Rest in peace. 🖤
Rest in peace. 🖤
Kate Bush cover 🖤
Psalm 126. Countertenor Andreas Scholl and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra with Paul Dyer.
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I know that time is always time
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Lady of silences
Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining
We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,
At the second turning of the second stair
Damp, jagged, like an old man’s mouth drivelling, beyond repair,
At the first turning of the third stair
Lord, I am not worthy
Who walked between the violet and the violet
Made cool the dry rock and made firm the sand
Here are the years that walk between, bearing
White light folded, sheathing about her, folded.
The silent sister veiled in white and blue
But the fountain sprang up and the bird sang down
Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew
And after this our exile
If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Will the veiled sister pray for
O my people, what have I done unto thee.
Will the veiled sister between the slender
Yew trees pray for those who offend her
O my people.
Although I do not hope to turn again
Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
‘Ash-Wednesday’, from Collected Poems 1909-1962 by T S Eliot, © T S Eliot 1963, Faber & Faber Limited
A verse is like a dove seeking a place to lay her eggs
It bursts out and spreads its wings, getting ready to fly away
My song is a song of freedom that I want to give away
(My song is a song of freedom)
To those who like shaking hands and to those willing to open fire
(My song is a song of freedom)
My song is like an endless chain
(My song is like an endless chain)
My song is like an endless chain without beginning and without end
In each one of its links you find the song of every man
Yes the song of every man
Let’s keep on singing together
Let’s sing to everyone on earth
(Let’s keep on singing together)
Since singing is like a dove who has yet a place to find,
It bursts out and spreads its wings to fly away
My song is a song of freedom…
“Songs as truthful as a dream/flow as steady as a stream/A stream of knowledge and of pain…”
If any words summed up the work of Raymond Chikapa Enoch Phiri, who died of lung cancer on Wednesday, aged 70, in his birthplace, Nelspruit, it was those. They come from the 1986 song he co-wrote with the Ashley Subel: Whispers in the Deep (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy9QPjUkvvM) – a song that became one of the decade’s anthems of liberation, and lives still.
Phiri’s Malawi-born father, “Just Now” Phiri, was a guitarist, and that family history gives the lie to all the xenophobic myths that cringe before colonialist borders. Migrant workers just like ‘Just Now’ built the economy, and fattened capitalist profits with their sweat. But they also built South African culture and music through the sharing, swapping and inventing of ideas that took place in hostels, shebeens and backyards. The king of instruments…
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You can’t feel angry at nature. You can’t feel angry at biology. We’re all going to die — that’s a very difficult thing to take in — and we all experience this process.
It feels as if there’s this person — in your head, mainly — trapped in this physiological stock that only survives 70 to 80 years, normally, in any decent condition. It starts deteriorating at a certain point, and then for half of your life, if not more, you watch this material begin to fray. And there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re trapped inside it; and when it goes, you go.
I think the sense of a self trapped in something is impossible to get over. That’s the origin of all dualisms — Platonic, Cartesian or whatever. There’s no way that we can be conscious and not feel ‘I am in my body.’
Of course, you can try to come to terms with death, try to shift the axis of your activities to things that are less body-dependent as you get older: your body neither is as attractive to other people nor does it function in the way that is pleasurable to you.
But it also should be said that a lot of our ideas about what we can do at different ages and what age means are so arbitrary — as arbitrary as sexual stereotypes. People say all the time: ”Oh, I can’t do that. I’m 60. I’m too old.” Or ”I can’t do that. I’m 20. I’m too young.” Why? Who says so?
I think that the old-young polarization and the male-female polarization are perhaps the two leading stereotypes that imprison people. The values associated with youth and with masculinity [and I must add here cis-het whiteness] are considered to be the human norms, and anything else is taken to be at least less worthwhile or inferior. Old people have a terrific sense of inferiority. They’re embarrassed to be old. What you can do when you’re young and what you can do when you’re old is as arbitrary and without much basis as what you can do if you’re a woman or what you can do if you’re a man…
…This may be my limitation — and it probably is — but I cannot understand the truth except as the negation of falsehood. I always discover what I think to be true by seeing that something else is false: the world is basically full of falsehood, and the truth is something carved out by the rejection of falsehood. In a way, the truth is quite empty, but it’s already a fantastic liberation to be free of falsehood.
– Read the full interview here: Susan Sontag to Jonathan Cott, in Rolling Stone,1978.
Follow Asanda Msaki Mvana HERE.
The sample at the beginning is Charles Manson, which adds a whole new dimension to this very beautiful song.
… That’s what you had to come back for: the lament that we omitted. Can you hear me? I would like to fling my voice out like a cloth over the fragments of your death, and keep pulling at it until it is torn to pieces, and all my words would have to walk around shivering, in the tatters of that voice; as if lament were enough.
But now I must accuse: not the man who withdrew you from yourself (I cannot find him; he looks like everyone), but in this one man, I accuse: all men. When somewhere, from deep within me, there arises the vivid sense of having been a child, the purity and essence of that childhood where I once lived: then I don’t want to know it. I want to form an angel from that sense and hurl him upward, into the front row of angels who scream out, reminding God.
For this suffering has lasted far too long; none of us can bear it; it is too heavy — this tangled suffering of spurious love which, building on convention like a habit, calls itself just, and fattens on injustice. Show me a man with a right to his possession. Who can possess what cannot hold its own self, but only, now and then, will blissfully catch itself, then quickly throw itself away, like a child playing with a ball. As little as a captain can hold the carved Nike facing outward from his ship’s prow when the lightness of her godhead suddenly lifts her up, into the bright sea-wind: so little can one of us call back the woman who, now no longer seeing us, walks on along the narrow strip of her existence as though by miracle, in perfect safety — unless, that is, he wishes to do wrong. For this is wrong, if anything is wrong: not to enlarge the freedom of a love with all the inner freedom one can summon. We need, in love, to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily; we do not need to learn it.
Are you still here? Are you standing in some corner? You knew so much of all this, you were able to do so much; you passed through life so open to all things, like an early morning. I know: women suffer; for love means being alone; and artists in their work sometimes intuit that they must keep transforming, where they love. You began both; both exist in that which any fame takes from you and disfigures. Oh you were far beyond all fame; were almost invisible; had withdrawn your beauty, softly, as one would lower a brightly colored flag on the gray morning after a holiday. You had just one desire: a year’s long work — which was never finished; was somehow never finished. If you are still here with me, if in this darkness there is still some place where your spirit resonates on the shallow sound waves stirred up by my voice: hear me: help me. We can so easily slip back from what we have struggled to attain, abruptly, into a life we never wanted; can find that we are trapped, as in a dream, and die there, without ever waking up. This can occur. Anyone who has lifted his blood into a years-long work may find that he can’t sustain it, the force of gravity is irresistible, and it falls back, worthless. For somewhere there is an ancient enmity between our daily life and the great work. Help me, in saying it, to understand it.
Do not return. If you can bear to, stay dead with the dead. The dead have their own tasks. But help me, if you can without distraction, since in me what is most distant sometimes helps.
[Translator: Stephen Mitchell]
An excerpt from a talk given at the Community Church in New York in 1963. You can listen to the whole speech here.