Sunday, March 8, 2015

Black on White

Many years back, I saw a movie where there was a memorable number played on trumpet. Down the years, I forgot the name of the movie or of any of the actors, except that there was something about a tragic shock that made a musician abandon his music. It was just the tune I remembered. 

Finally, after a lot of searches, I came across the movie and the number. It was Nature Boy, played on trumpet, in the movie Angel Eyes, starring Jim Caviezel and J Lo. 

The song is a semi auto graphical number, written by a person who was found under the Hollywood sign when Nat King Cole tried to find him because he wanted to have it recorded, after he was given the song in a sheet but Eden Ahbez failed to meet him. Nat King Cole recorded the song in 1948, and after that the song has been used in many films and sung or performed by many as well. Here is the original version by Nat King Cole - 

There was a boy
A very strange. enchanted boy

They say he wandered very far

Very far, over land and sea

A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he

And then one day, a magic day
He passed my way, and while we spoke

Of many things, fools and kings

This he said to me

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return"

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return"

Somehow, the tune reminds one of sepia tones, of the wide open spaces one used to paint and dream about. Of journeys, descents and climbs. Of nights under the moonlit sky, and the clouds floating by. Of you, especially, you

Why do you
love the black
on white

The clear patterns
The solid, straight lines
Keep you happy, right?

Consider the absolute
Of the abyss

The blinding brilliance
When everything merges
Into unreal heat

For you,
the myriad greens, 
Oranges and blues

Why are you
then, in love

The unspeakably black
And the unearthly 


  1. Wow. What a wonderful post, and poem. I, too, love that song and its tune played in my head as I read the words. But your poem is even better.........why choose black and white, with such a rich array of colours to be had? Very cool!

    1. Why, thank you Sherry! Hows your Tofino dream shaping up!

  2. I love that Nat King Cole tune. But, just as Sherry said, your poem is even better! Your command of the language—words, meanings, intimations—is wonderful.
    I always enjoy your posts, Soumyendu.