Wherein lies the power of songs?
Maybe it derives from the sheer strangeness of there being
singing in the world.
The note, the scale, the chord; melodies, harmonies,
arrangements; symphonies, ragas, Chinese operas, jazz,
the blues; that such things should exist,
that we should have discovered
the magical intervals and distances that yield the poor
clusters of notes,
all within the span of a human hand,
from which we can build our cathedrals of sound,
is as alchemical a mystery as mathematics, or wine, or love.
Maybe the birds taught us. Maybe not.
Maybe we are just creatures in search of exaltation.
We dont have much of it. Our lives are not what we deserve;
they are, let us agree, in many painful ways deficient.
Song turns them into something else.
Song shows us a world that is worthy of our yearning,
it shows us our selves as they might be, if we were worthy of
Five mysteries hold the keys to the unseen:
the act of love, and the birth of a baby, and the
contemplation of great art,
and hearing the human voice lifted into song.
These are the occasions when the bolts of the universe fly
and we are given a glimpse of what is hidden;
an eff of the ineffable... »
The Ground Beneath Her Feet
[New York, Picador USA, 2000]
It transcends the vast stretches
of oceans, mountains,
hemispheres. Time zones too.
Haunts my nights by
singing in my blood.
Raucous, dogged the call, yet
forever mine, the only permanence
of an evanescent existence.
Creeping through tissues, neurones
whispering familiar notes
driving me beyond
The ache recedes.
I believe the self free.
a few precious moments
when Freedom serenades
fettered spirits, beguiling them
into a burst of
towards the Milky Way.
brush my cheeks.
Spin, out of orbit.
the earth approaches.
Dizzying, the fall.
Mortal, the impact.
Hard earth opens its arms.
Home is thus.
Shards of me
scatter here, there, all about.
merged with the soil
buried by the dust
swept under fallen leaves.
the Melody resurfaces.
My lament once,
now the earth song.
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