Thursday, May 2, 2013

Achilles' spiritual Quest (video)

Wisdom Quarterly; James Patrick and Bobby Plant, "Achilles Last Stand"
Thetis takes Achilles from the Centaur Chiron (Batoni Pompeo/
Ouch, my heel! (WHP)
Bob and Jim were very good and talented friends from Albion. They dreamed of a Quest to take them to the ends of the Earth -- at least as far as exotic Morocco -- in search of answers and possibly deliverance. They famously made it to Kashmir, India but are best remembered for their attempt to reach the celestial spheres by walking up a long flight of gradually ascending floorboards. To no avail, they realized the houses of the holy were reclusive abodes in strange places. By the end of their first run, they wrote the following:

It was an April morning when they told us we should go. As I turned to you, you smiled at me. How could we say no?  With all the fun to have, to live the dreams we always had. Oh, the songs to sing when we at last return again!
Thetis confiding the education of Achilles to Chiron (Batoni Pompeo, 1760)
Sending off a glancing kiss to those who claim they know. Below the streets that steam and hiss; the devil's in his hole. Oh, to sail away to sandy lands and other days! Oh, to touch the dream that hides inside and is never seen. 
Into the Sun, the south, the north, at last the birds have flown. The shackles of commitment fell in pieces on the ground. Oh to ride the wind, to tread the air above the din! Oh, to laugh aloud, dancing as we fought the crowd!
To seek the man whose pointing hand the giant step unfolds with guidance from the curving path that churns up into stone.
Fury of Achilles (Charles Antoine Coypel/
If one bell should ring, a celebration for a king. So fast the heart should beat, as proud the head with heavy feet!
Days went by when you and I bathed in eternal summer's glow. As far away and distant our mutual child did grow. Oh, the sweet refrain soothes the soul and calms the pain. Oh, Albion remains sleeping now to rise again.

Wandering and wandering, what place to rest the search? The mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the Earth! The mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the Earth -- from the Earth.
I know the way, know the way, know the way. I know the way, know the way, know the way. Oh!
Oh, the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the Earth.

Of course, some things make much more sense when sung. Here are Robert and Jimmy as children (played by Alex Desimine, 13, and Chris Greatti, 13) performing what would one day become nearly their swan song at the Pennington YMCA with drummer Kaleen Reading, 14, bassist Tom Phillips, 14, and rhythm guitarist Tom Levecchi, 16, of Burnside.

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