Friday, September 17, 2010

Chaucer and Sondheim on a Friday Morning

"We little know the things for which we pray." ~ Chaucer

Maybe I'm odd (maybe?), but I've always liked Chaucer. I read The Canterbury Tales in high school, and found them enchanting. So I love it when a Chaucer quote pops up on my homepage; it's sort of like getting a morning greeting from an old chum. Today, perhaps owing to my pensive mood, Chaucer made me start thinking. The soundtrack from “Into the Woods” made me start thinking even more.

Anyone who has seen "Into the Woods" can probably remember the rather haunting song from the second act, “Children Will Listen.” The part of the song that has always stood out to me is where the witch sings

“Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell”

My thoughts led me in the direction of unanswered prayers, and what would have happened had they been answered the way I wanted originally. I don’t care to go into particulars here, but in every instance, I would have come out so much the worse. The consequences for getting what I wanted would never have been worth the pleasure of getting what I wanted. Who’d have thought? – I really don’t know what’s best for me. God does.

No comments:

"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"