To Read: Click on song title to watch a video
Two songs today, and in listening to them, with the third one, the reflection speaks for itself…
from Man of La Mancha
DON QUIXOTE: My lady…
I am not your lady! I am not any kind of a lady!
I was spawned in a ditch by a mother who left me there,
Naked and cold and too hungry to cry; I never blamed her.
I’m sure she left hoping that I’d have the good sense to die!
Then, of course, there’s my father…
I’m told that young ladies can point to their fathers with maidenly pride;
Mine was some regiment here for an hour,
I can’t even tell you which side!
So of course I became, as befitted my delicate birth,
The most casual bride of the murdering scum of the earth!
DON QUIXOTE: And still thou art my lady.
And still he torments me! How should I be a lady?
For a lady has modest and maidenly airs,
And a virtue I somehow suspect that I lack;
It’s hard to remember these maidenly airs
In a stable laid flat on your back!
Won’t you look at me, look at me, God, won’t you look at me!
Look at the kitchen slut reeking with sweat!
Born on a dung heap to die on a dung heap,
A strumpet men use and forget!
If you feel that you see me not quite at my virginal best,
Cross my palm with a coin, and I’ll willingly show you the rest!
DON QUIXOTE: Never deny thou art Dulcinea.
Take the clouds from your eyes and see me as I really am!
You have shown me the sky, but what good is the sky
To a creature who’ll never do better than crawl?
Of all the cruel bastards who’ve badgered and battered me,
You are the cruellest of all!
Can’t you see what your gentle insanities do to me?
Rob me of anger and give me despair! Blows and abuse
I can take and give back again, tenderness I cannot bear!
So please torture me now with your “Sweet Dulcineas” no more!
I am no one! I’m nothing! I’m only Aldonza the whore!
from Man of La Mancha
DON QUIXOTE: Sweet lady… fair virgin…
Lest I be blinded by beauty. But I implore thee – speak once thy name.
DON QUIXOTE: My lady jests.
The name of a kitchen-scullion… or perhaps my lady’s serving-maid?
ALDONZA: I told you my name! Now get out of the way.
Did my lady think to put me to a test?
Ah, sweet sovereign of my captive heart. I shall not fail thee, for I know…
I have dreamed thee too long, never seen thee or touched thee.
But known thee with all of my heart.
Half a prayer, half a song, thou hast always been with me,
Though we have been always apart.
I see heaven when I see thee, Dulcinea, and thy name is like a prayer
An angel whispers… Dulcinea… Dulcinea!
If I reach out to thee, do not tremble and shrink
From the touch of my hand on thy hair.
Let my fingers but see thou art warm and alive,
And no phantom to fade in the air.
I have sought thee, sung thee, dreamed thee, Dulcinea!
Now I’ve found thee, and the world shall know thy glory,
From the Scriptures:
…But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
The best thing would be to simply watch The Man of La Mancha, you will need more than one tissue, and then go out and live The Impossible Dream.
I’m never quite sure if this is the story of Don Quixote, the dream of an elegiac society by the author Cervantes, the personal journey of Aldonza/Dulcinea, or the love song with which the One Who Loves us Best woos me.
The three songs today make up a trinity of love as Aldonza swept off her feet by the Quixote’s impossible dream dares to believe she might aspire to become Dulcinea. Her hopes are brutally dashed by her regular ‘customers’ so she berates Quixote for giving her false hope.
In the end, at his death bed, Aldonza forces her way into his presence and, when the Impossible Dream has been proclaimed by all present she ends (or is it begins?) the story by owning ‘I am Dulcinea’.
Have you ever thought you were unworthy of God’s love? I have.
Have you ever turned your back on God’s call proclaiming yourself to be unworthy? I have.
Have you ever deliberately done something wrong and railed against those who want to help and even against Love itself? I have.
Yet, despite all these fallings and failings God steadfastly turns towards me, rejects all the labels I, and others, give myself, and calls me His beloved…
Of course we are not worthy of this love. If we were it wouldn’t be love but some kind of reward for good behaviour and its withdrawal a threat of damnation. This is not an Impossible Dream but a Machiavellian nightmare.
No, love makes no bargains, lays no conditions, sets no tasks. All it does is open our eyes to who we are, God’s beloved and reminds us of our true name.
Today, why not, Spartacus-like, join me and say, ‘I am Dulcinea’ and take one more step on the road to living The Impossible Dream?
I believe, Lord,
that everything good in the world comes from you.
I believe in your great love for all people.
I believe that, because you preached love, freedom and justice,
you were humiliated, tortured and killed.
I believe that you continue
to suffer in our people . . .
I believe that you call me to defend your cause,
but I also believe that you accompany me
in the task of transforming this world into a different one
where there is no suffering or weeping;
a world where there is a gigantic table set with free food
where everyone is welcome.
I believe that you accompany us
in waiting for the dawning of a new day.
I believe that you will give us strength so that death does not ﬁnd us
without having done enough,
and that you will rise in those who have died seeking a different world.
A peasant woman, El Salvador
1) Take a piece of paper, write on it the words, ‘God Loves Me’ and keep it somewhere safe.
2) Many people write a ‘bucket list’ of things they want to do or achieve before they ‘kick the bucket’. What part of the Impossible Dream do you need to add to your own ‘bucket list.’
Prayers are from ‘Prayers Encircling the World’ and are copyright © SPCK: 1998.
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Edcation of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
These Reflections, ‘A Song for Lent – 40 Days in the West End’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2018