Friday, 13 February 2009

Music in the dark.

Darkness is important. It is freedom. No-one to see me. I can hide in it. I don't have to see anything and or understand anything. Icy moonlight on the half-sunk river boat by the old iron bridge that is itself relaxing into the embrace of the water does not require anything from me - even in my contorted mind.

My mood had been following the music tonight. We started with Purcell 'My beloved spake', which sets the Song of Solomon, 2:10-13 ([10]My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. [11]For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; [12]The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; [13]The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.). Controlled and renaissance, but complex. The tone of the music and the tone of the words are at odds, and it slips out of perfect comprehension. The Song of Solomon always gets me - a confused and incomprehensible love poem written 3,000 years ago and still potent. Tablets of stone. Who cares to whom the speakers refer? Then there was Harris - 'Strengthen ye the weak hands' (Isaiah 35), which is dramatic and strong and lyrical. And the writer of Isaiah understands poetry - imagery and beauty through it, which the composers point up. That passage is stern and demanding, but offering comfort with conditions. Hard. And as we left, there was a copy of Cosi Fan tutte in the narthex, with 'Una donna quindici anni' in it, for me to sing with frenetic teenage false confidence. It took the distance home from church to calm down from the crazy Mozart, through dramatic Harris to melancholy and luminous Vaughan Williams, which reflected in the moonlight from the boat and showed me gentleness. I wish I had recordings of all of them - I have sheet music of some, at least.

I know the world does not ask the things of me that I imagine it does. I know that the relationships that matter are not the ones where anyone is making any account of who does what for whom when. I know there is no need to try to achieve the nebulous success without a form that drives me. I know these things with one half of my mind. But on the other side there is that illogical unbending wrong belief that these are things that matter, and I swing around it like a dog on a chain - only able to move so far.

I am not an animal; I can think my way out of here. Can't I? Eventually, I can work out how to unclip the chain, wear out the collar or uproot the bar. With help, because paws aren't good for that. I can do that. I think. But I must ask for that help. It is there. I have to understand how the chain is made and put together, and then I will be able to see the weaknesses of it.


  1. Thank you for this entry. Especially the last paragraph. I needed to hear that, myself.