Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jose Padua: Glenn Gould’s Search for Petula Clark

Sometimes when I think of Petula Clark
I think the planets have stopped spinning
around the sun. That all of space is still
as the universe takes a moment to catch
its breath and pay homage to the simple
perfect sound of her voice. So many kids
nowadays have no idea who Petula Clark is
or the power that Glenn Gould could wield
with the pure touch of his fingers on the piano
keys. So many of us think everything should
be easy. That pomegranates will appear
like everyday miracles in the produce aisle
near the entrance to the grocery store, that
love will suddenly rain down upon the young
like summer thunderstorms, leading them
to seek shelter before their clothes get too wet,
the atmosphere too electric, as logic and
proper grammar get lost among the swirling ions.
I think if Petula Clark had the power to raise
Glenn Gould from the dead she would, and
if Glenn Gould were alive and Petula Clark
dead, he would do the same for her. This is
how we take care of one another; this is how
each generation builds upon what the last
generation left behind. And maybe this is how
once again I’ll see everyone I’ve ever lost;
when stepping outside into spring rain I mix up
memory and space, mountain and the brittle
pages of an old book as stones roll down the
mountain slope and paper breaks apart between
my fingers. Thinking of what might have been,
I save every piece of paper and take my time
coming down from the mountain, believing
in the wisdom of taking the long way home.


Copyright 2016 Jose Padua

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Photograph by Jose Padua

3 comments on “Jose Padua: Glenn Gould’s Search for Petula Clark

  1. shenandoahbreakdown
    December 29, 2019

    I was five or six when I heard Petula Clark singing “Sign of the Times” and I thought–and still think–it’s one of the most wonderful performances I’ve ever heard. It’s very much part of that kind of sixties pop sound, but somehow takes one to other places as well. My appreciation of Glenn Gould came later, and when I discovered that he loved Petula Clark’s voice I was surprised, but then again I wasn’t…
    (Jose)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel Burston
    December 29, 2019

    Many thanks, Jose Padua. What a sad and lovely poem. The impossible desire to see “everyone we’ve ever lost” again runs deep in most of us, even with the passage of time.

    Whilst searching my memory of listening to Glenn Gould and Petula Clark as a child, and reflecting how others regarded them at the time, it dawns on me that Gould – whose playing left me a little cold, to be honest – was a celebrity who inspired respect, even awe or reverence for his virtuosity. Clark – who I had an early adolescent crush on – inspired an infectious sense of hopefulness about our prospects of finding deep enduring, love or repairing it when it is broken and floundering. Her message was a balm to a troubled young teenager confused about the world of adult entanglements. Indeed, looking back, their celebrity hinged as much on the emotions they inspired as it did on their respective talents. And that prompts me to wonder many of today’s musical icons still inspire those feelings in listeners.

    Then, of course, there was their contemporary, Leonard Cohen. But that, as they say, is another story . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      December 29, 2019

      Thanks for this, Dan. Like you, I admired Glen Gould but had a passion for Petula Clark. Happy New Year to you and the people you love!

      Liked by 1 person

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