The Glass Mountain Melody
I feel inspired to write a song,
inspired to write a melody,
inspired by a film I’ve just seen again
that I first saw long ago,
I saw it when I was only young.
I could not remember the story,
but I loved the tune,
and sometimes it would come to me,
and I would sing it as I walked,
and hum it in my head.
I never knew the words,
I knew the melody.
I knew it woke my heart,
I could say it disturbed my soul,
and made me want to wander,
and made me want to go,
to leave the room,
to leave the stage,
to see if I could find a place
where I could find her,
the woman with the face I saw,
as I watched the film alone
Her face was even foreign to the film.
The actress smiled, I did not know her name.
I’d not seen her before,
she was not a star from Hollywood.
But she was the woman I could find,
if I sought for her in Switzerland
or high in Austria or far in Italy.
Like Richard Wilder,
the young English composer
in the film, called The Glass Mountain,
writing his wild opera hymn
on his black piano,
I was on the search for her,
the woman who could be found,
but only in a strange place,
and by a rare chance,
and in a land beyond.
Richard Wilder, the composer,
had a wife called Anne.
She had dark hair
and she was beautiful.
She lay back upon her pillow,
stretched out in peace upon the bed,
but it was him who turned around,
paced the floor in his dressing gown,
lost inside his piano tune,
his Glass Mountain melody.
He wandered round the room,
he wondered who he loved.
He knew that he loved Anne,
but there was Alida.
She had saved his life in the war.
He had bailed out from his aeroplane,
as it was about to crash.
He fell with his parachute.
She came skiing down the slopes,
rescued him from a sleep in snow.
High in the Dolomites, the alps of Italy.
He woke in a wooden hut,
she led him to a holy shrine.
The Glass Mountain, she showed to him,
stood alone, far off, away from them.
Of its legend of two lovers,
Maria and Antonio,
she told him in a quiet tone.
Maria, the village girl,
Antonio, the mountaineer.
Later, it inspired him
to write his opera.
Peace at last, he wrote in a letter
to his wife, Anne, when the war came to an end.
To England, he had to return.
Almost, it made him want to cry.
It made him want to go.
He looked at Alida,
and wanted her to stay.
He wanted her to climb with him
to the peak of the Glass Mountain,
to see its glinting glacier.
It was a step they could have taken,
it was a climb they could have made,
it was a kiss they could have shared.
In dreams, I took a plane.
I flew to Austria, across to Germany.
I looked for you in France,
I looked for you in Spain,
stayed in hotels and lonely rooms,
was trying to compose a tune,
I was trying to write a song,
I was trying to put it all into one melody.
I was trying to live enough to cry,
to see if I was born,
to see if I could love,
to see if I could wait,
if I could wait until you came,
and I would know your face,
and I would know your name.
I looked around, I stepped outside.
There were no houses for a home.
It was all a wilderness,
it was all a battlefield.
It was wild, without a friend,
it was all a broken battlefield.
My soul was woken by a film,
told me what love could do,
how good life could be.
It made me want to go,
it made me want to pack some things,
and leave a note behind,
saying I had to go away,
and would not return.
I am sorry, but why
you would not understand.
There is only now goodbye.
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
She said it in the film,
she had to say goodbye to him,
as he returned to his wife, Anne.
Goodbye. This is goodbye, I know,
Alida had to say to him. God go with you.
Goodbye, Richard, goodbye.
And Richard flew away from Venice,
after his opera was performed,
he, the conductor of the orchestra,
to find Anne, where she lay
on a sleigh for a stretcher in the snow,
near the Glass Mountain.
She had crashed in her light aeroplane
with her pilot, Charles,
on her way to Venice,
to see his opera.
“Richard. It is so good to see you,”
she said to him. “Tell me about the opera,
make me see it. I meant to be there.”
“Not now, not now,” he told her.
“You were there. You are always there.”
“Don’t go too far away from me again, will you?”
she said. And then the sleigh bells rang,
as it was driven on through the snow,
and then the film came to an end.
The story had to stop, the music had to cease.
It made me want to go,
to pack my bag with things,
telephone for tickets,
ask when the planes are due.
How early can I go?
First I would like to go to Switzerland,
over to Austria, and then to Italy.
Yes, I could go tonight,
be at the airport soon.
I will sit in my seat,
another stranger on the plane,
look out of my window,
down upon the ocean,
lamp lit cities, far below,
at last, to see the mountain peaks,
the alps of Switzerland, the alps of Italy,
but it would not be there that I would want to land,
though there would be my destination,
I know I would want to journey on,
to try to find my true land
where the Glass Mountain stands and shines.
So shall I pack my case,
and buy tickets for trains and planes,
and decide to go away?
But what would I find there?
I would not stay in one place for too long.
And if I were to look in a far and foreign room,
would she at last be there for me?
And would she turn to me?
Would she stop to stay to say hello?
Miss Katrina Marie Murry.
It was just a name I saw,
on a signpost above a door,
the doorway of the Old Horse Inn.
It made me turn around,
it made me stop to stand still.
I looked up at the sign.
It rhymed with the rhythm of my tune,
my Glass Mountain melody.
It was the name of someone who was saved,
the name of someone I had never known.
I walked on through the streets alone.
And when I come home to you,
I want to hear you say to me,
we will never have to go,
we will never have to go away.
Don’t go too far away from me again.