Jeremy Irons Reads ‘Life is Juicy’ by Leonard Bernstein

WGBH’s Classical.org has just released an exclusive audio recording of Leonard Bernstein’s poem “Life is Juicy,” as read by actor Jeremy Irons.

Click on the player below to hear actor Jeremy Irons read “Life is Juicy,” by Leonard Bernstein:

Audio of Jeremy Irons recorded by Mark Travis, engineer, New York Philharmonic. Special thanks to Jamie Bernstein, author of Famous Father Girl, and Barbara Haws, the New York Philharmonic archivist. 

marktravisrecordingjeremyreadingbernstein

Photo via Mark Travis

Life is Juicy

(Written in a cottage
on the mucky shore of
Lake Mah-kee-nak
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
2 July 1947)

Life begins in the waters—
Not the deep, but the borders of land:
The stagnants that nourish the sterile earth
Like a juicy gland.

Life is the seed of the marriage
Of liquid and solid events.
In the coves, in the swamps, in mysterious pools,
Our heartaches commence.

Life is the pulp and the slime,
The marshmallow bellies of frogs,
Their thyroided eyes, their eggjellies caught
On the rotting logs.

Life is the algae, the roe;
The army of maggoty breeds
Devouring the corpse of a very old perch
Adrift in the weeds.

Life is the plasm, the cells,
The fat symbiotics in pairs;
The ankledeep fungoids which darkly provide
The crawfish with lairs.

Life is the scaly and scummy,
The poisonous green without breath;
The marinal maze whose only solution
Is ultimate death.

For Death is the crisp and the clean,
The fine oxidation, the rust,
The spermless, the painless, the classic, the lean,
The dry, dry dust.


 

LB_photo_by_Paul_de_Hueck_courtesy_the_Leonard_Bernstein_Office

Leonard Bernstein photo by Paul de Hueck courtesy of the Leonard Bernstein Office

Classical.org will release several approximately 20 poems by the legendary musician including some never before seen Bernstein poems. A Bernstein poem read by actress Laila Robbins will be released next week.

WGBH launched The Bernstein Experience on Classical.org this year as part of a year-long celebration of the music, life and legacy of the conductor, composer, educator, and humanitarian who would celebrate his 100th birthday on August 25, 2018. 

Bernstein’s poem celebrates bucolic summers at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Hear actor Jeremy Irons read “Life is Juicy,” by Leonard Bernstein on The Bernstein Experience on Classical.org:  http://bit.ly/life-is-juicy_b100

To learn more about the life of Leonard Bernstein and the scope the Bernstein at 100 celebration, please visit: https://bernstein.classical.org/about/.

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