Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Percy Bysshe Shelley. To a Skylark. Poets knew it.
On May 24, 2011, we posted an article, The Hospice Flute, about Elaine Whitman who plays the ancient Indian flute for dying hospice patients.
This week, a similar article appeared in the NY Times. Relaxing, Touching the Memory, Music Helps With the Final Transition supplements Ms. Whitman's post. One wonders for how many millennia music has been a balm to the dying. In Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams we see a flute fashioned from a bird's thigh bone that dates back 32,000 years. The language of music has been with us far longer than any language now spoken on this blue dot.