Notes to Poem:

"Summer Solstice on Father's Day"

Peter Y. Chou

Preface: On Sunday, June 21, 2009, I woke up to Jules Massenet's Thäis: Meditation, one of my favorite pieces of music played by KDFC 102.1 FM. I noticed Hoyt Smith was playing requests from listeners who wished to dedicate certain classical music pieces to their fathers. Some of the requests were quite touching. When I went hiking with a friend at Almaden Quicksilver County Park on this Summer Solstice-Father's Day, this poem flowed out based on the haikus written earlier in the morning. I also gained some insight on Goethe's Italian Journey entry "I am about my father's business" written when he was in a burst of artistic creation. It is like God the Father saying "Let there be light" connecting Summer Solstice with Father's Day.

Haikus written to "Father's Day" music played on KDFC 102.1 FM on June 21, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009, 9:40-9:46 am
KDFC 102.1 FM: Jules Massenet,
Thaïs: Meditation (1894)
Listen, CD, YouTube: Sarah Chang

Waking up to Thaïs:
on Summer
Solstice— pure joy!
Sunday, June 21, 2009, 9:55-9:59 am
KDFC 102.1 FM: Ludwig van Beethoven,
Piano Sonata #8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathétique"
(1798), (Listen), CD, YouTube

She dedicates Pathétique
to her Dad who smiled
when she played this tune.
Sunday, June 21, 2009, 10:03-10:08 am
KDFC 102.1 FM: Gil Shaham plays Chen Gang,
Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto (1959)
Listen, (CD), YouTube, Fairy Tale; Request for
Father's Day: "Dad & Mom were Butterfly Lovers"

When her Mom died, Dad
played both roles— they were
truly Butterfly Lovers.
Sunday, June 21, 2009, 10:26-10:30 am
KDFC 102.1 FM: Percy Grainger,
Irish Tune from County Derry (1894)
"Danny Boy", Listen, CD, YouTube; Two Requests
for Father's Day for two Dads named Daniel

Oh Danny boy, the pipes
are calling from glen to glen
down the mountain side.
Sunday, June 21, 2009, 10:46-10:52 am
KDFC 102.1 FM: Mischa Maisky plays
Franz Schubert, Ellens Gesang III, D 839
Op. 52 #6 "Ave Maria"
(1825), Harp MP3,
Listen, (CD), YouTube, Notes, Summer Solstice

If Winter Solstice
is the Seed of Light,
Summer Solstice is the Fruit.
Sunday, June 21, 2009, 11:00 am
Mountain View: Listening to KDFC 102.1 FM
Classical Music requests for Father's Day
Recall Goethe's Italian Journey entry
on Sept. 28, 1787, Frascati (Luke, II.49)

"So my life is happy
because I am about
my father's business."

Commentary on "Summer Solstice on Father's Day"

Summer Solstice
According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)'s National Weather Service Office in Indianapolis, Indiana web site, the Earth's Seasons: Equinoxes and Solstices for 2008-2020 are posted from the U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department.

VERNAL EQUINOX.....(SPRING) MAR 20 2009  744 AM EDT - 1144 UTC
SUMMER SOLSTICE....(SUMMER) JUN 21 2009  145 AM EDT - 0545 UTC
AUTUMNAL EQUINOX...(FALL)   SEP 22 2009  518 PM EDT - 2118 UTC
WINTER SOLSTICE....(WINTER) DEC 21 2009 1247 PM EST - 1747 UTC
So June 21, 2009 marks the beginning of summer or the Summer Solstice— the longest day of the year with 15 hours and 21 minutes of sunlight (June Solstice Explained).

Father's Day
Father's Day is a day honoring fathers, celebrated on the third Sunday of June in 52 of the world's countries and on other days elsewhere. It complements Mother's Day, the celebration honoring mothers. The first observance of Father's Day is believed to have been held on June 19, 1910 through Sonora Dodd's efforts of Spokane, Washington. I've not researched when was the last time that Father's Day fell on the same day as Summer Solstice. It is interesting that Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Uganda celebrate Father's Day on June 21 that's near Summer Solstice.

Massenet's Thäis: Meditation
Jules Massenet's Thäis is a three-act opera (1894) where a Cenobite monk Athanaël converts an Alexandrian courtesan Thäis, a devotée to Venus to Christianity. Its famous Méditation for violin solo with harp and strings accompaniment, the entr'acte played between the scenes of Act II, is an oft-performed concert music piece. The monk's obsession with her is rooted in lust; ironically, while the courtesan's true purity of heart is revealed, so is the religious man's baser nature. (YouTube: Sarah Chang plays Meditation from Thäis)

Beethoven's Pathétique
Beethoven's Sonata Pathétique is his Piano Sonata #8 in C minor, Op. 13 (1799). It is one of Beethoven's most well-known works, and often performed in concert programs. The caller who requested this piece said that when she was little, her Dad had a big smile when he walked in the room while she played it.
(YouTube: Second Movement of Beethoven's Pathétique)

Butterfly Lovers
Chen Gang's Butterfly Lovers Violin Concerto (1959) is one of the most famous works of Chinese music and certainly one of the most famous outside of China. It is an orchestral adaptation of an ancient legend, The Butterfly Lovers. Written for the western style orchestra, it features a solo violin played using some Chinese techniques. The caller requesting this piece said: "When Mom died, Dad played the roles of both parents. Mom and Dad were so much in love, that we called them the Butterfly Lovers. So please play this to honor our Dad." (YouTube: Butterfly Lovers Concerto)

Danny Boy— "pipes calling from glen to glen".
Danny Boy is from Percy Grainger's Irish Tune from County Derry (1894). "Danny Boy" is a popular set of lyrics written by Frederick Weatherly (1910) and usually set to the tune of the Londonderry Air (1913). "Danny Boy" is considered by many Irish Americans and Irish Canadians to be their unofficial signature song. The phrase, "the pipes, the pipes are calling", could refer to the traditional funeral instrument. Lyrics:
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying.
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.
And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

Zipoli's Ascension
Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726) was an Italian composer who lived in Paraguay as a priest. He wrote beautiful music for organ and harpsichord. When I first heard his Elevazione (Ascension) (1716) played on the oboe by Gordon Hunt, I loved it and had written many haikus whenever I hear it played. (YouTube)

Goethe's Italian Journey
Goethe's Italian Journey is a journal published in 1816 based on his 1786-1787 travels to Italy. I bought the 1968 edition translated by W. H. Auden and Elizabeth Mayer when it was first published. Since then, it has become one of my favorite books, where I gather insights on poetry and science from Goethe. On December 13, 2007, the seventh anniversary of Dad's death, I find his clipping from the New York Times (July 24, 1998, B37) "Lessons in Poetry, Science & History from Age of Goethe" sandwiched in this book. I wrote this haiku that day— A nice gift from Dad / placed in my book when he was / 96 years old. The article showed a painting "The Miracle of Blossoms" after 1813 by Wilhelm Tischbein, part of an exhibition at the Frick. It showed that an apple tree cut down by Napoleon's armies in Hamburg (May 1813), managed to bloom in the spring of 1814.

Goethe's Italian Journey entry
222 years ago, Goethe wrote in his Italian Journey entry in Frascati, Italy, on September 28, 1787 (age 38): "I am very happy here. All day and far into the night we draw, paint, sketch in inks and practise the arts and crafts very much ex professo... So my life is happy because I am about my father's business. Remember me to all who do not grudge me my happiness and to all who directly or indirectly, help encourage, and sustain me." We see Goethe's happiness is from his continual creative endeavors in the arts. Goethe quotes what Jesus told his parents when they found him in the temple conversing with the doctors "I must be about my Father's business." (Luke, 2.49)

And what business is that?— the wonder of creation— "Let there be Light!"
When Jesus said "I and my Father are one" John 10.30), he's no longer identifying with his ego but with Christ or Cosmic Consciousness. This is the work which he sets out to do in telling his disciples "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8.32) The business of God the Father is creating heaven and earth (Genesis) and "Let there be light." (Genesis 1.3)

Christos was born on Winter Solstice for he's the "Bringer of Light"
At Winter Solstice (December 22), the darkest time of the year (8 hours sunlight), we celebrate Christmas. Christos "the light bringer" is born and from this moment onward, each day becomes brighter until the Summer Solstice (June 21) when we have 16 hours of sunlight. Jesus said in Ch. 27 of Pistis Sophia: "And my garment of light was upon me, and I was shining exceedingly, there being no measure to the light which I had." The First Mystery is God's first creation— "Let there be light" (Genesis 1.3). In this sense, we may say that Christ is God's Son, emerging from the deep darkness. Christos means "Bringer of Light", but he is also the Light which has "no measure"— that is beyond time. That's why Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8.58)

If Winter Solstice is the Seed of Light, Summer Solstice is the Fruit.
The darkest time of the year, Winter Solstice, may be compared to a Black Hole— "and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Genesis). The birth of this universe is comparable to "And God said, Let there be light" (Genesis). The atoms that sprang forth from that primordial darkness formed stars and galaxies of this expanding universe. This "Seed of Light" incubated in Winter, flowered in Spring, and bore Fruit at Summer Solstice— the longest and brightest day of the year.

enjoy the ripened fruit— this fullness of Light
Hoyt Smith who played the classical music requests from listeners on KDFC FM radio on Father's Day, said he felt sad on Summer Solstice, because from this day forward, each day gets darker and darker. It occurred to me that when a fruit becomes ripe and falls off the tree, we better enjoy it and taste its sweet nectar. Otherwise, the optimal time passes, the fruit will blacken, rot, decay, and becomes unedible. Is this a case of evil inherent in Absolute Goodness, and there is no permanence in perfection?

| Top of Page | "Father's Day Poem" | Poems 2009 | Haikus 2009 |
| Nature Walks | CPITS | Books | A-Z Portals | Home |

© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (6-25-2009)