September Song

b. traven

I’m ninety three now and Kurt Weill’s “September Song”  can bring me to tears. Not just because it hearkens back to my lost youth, but also its poignancy of “loss” reverberates to my sadness over the loss of our country to greed and vicious mediocrity. My youth was spent in a war that we came out of with hope for a world getting better and today we see our nation and our world spinning out of control both physically in the environment and spiritually in society and governance. The words below of Kurt Weil, forced to leave our country over fifty years ago because he was a communist in spite of being a sensitive song writer.

When I was a young man and courting the girls,
I played the waiting game

Oh, it’s a long, long way from May to December
but the days grow short when you reach September

and you don’t get time for the waiting game
when the days trickle down to a precious few.

Those days are getting very short at my age and I try to do as much as I can to make the most of each day to make things better in our world. I try to leave as small a footprint as possible in waste to help the environment. I save every scrap of paper, plastic, and metal to recycle. I try to help those who are working to make change in our governance. I believe that “a contrary perspective” in each person’s life is the bedrock of our democracy.  My wife feels I am too “negative” but I still retain, from that young man of 21 who came out of the army in1946, the belief that skepticism to power is not a “waiting game” but a commitment to today.

And for those of you who read this and and listen to Heather Masse’s rendition of September Song… if that doesn’t bring a tug at your heart, I say “get a life.”

6 thoughts on “September Song

  1. traven–“September Song” was my mother’s favorite popular tune, she having been born in that month. Kurt Weill was, most famously, the collaborator of Bertoldt Brecht (“The Threepenny Opera,” “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany,” etc.). I doubt Weill was, personally, a “communist” but witchhunting being a popular pastime in the good ol’ USA, Charles Chaplin was but one fellow artist who exiled himself under suspicion of being a “fellow traveler.” Even Larry Adler, the Master of the Mouth Organ (popularly known as the harmonica), felt compelled to flee to the UK. (Chaplin, of course, was a Brit by birth.) I was extremely privileged to have gotten Mr. Adler’s autograph when he returned for a recital at Carnegie Hall back in the 1970s. “Vicious mediocrity” perhaps should be upgraded to “supreme mediocrity.” I was sickened to turn on the radio this morning and hear Trump, The Man Who Rode H-A-T-E’s Coattails to the White House, spouting hypocrisy about the mass murder in Las Vegas.

    Thank you for the good you have effected in your life, traven. We, those who give a damn for humankind and the rest of the inhabitants of the planet, still have a helluvalot to overcome. The struggle continues!

  2. traven, well said!

    Skepticism of power and particularly its centralization were bedrock principles that led the founders of this nation to make great efforts to limit the power of government. As Ben Franklin is reportedly quoted to have said, “if you give up a little liberty fir some security, you’ll neither have any liberty or safety”. Tocqueville however was very insightful when he noted that when Congress learns it can bribe the public with their money the republic will be lost.

    The only way to maintain a republic and the rule of law is a public that is deeply skeptical of power and unwilling to be bribed with their own money by the snake oil salesmen that are the politicians.

    As Pogo said, we’ve met the enemy and it is us. traven, until all Americans behave like you and take personal responsibility for their actions, this slow slide to increasing governmental power and lawlessness by the ruling elite will inexorably grow.

    • Tunis.. Your quote from de Tocqueville puzzles me. The government supposedly takes our taxes to pay for the ‘common good’, roads, health, education, defense etc. Yes, there is a lot of fiddling with those expenditures but that is the mission.

      Now our current governments are using the money to fund things like war making that are not helpful and certainly not going back to make our citizens life better. Certainly you are correct when yuo refer to our politicians as “snake oil salesmen” in using our money to fund wars under the false pretext that they are saving us from “terrorism”. In what context does Tocqueville make this statement?

  3. The Portuguese have a word that explains this song so well. Jennifer, a friend of mine, sent this to me and one can see how the words go well beyond a simple ‘love’ song.

    “This reminds me of the Portuguese word “saudades” which has no direct translation in English or any other language. It is essentially nostalgia for someone, something, or a past feeling or experience, with the uncomfortable awareness that it is long gone and will not happen again.”

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