Charles Ives’ “The Unanswered Question”, like Landslide, can mean anything you want it to mean. When you first hear the call of the horns (around the 1:44 mark), I hear someone posing the basic question of life: what is it, where is the love in it, how am I to live it?
The air around him fills with sound, but he seems deaf – endlessly repeating the question (insistently at 2:47, again at 3:41, and again…) and the sounds flood back in. Are those answers he cannot hear? Is he deaf to them, blind to what is in front of his eyes? Can he see only what he wants to see, hear only what he wants to hear?
Eventually, the world seems to turn on the man – a tight, mocking sound infects the air. If he refuses to know the truth in front of him, if he asks the same question over and over but won’t accept the answer, what good is there in trying to explain? At 4:46 the feeling of contempt bursts out, yet he asks again. Then the ridicule begins. And eventually, the universe is silent. It has given up on him.
My daughter summed it up rather nicely the other day, explaining how her sympathies had migrated over time from the Road Runner (endlessly pursued, always elusive) to Wile E. Coyote – smart, inventive, relentless and hopelessly infatuated with something he will never have.
She thinks he needs to stop seeing what he wants to see, and look at where he really is. Her immortal words: “hey, Wile E. Coyote, time to find another bird, bud!”
green runs the gameI’m not walking in the snow, to the spot where you thought you saw roses a leopard stretches then coils tightly as the spring the metronome swings this gold garden claws up, out of the old dark earth takes refuge in light so suddenly, she stole this hollow patch of soil blooming little green a dancer bending rolls dreamily on the ground she reaches, up, slow the air, a liquid the sky, a stony blind sea the earth, a white cup guitars rain soft and drums splashing, puddles of sound when my eyes are drowned sun steals my dreaming but it don’t matter to me I see, what I see