Saturday, March 11, 2006

A Soul For Sale

A Soul For Sale:

Once again I sit and pen some words to give some shape to feelings.  Once again I listen to some music in the background.  This time it is Luca Bloom singing “Water Ballerina”, a fine touching love song.  I have just searched through some old documents and letters on my laptop and find two letters and several poems I wrote for a former love of my life.  It is more than two years since I last saw Kathy (not her real name as I don’t wish to identify her), and our parting was not the easiest for either of us.   I notice the intensity of feelings in those letters and poems.  It’s somewhat hard for me to re-capture the passion of the first few poems I wrote.  It’s almost as if someone else had penned those lines.  It’s as if I were reading poems from the hand of another poet.  Yet as I re-read the letters I discovered old truths and new truths – old truths about how important relationships are in all our lives.  I discovered new truths about sincerity and honesty – the letters were nothing if not honest.   I also noticed how blind I was to how lost this person was – she suffers from schizophrenia.  I hadn’t realised this until rather late in the relationship.  Love is truly blind.  I still often think of Kathy and wish her well, and wish her every blessing under the sun.  I hope she is happy and not too alone these days and nights.

Why did I entitle this piece “A soul For Sale”?  Well, I feel that all artists, be the writers, poets, musicians, painters, architects, songwriters, singers etc put their very souls into what the do.  I have often marvelled as I stood and listened to a busker on Grafton Street, and a lot of them sing their very own songs.  As Brush Shields said recently on the Joe Duffy Hour: “A song writer’s song is his/her baby” and yes they do feel rejected if someone pours scorn on their offspring.  I loved his metaphor.  My poems are each and every one of them my babies.  When we are in a close relationship our souls are very much for sale.  This is me, the real me – here I am in all my authenticity, with all my strengths and weaknesses, with all my good and bad points.  In such a relationship I feel “deep calls unto deep” if I may quote the psalmist of the Old Testament.

“There is nothing only emptiness inside”, the words of Luca Bloom in the background as I pen these words, in a song called “Forgiveness”.  Filling and emptiness are two very important metaphors in relating to others and indeed in spirituality.  St Paul says that God poured out his life for us in Jesus Christ his Son and thereby filled our emptiness.  He uses the Greek term “Kenosis” to describe this pouring out.  When a relationship ends we naturally feel empty and lost.  Something or some very important presence has departed and left us feeling “empty”.

A friend of mine told me that the best thing I could do after the break-up with Kathy was to fill the emptiness with another relationship, or at least with something that would keep me occupied.

Live performances by any great musician or singer capture what I mean by “soul for sale”.  Really good performances fill any emptiness inside.  I have been concerts by Christy Moore and Aslan and have found them really enervating and overwhelming.  Such performances are tantamount to spiritual experiences.  Perhaps they are supplanting the traditional Churches, and perhaps they are in essence the churches of today.

I will finish this post by alluding to a story that Glen Hansard of the Frames tells on one of his CDs.  He was once, he tells us, performing in Prague and happening to go out for a walk.  Crossing a bridge, he stopped to listen to a busker, who in my words was so “authentic” that he “had a soul for sale”.  Glen was so struck with the man’s performance that he took out his mobile and dialled home to record this guy’s live performance on his answering machine.  Listen to Glen’s original version on the following CD:  Breadcrumb Trail

When we are relating to others in an authentic and real and sincere and honest way we “wear our hearts on our sleeves”, we have “a soul for sale” or we put “our baby on show” as it were.  Of course, we may risk rejection.  As we grow in this world we learn when and where we can be really authentic, when it is right and proper to take the risk of rejection.  Can anything worthwhile ever be attained without risk I ask? The image I have inserted above speaks for itself - I entitle it "The Open Gate". That image reflects the "openness of soul" discussed in the above post. I took this picture a week or so ago in Malahide Castle.

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