I went to a marvelous party…

I had the privilege of attending a wonderful performance last weekend by my friend Godfrey. It was a sort of soiree with where he performed snippets from various shows he’s recently done. The music was a fabulous and inspiring mix of Jacques Brel, Tori Amos, Noel Coward, Kurt Weill and others – and a couple of his own compositions. If you’re in Cape Town, you should try get into the loop about these shows. (The videos on that link are a bit wonky and don’t really give a sense of how polished and engaging Godfrey is as a performer!) The show has got me listening to and reading bits of Noel Coward, who was really something of a genius. Here’s a poem:

Do I believe in God?
by Noel Coward

Do I believe in God?
Well yes, I suppose, in a sort of way;
It’s really terribly hard to say.
I’m sure there must be, of course,
Some kind of vital, motive force,
Some power that holds the winning cards
Behind life’s ambiguous facades,
But whether you think me odd or not
I can’t decide if it’s God or not.

I look at the changing sea and sky
And try to picture eternity;
I gaze at immensities of blue
And say to myself “It can’t be true
That somewhere up in that abstract sphere
Are all the people that once were here,
Attired in white and shapeless gowns
Sitting on clouds like eiderdowns

Plucking on harps and twanging lutes
With cherubim in their birthday suits,
Set in an ageless, timeless dream
Part of a formulated scheme
Formulated before the Flood
Before the amoeba left the mud
And, stranded upon a rocky shelf
Proceeded to subdivide itself.”

I look at the changing sea and sky
And try to picture infinity;
I gaze at a multitude of stars
Envisaging the men on Mars,
Wondering if they too are torn
Between their sunset and their dawn
By dreadful night-engendered fears
Of what may lie beyond their years
And if they too, through thick and thin,
Are dogged by consciousness of Sin.

Have they, to give them self-reliance,
A form of Martian Christian Science?
Or do they live in constant hope
Of dispensations from some Pope?
Are they pursued from womb to tomb
By hideous prophesies of doom?
Have they cathedral, church or chapel?
Are they concerned with Adam’s Apple?
Have they immortal souls like us
Or are they – less presumptuous?.


About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
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