All of These Stars

Untitled, from the series The Indomitable Spirit, Duane Michals, 1989

 
 

ALL OF THE STARS

(Songwriters: Ed Sheeran/ Johnny McDaid)

It’s just another night
And I’m staring at the moon
I saw a shooting star
And thought of you
I sang a lullaby
By the waterside and knew
If you were here,
I’d sing to you
You’re on the other side
As the skyline splits in two
I’m miles away from seeing you
I can see the stars
From America
I wonder, do you see them, too?

So open your eyes and see
The way our horizons meet
And all of the lights will lead
Into the night with me
And I know these scars will bleed
But both of our hearts believe
All of these stars will guide us home

I can hear your heart
On the radio beat
They’re playing ‘Chasing Cars’
And I thought of us
Back to the time,
You were lying next to me
I looked across and fell in love
So I took your hand
Back through lamp lit streets I knew
Everything led back to you
So can you see the stars?
Over Amsterdam
You’re the song my heart is
Beating to

So open your eyes and see
The way our horizons meet
And all of the lights will lead
Into the night with me
And I know these scars will bleed
But both of our hearts believe
All of these stars will guide us home

And, oh, I know
And oh, I know, oh
I can see the stars
From America

 
 

Ed Sheeran wrote this song for The Fault In Our Stars (Josh Boone, 2014) soundtrack. The film is based on the novel of the same name by John Green, published in January 2012.

 
 

To watch the music video please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

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Like a Dog Chasing a Car

Photographs by Duane Michals

 
 

CHASING CARS

(Songwriters: Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connoly, Jonathan Graham Quinn, Tom Simpson and Paul Wilson)

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That’s bursting into life

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden
That’s bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They’re all I can see

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things
Will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

 
 

Chasing Cars is the second single from Snow Patrol‘s fourth album, Eyes Open. It was recorded in 2005 and released on 6 June 2006 in the US and 24 July 2006 in the UK as the album’s second single. The song gained significant popularity in the US after being featured in the second season finale of the popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.

It has been reported that lead singer Gary Lightbody wrote the song, sober after a binge of white wine, in the garden of producer Jacknife Lee‘s Kent cottage. The song has Lightbody singing a plain melody over sparse guitars, which has an ever-building crescendo. He stated it was his “purest love song”.

The phrase Chasing Cars came from Lightbody’s father, in reference to a girl Lightbody was infatuated with, “You’re like a dog chasing a car. You’ll never catch it and you just wouldn’t know what to do with it if you did.”

There are two music videos: one for UK, one for the US.

In the music video for UK, Gary Lightbody lies on open ground as cameras film him from different angles. It starts raining, splashing his face and hands. Gary enters a pool of water next to him and in the end of the video, he gets out of the water, rises on his feet and looks up at the camera as it zooms out overhead.

In the US music video, Lightbody is shown lying down in busy places while singing. People ignore him and step over him. Among the places he lies are a diner, an intersection, at the top of an escalator, in a subway car, at the top of a hill overlooking a highway, and at the end on a bed.

In September 2014, Ed Sheeran delivered a rendition of the song on MTV.

To watch the US music video, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Failed Communication Between Lovers

“This photograph is my proof There was that afternoon,
when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It did happen, she did love me, Look see for yourself!”

Photograph by Duane Michals

 
 

THE DANGLING CONVERSATION

It’s a still life water color,
Of a now late afternoon,
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room.

And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar

In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
The borders of our lives.

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with book markers
That measure what we’ve lost.

Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time

And the dangled conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”

And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me

Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.

Paul Simon

 
 

The Dangling Conversation is a song written by Paul Simon, first released in September 1966 as a Simon and Garfunkel single The Dangling Conversation/The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine. The song only climbed to 25 on the US charts and never made it onto the UK charts. Simon was surprised that it was not a bigger hit and attributed the song’s lack of success to its heaviness. It was released a month later as a recording on the Simon and Garfunkel album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

The theme is failed communication between lovers. The song starts in a room washed by shadows from the sun slanting through the lace curtains and ends with the room “softly faded.” They are as different as the poets they read: Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.

Simon has compared this song to The Sound of Silence, but says The Dangling Conversation is more personal.

Joan Baez recorded a version of the song which is one of her greatest hits, originally released in 1967 on the Joan album. She changed one of the lines to “Is the church really dead?” and Simon insisted that a line be inserted on the album’s back cover that read: “Paul Simon asks Joan to note that the original line is, ‘Is the theater really dead?'”

Les Fradkin has a dramatic version on his 2006 album, Jangleholic.

 
 

To watch a scene of Frederick Wiseman‘s 1968 documentary High School related to this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

A Rock Feels No Pain

 
 

I AM A ROCK

(Lyrics: Paul Simon)

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark
December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

 
 

 
 

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

 
 

 
 

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

 
 

 
 

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.

 
 

 
 

I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

 
 

Photographs by Duane Michals

 
 

To listen this song, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style‘s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

The True Christmas

The Nativity Play, Norman Rockwell, 1950s

 
 

So stick up ivy and the bays,
And then restore the heathen ways.
Green will remind you of the spring,
Though this great day denies the thing.
And mortifies the snow,
That very dress your lightness willearth and all
But your wild revels, and loose hall.
Could you wear flowers, and roses strow
Blushing upon your breasts’ warm
Rebuke, and wither at the ill.
The brightness of this day we owe
Not unto music, masque, nor show:
Nor gallant furniture, nor plate;
But to the manger’s mean estate.
His life while here, as well as birth,
Was but a check to pomp and mirth;
And all man’s greatness you may see
Condemned by His humility.
Then leave your open house and noise,
To welcome Him with holy joys,
And the poor shepherd’s watchfulness:
Whom light and hymns from heaven did bless.
What you abound with, cast abroad
To those that want, and ease your load.
Who empties thus, will bring more in;
But riot is both loss and sin.
Dress finely what comes not in sight,
And then you keep your Christmas right.

Henry Vaughan

(1678)

When We Cease To Be Curious

“Commonplaces never become tiresome. It is we who become tired when we cease to be curious and appreciative. We find that it is not a new scene which is needed, but a new viewpoint.”

Norman Rockwell

 
 

The Discovery, Norman Rockwell. Cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, December 29, 1956

Rockwell painted more than 30 Christmas themed covers for the Post in the course of his career and more than 70 of his most famous works address Christmas themes

From Our Happy Home

Merry Christmas Grandma … We Came in Our New Plymouth!, Norman Rockwell, 1950

 
 

From our happy home
Through the world we roam
One week in all the year,
Making winter spring
With the joy we bring,
For Christmas-tide is here.

Now the eastern star
Shines from afar
To light the poorest home;
Hearts warmer grow,
Gifts freely flow,
For Christmas-tide has come.

Now gay trees rise
Before young eyes,
Abloom with tempting cheer;
Blithe voices sing,
And blithe bells ring,
For Christmas-tide is here.

Oh, happy chime,
Oh, blessed time,
That draws us all so near!
‘Welcome, dear day,’
All creatures say,
For Christmas-tide is here.

Louisa May Alcott

Underneath The Christmas Tree Coat

Anne Gunning wearing Jacques Fath’s voluminous pleated taffeta evening wrap The Christmas Tree Coat, 1951

 

CHRISTMAS TREE

Light me up put me on top, let’s
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la, la
Light me up put me on top, let’s
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la, la

The only place you’ll wanna be is

My Christmas tree’s delicious
Oh ,oh, a Christmas
My Christmas tree’s delicious

Light you up put you on top, let’s
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, let’s go
Light you up put you on top, let’s
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, let’s go

Ho ho ho, under the mistletoe
Yes everybody knows
We will take off our clothes
Yes, if you want us to we will

You, oh ,oh, a Christmas
My Christmas tree’s delicious
Oh ,oh, a Christmas
My Christmas tree’s delicious

Here, here, here, the best time of the year
Take off my stocking’s, we’re
Out spreading Christmas cheer
Yes, if you want us to we will

You, oh ,oh, a Christmas
My Christmas tree’s delicious
Oh ,oh, a Christmas
My Christmas tree’s delicious

Space cowboy, Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga
And she goes
Space cowboy, Lady Gaga, Lady Gaga
Here we go

Cherry, cherry, boom, boom

Lady Gaga

 

To watch Lady Gaga’s music video, please take a gander at The Genealogy of Style’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Genealogy-of-Style/597542157001228?ref=hl

Christmas Trees

Salvador Dalí photographed by Enrique Meneses

 
 

The city had withdrawn into itself
And left at last the country to the country;
When between whirls of snow not come to lie
And whirls of foliage not yet laid, there drove
A stranger to our yard, who looked the city,
Yet did in country fashion in that there
He sat and waited till he drew us out
A-buttoning coats to ask him who he was.
He proved to be the city come again
To look for something it had left behind
And could not do without and keep its Christmas.
He asked if I would sell my Christmas trees;
My woods—the young fir balsams like a place
Where houses all are churches and have spires.
I hadn’t thought of them as Christmas Trees.
I doubt if I was tempted for a moment
To sell them off their feet to go in cars
And leave the slope behind the house all bare,
Where the sun shines now no warmer than the moon.
I’d hate to have them know it if I was.
Yet more I’d hate to hold my trees except
As others hold theirs or refuse for them,
Beyond the time of profitable growth,
The trial by market everything must come to.
I dallied so much with the thought of selling.
Then whether from mistaken courtesy
And fear of seeming short of speech, or whether
From hope of hearing good of what was mine,
I said, “There aren’t enough to be worth while.”
“I could soon tell how many they would cut,
You let me look them over.”

“You could look.
But don’t expect I’m going to let you have them.”
Pasture they spring in, some in clumps too close
That lop each other of boughs, but not a few
Quite solitary and having equal boughs
All round and round. The latter he nodded “Yes” to,
Or paused to say beneath some lovelier one,
With a buyer’s moderation, “That would do.”
I thought so too, but wasn’t there to say so.
We climbed the pasture on the south, crossed over,
And came down on the north.
He said, “A thousand.”

“A thousand Christmas trees!—at what apiece?”

He felt some need of softening that to me:
“A thousand trees would come to thirty dollars.”

Then I was certain I had never meant
To let him have them. Never show surprise!
But thirty dollars seemed so small beside
The extent of pasture I should strip, three cents
(For that was all they figured out apiece),
Three cents so small beside the dollar friends
I should be writing to within the hour
Would pay in cities for good trees like those,
Regular vestry-trees whole Sunday Schools
Could hang enough on to pick off enough.
A thousand Christmas trees I didn’t know I had!
Worth three cents more to give away than sell,
As may be shown by a simple calculation.
Too bad I couldn’t lay one in a letter.
I can’t help wishing I could send you one,
In wishing you herewith a Merry Christmas.

Robert Frost

At Christmas

Alfred Hitchcock and his grandchildren, 1960

 
 

“A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season’s here;
Then he’s thinking more of others than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.

When it’s Christmas man is bigger and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he’s seeking is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.
If I had to paint a picture of a man I think I’d wait
Till he’d fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate.
I’d not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of pelf,
On the long days and the dreary when he’s striving for himself.
I’d not take him when he’s sneering, when he’s scornful or depressed,
But I’d look for him at Christmas when he’s shining at his best.
Man is ever in a struggle and he’s oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that’s in him is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don’t know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be.

Edgar Albert Guest

A Christmas Carol

Audrey Hepburn in Switzerland, Christmas day, 1958

 
 

“In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there.
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part, –
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart

Christina Georgina Rossetti

In Drear-Nighted December

Portrait of John Keats by William Hilton

 
 

In drear-nighted December,

Too happy, happy tree,

Thy branches ne’er remember

Their green felicity:

The north cannot undo them

With a sleety whistle through them;

Nor frozen thawings glue them

From budding at the prime.

In drear-nighted December,

Too happy, happy brook,

Thy bubblings ne’er remember

Apollo’s summer look;

But with a sweet forgetting,

They stay their crystal fretting,

Never, never petting

About the frozen time.

Ah! would ’twere so with many

A gentle girl and boy!

But were there ever any

Writhed not at passed joy?

The feel of not to feel it,

When there is none to heal it

Nor numbed sense to steel it,

Was never said in rhyme.

John Keats

 
 
This work was written in December 1817 and first published in the Literary Gazette in 1829.