Wednesday, August 08, 2012

"... nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile ..."

Jerry Garcia's smile at the 4'30" mark of this video is the way I'll always remember this man and this band. Here are the Grateful Dead in 1972 playing "He's Gone" and I realized again while watching this that three of these six men are no longer with us, with Jerry Garcia having left us on August 9, 1995.

He's already been gone for 17 years.

Everyone should read what Bob Dylan and Jerry's writing partner Robert Hunter had to say about their friend immediately after his death.
“There’s no way to measure his greatness or magnitude as a person or a player. I don’t think any eulogizing will do him justice. He was that great, much more than a superb musician, with an uncanny ear and dexterity. He’s the very spirit personified of whatever is Muddy River country at its core and screams up into the spheres. He really had no equal. To me, he wasn’t only a musician and friend, he was more like a big brother who taught and showed me more than he’ll ever know. There’s a lot of spaces and advances between The Carter Family, Buddy Holly and say Ornette Coleman, a lot of universes, but he filled them all without being a member of any school. His playing was moody, awesome, sophisticated, hypnotic and subtle. There’s no way to convey the loss. It just digs down really deep” -- Bob Dylan
An Elegy for Jerry 
by Robert Hunter

Jerry, my friend,
you've done it again,
even in your silence
the familiar pressure
comes to bear, demanding
I pull words from the air
with only this morning
and part of the afternoon
to compose an ode worthy
of one so particular
about every turn of phrase,
demanding it hit home
in a thousand ways
before making it his own,
and this I can't do alone.
Now that the singer is gone,
where shall I go for the song? 

Without your melody and taste
to lend an attitude of grace
a lyric is an orphan thing,
a hive with neither honey's taste
nor power to truly sting. 

What choice have I but to dare and
call your muse who thought to rest
out of the thin blue air
that out of the field of shared time,
a line or two might chance to shine -- 

As ever when we called,
in hope if not in words,
the muse descends.

How should she desert us now?
Scars of battle on her brow,
bedraggled feathers on her wings,
and yet she sings, she sings! 

May she bear thee to thy rest,
the ancient bower of flowers
beyond the solitude of days,
the tyranny of hours--
the wreath of shining laurel lie
upon your shaggy head
bestowing power to play the lyre
to legions of the dead

If some part of that music
is heard in deepest dream,
or on some breeze of Summer
a snatch of golden theme,
we'll know you live inside us
with love that never parts
our good old Jack O'Diamonds
become the King of Hearts. 

I feel your silent laughter
at sentiments so bold
that dare to step across the line
to tell what must be told,
so I'll just say I love you,
which I never said before
and let it go at that old friend
the rest you may ignore. 

The services were held, of course,
at St. Stephan's Church, in
Belvedere, California on
August 12, 1995

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