feel total and complete hopelessness, read THE DEATH SHIP by B. Traven. Unrelenting!! Any glimmer of light that might flicker briefly soon reveals itself to be the proverbial dark cloud that is the actual nucleus of every silver lining.

Also Rudyard Kipling's THE LIGHT THAT FAILED. No practitioner of ANY art form should ever read it during his productive years. (A word to the wise...)

Love,

Art Thieme


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CHANGELINGS (Rudyard Kipling)
From: Mary G
Date: 11 Dec 99 - 09:49 PM

another of Kipling's...this might be the saddest one for me..

The Changelings

Or ever the battered liners sank
With their passengers to the dark
I was head of a Walworth Bank
And you were a grocer's clerk

I was a dealer in stocks and shares
And you in butters and teas
And we both abandoned our own affairs
And took to the dreadful seas

Wet and worry about our ways
Panic, onset and flight
Had us in charge for a thousand days
And a thousand year long night

We saw more than the nights could hide
More than the waves could keep
And certain faces over the side
Which do not go from our sleep

We were more tired than words can tell
While the pied craft fled by
And the swingin mounds of the Western swell
Hoisted us Heavens-High

Now there is nothign not even our rank
To witness what we have been
And I am returned to my Walworth Bank
And you to your margarine

-- does anyone know if this has been put to a tune?

(line breaks added by a Joe clone)


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Subject: RE: BS: The saddest read of all
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Dec 99 - 01:16 AM

There is an emminently forgetable book called M*A*S*H* Goes To Maine that has a beautifully realised short story there in called, "The Call of the Moose". The story of a beautiful singer who is taken by throat cancer. The rest of the book is popcorn but this story is a well written passage.

Don


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Mudcat time: 27 October 2:23 PM EDT

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