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Posts tagged ‘love’

If This Were A Film

If this were a film
You would show up at my door
Sweating slightly, awkward and humble
Love in your eyes like a big panther that doesn’t know where to put its paws
You would stutter slightly and ask to come in
I would look surprised and somewhat preoccupied, with an air of suspicion
Aloof and yet totally open, like a glass lake
You would say something funny, not that funny, but funny enough to make me smile
And on seeing me smile your face would break out into its glorious grin and I would have no choice
But to just dive in
We would take a walk in Regent’s Park
No matter that it’s 40 minutes away by train with 2 changes
In films you can get from A to B without really travelling there
And so it would be with us
Talking and strolling I would soften
As it became clear how far you’d come
The trials you had endured just to be there
You would listen with curiosity and a grace that comes with almost losing everything
I would see the whole person for once, no longer blinded by fantasy
And the audience would feel gently reassured that we had earned each other
Despite our differences they could see it working out
(Whatever that means)
The film would close on a subtle shot of you looking at me
The way you sometimes do, with a kind of blissful bafflement
Content not to know
Eyes half-closed in complete surrender
The credits would roll
The crowds would leave the theatre with cheer and humour –
‘Did you see his face?’ and ‘She was mighty strange’
‘I wouldn’t have put up with that, would you?’
But deep down feeling some common glow
That for some people, somewhere, scenarios like this
Really do play out, it’s not all completely hopeless
And maybe they too could see the better parts of themselves
Unfettered by the grinds of what is considered to be reality,
Learn to forgive in public, buy oranges, tip waiters, make implausible journeys,
Love wholeheartedly
If this were a film

 

 

Image by Bruce McAdam from Reykjavik, Iceland 

A Beautiful Dream

Grit flying in my face and the wind in my hair
I went to dismantle the illusion that held you here
A castle on top of a hill overlooking a lake
I climbed the stairs to the place where you must have been
Only hours before
Just to feel you a little longer
Together we hauled planks of wood
Packed up condiments and cake
Stacked the remains of a beautiful dream
Until later
Dirty hot and riding in the back of a tractor
Wedged between fridges and weights and shelves
My body aching from longing and heavy lifting
I returned to my van for a lie down
To find your scent still hanging in the air
Dressing my hair
And the sheets of the bed we broke together
I lay down with you in mind
The memory of your shape against mine
The laughter and luminous joy of our last night’s play
I thought of the way you conjure words that weave magic and mystery around my mermaid smile
While mine are blunt and crude as my fear of losing you
When I awoke chilly and alone
And saw that Berlin is big and you are far
I felt disheartened and bewildered
Until I remembered
That this desolate spinning star
Revolves on the fuel of the fire we breathe
In and out of each other
Somewhat revived
I put on my oceanic beads and went out to join the dancing and goodbyes
Later as the sun failed to rise
I packed up my own illusion
Burning with the sadness of not being held
Grabbed my guitar and headed for the slippery train
So hard to hold onto anything
As the remains of summer kiss the bright sky
I watch the past unfold into the present at alarming speed
And wonder what will become of us
Now the damage is done

Istanbul to Kiev and beyond

Every time I go on retreat things fall apart a bit more. This is said to be a good thing, although at the time it feels excruciating. The layers continue to peel off and the same questions percolate: what am I doing? where am I heading? what’s behind everything I do? My latest realisation is that what is behind everything I do is love. And what confuses this is fear. When I am connected to myself, my work and my life and the way I manifest in the world become an expression of love.

That’s a good start but it’s hard to pin down what it means exactly. It’s even harder to marry it up with the often painful, frustrating and lonely path of an artist. I have been thinking more and more about the value of what I create and where it fits into this impossibly diverse and hectic kaleidoscope of a planet we share. One piece of work I am really proud of is a song that I wrote last year for the Wilding Festival, called ‘We Will Be Heard.’ I really struggled with this song. I wrote at least seven versions before I came up with this one.

The inspiration that was guiding me at the time was the protests that were going on in Turkey surrounding the prospective demolition of Gezi Park. I was moved and impressed by the way people came together to stand up for themselves and their community. I felt that there was clear evidence of a common human spirit that when ignited will stand against corruptive forces.

There are many other examples of this, before and since. The crisis in Ukraine is now in its third month, and since November has involved many instances of violence by police against peaceful protesters. It’s a complex situation and not one that I intend to attempt to elucidate here, although I have found this article particularly helpful in understanding its genesis. Most recently people kicked back against an anti-protest law which was set to restrict freedom of speech and action against the government.

I am certainly no expert on politics and do not consider myself a political songwriter. If I could offer anything at all to people in times of struggle I would want it to be hope, strength and inspiration to continue manifesting with dignity the basic goodness of humanity. If Nelson Mandela taught us anything then surely it is that.

The song I wrote inspired a close friend of mine to create a video out of a wide range of footage documenting similar protests in Brazil, Turkey, USA and beyond. I was touched to receive messages of thanks and solidarity from people all over the world who had been inspired by this. At the time of producing the song I was entering a period of extreme chaos in my own personal life, which made it difficult for me to do much more than upload it to youtube and watch the view count. My intention for this year however is to give the song a further life and I am now looking for a charity with whom to collaborate on its release.

Perfect Love

 

Last night, as I prepared to launch my new music video for ‘Perfect Love,’ I discovered something rather curious, and wonderful. Chögyam Trungpa, Buddhist meditation master, teacher, poet, artist – the list continues – and perhaps the most important person in my life that I never met, also wrote a poem entitled ‘Perfect Love.’ It’s published by Shambhala Publications, in a volume called ‘Mudra,’ including poems that he wrote between 1959 and 1971, described as ‘spontaneous and celebratory.’

Whilst I am in no way comparing myself to this great teacher, I can’t help but be excited by the coincidence, especially since the manner in which I came up with my song could also be described as spontaneous and celebratory. I was actually rehearsing another song at the time, and as I struck the last chord, I made a mistake. However in stead of stopping to correct myself, I simply kept playing, and the new song just kind of rolled on out.

A frequently quoted phrase of Chögyam Trungpa’s is ‘first thought, best thought.’ As I understand it, this doesn’t exactly mean that the first thought you have is necessarily the best, but rather the unedited version, the spontaneous one, the one that just comes out when you are totally on the spot – the one it can be hard to trust because you didn’t exactly ‘do’ it.

When I was writing the song I didn’t fully know what it was about, it was more like uncovering a code than constructing something new. Then when I realised what it meant, I decided to dedicate it to a couple of friends that were getting married and had asked me to sing at their wedding. A nice kind of synchronicity.

In Trungpa’s poem, which you can read in full on the Chronicles website, he says:

‘What is going to be is what is,

That is love”

Some kind of acceptance of things as they are? When I played my song to my best friend she asked me if my boyfriend was upset, because the song suggested things weren’t perfect. Firstly I said, ‘well you know, it’s not exactly just about me…’ and then I explained that I don’t see it as a negative thing to accept what is – rather it’s an aspiration for me.

That’s not to say that you should just make do and never try to improve a situation that’s not working. But that you can’t even begin to improve things if you don’t accept how they are now… And in any case, striving for absolute perfection – does that ever bring about happiness?

There is much more to his poem, and I hope that I will continue to understand it more and more. But for the moment, until the next craving seizes me, I am content in the knowledge that our creative paths crossed for a moment, his and mine.

And to complete the circle, another song on the Water Snakes EP, ‘Save Me,’ is dedicated to him.

You can stream and/or purchase the full EP on Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Gogoyoko; it’s also available on iTunes.