18 October 2014
Metta, True Souls!
Soon after starting this blog, I recall noting that the visitors revealed by my site statistics were remarkably diverse. This has continued to be the case. I am really amazed and very, very pleased that this is so. Read on, and I’ll share a little more about it, and also why this blog exists in the first place.
My About page doesn’t reveal much about me because I was stalked at my last blog and have become wary. Even so, I don’t mind telling you that I am an aging woman who lives on the West Coast of the US in what we still think of as a fishing village, although fishing is not what it was. I grew up in the Midwest, in a displaced West Virginian family, so I’ve been around. School was not to my liking, as bookish as I am, so it took a few extra years to decide I needed a real education. It absolutely could not be creative writing. I was strongly called to poetry as a vocation and form of mysticism, and swore to myself and my Muse early on that I would never permit a human being to interpose himself between us. Once that decision was made, it was very, very serious, so I did the only thing a poet of my station could do, and I majored in Latin.
Latin was my way of studying the grammar and etymology of my own language and some of the literature that influenced my teachers. It also tied in with my earlier French studies and lasting desire to learn Romanian. My real poetry teachers were mostly English and high-born—I certainly am not! Sidney and Swinburne were privileged, socially and intellectually, in a way that I could not have been, and yet I learned so much from them. They both had a seemingly innate sense of music and cadence that few poets ever master, an instinct for when to tighten up and concentrate, and when to lighten up and let a few lines dance. Poets today seem to think they have to keep the screws on tight all the time. I don’t understand it, myself. It isn’t possible to read more than a few lines like that at a time, if you are really reading. Anyway, even today, Latin is like a skeleton in the shadows of my imagination that I can hang a few scanty threads on, and still conceive a beautiful vision. So many of my visitors are from Romance-language countries. I always thought my syntax would deter a non-English native speaker by its complexity, but perhaps my Latinitas goes further than I knew? I do tend to stick to a very concrete vocabulary; perhaps that helps? In any event—thank you all so much! I am very grateful, and humbled in the face of my earlier doubts, that you have visited, and sometimes like and follow my posts.
Now I am come to a sticky place, and one that has been bothering my conscience: Since my last blog, I no longer seem to know how to get WordPress to follow my orders. I receive email notification of likes and follows, but when I try to visit back and like an About page or a post (and honestly, I do visit every one of you, some many times), a popup shows on my screen, and it is empty. I can tell by the URL that it is asking me to approve an action—i.e., register my ‘like,’ but it is non-functional. Someday I’ll figure it out, but until then—if you’ve visited, and signaled to me, I have at least tried to signal back. I might never have time to be really involved here, but I surely want to do that much!
As to who you are, as I hope I have made you slightly curious. Without ever taking part in social networking or otherwise publicizing this blog, I have seen hits from: China, India, Australia, Canada, many countries in South America, the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Angola, Israel, and so many others—I’m pretty sure I have been visited by guests from every continent except Antarctica. Even those of you from within my own country cover a remarkably broad human spectrum, and the talents you all share between you are astonishing. This all just makes me deliriously happy, it truly does, in a way that ties back in with what I shared with you earlier.
My background is English-speaking going back many centuries. My people are from a remote corner where the ethnic makeup is pretty much what it was two hundred years ago. I learned my profession from some of the most traditional poets in the canon, in the sense that they drew on much earlier Classical lineages. And yet, I grew up on hillbilly music, raised my own self on recordings of Welsh folk songs (yes, in Welsh, of course!), and have always depended on dancing to get my blood stirring and at the same time to enter trance in order to be able to compose poetry. That always meant high-energy music, preferably with words and a singer, and that usually meant popular song. What haven’t I danced to, and then made poems! I won’t bother naming names. Just know that, over the years, as I have grown in my work, I have needed to seek out deeper and stronger sources of song. Some of them today are Celtic, but most of them are African-American, and strongly gospel. That’s just where the lived experience sings out most eloquently, in my current listening and dancing experience. I have posted links to her recordings before, and many are available on YouTube, but just to be very clear, I have a serious teacher now who is not English, not high-born, and not male, but I love her more than I can say. Her name is Dorothy Love Coates.
Other profound and powerful singers help me hew close to inspiration now, including some I would never had heard if I had not just clicked on link after link. Elizabeth Evans, you’ll wait right here! I know you will. I’m going to keep on listening, singing, dancing, listening again, and composing, but I can feel something changing. My entire life has changed over the last few years. For the longest, time, it seemed the most important service I could render to song was to go as deep as I could, retrieve the most visionary images I could, preserve the most feeling language I could, and to formalize it into the least-corruptible lines I could. Now—while I still believe in what I have done—I also feel called to reconnect with the more human-voiced natural language of those around me. I’ve been out among the angels for almost a little too long, learning their ways better than my own brothers’ and sisters’, and yet I’m not worried about making it home someday; I know I will. I know we will. God will remember me! That would be the voice of Albertina Walker in my heart just now. I’m going to get up on my feet and get dancing pretty soon. For now, just know you’ve all reached me, and I know your excellent and blessed work will help us all wind back around to speak and sing the common tongue we all share. It will partly be English for me, but—it will mostly be WE ARE SOULS WHO LOVE AND COME FROM LOVE.
Thank you all so much for being here. We all believe in poetry and song. What else is there? What else connects us so deeply, to each other and something More?
That’s a real question, but its answer has no end, and neither has true song.