The Mary Gloster

This is a dear and a hard one for me. It represents, in many ways, the nexus of two of the worlds and the characters that I and my father had, and shared, and did not share. I only heard my father read this poem once. But it stuck with me. Many years later I told him it was one of my favourite of Kipling’s works, and he seemed surprised… and that in itself stuck with me, as did the way he looked at me then. In some ways the verse runs along the line of any such relationship: son to father, mother to daughter, and any complex of the same. It is uncompromising, brutal, honest, and real. For me it is immensely important. Particularly this recording. This is the first time I had even read this poem in thirty years. It was an entirely unrehearsed performance. It is flawed, and carries some noise as well. I have several times tried to rerecord since this point. Even though in some technical ways the subsequent recordings were more “perfect” none of them captured what this one did for me. This one captures what I believe is the soul of this verse, the unvarnished and absolute naked intergenerational conflict, as well as the flaws, complexity, and love native to the human soul. It was recorded at anchor aboard a smallish vessel, in the “Far East”, and in fact not so very far from the Makassar Straits… and in the background what you can mostly hear is the cables rocking back and forth in the mast…

3 thoughts on “The Mary Gloster”

    1. I concur with Elliot! The background sounds only serve to enhance the emotional tenor of the piece…It’s one of my favorites!

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