The collage pays homage to John Ashbery’s poem “Gravy for the Prisoners” in the volume Breezeway. The poem’s gentle, often elegiac, rumination on the process of living puts in mind these lines from The Skaters:
So much has passed through my mind this morning
That I can give you but a dim account of it:
It is already after lunch, the men are returning to their positions around the cement mixer
And I try to sort out what has happened to me.
Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 3
As a very slender reed of connection (really only in my mind) between Symphony No. 3 and Ashbery’s poem, Mahler described the opening of the fourth movement (Sehr langsam—Misterioso) as akin to “awakening after a confused dream–or rather a gentle return to consciousness of one’s own reality.” [Peter Franklin, Mahler: Symphony, Issue 3 at 66]
On Spotify (Nott/Bamberger)
On YouTube (Abbado/Lucerne) (the fourth movement begins at about 59:55)
Credits: The text in the collage is from Ashbery’s poem “Gravy for the Prisoners.” The image and underlying collage, as always on the blog unless otherwise indicated, are mine.