Money, Money, Money, Money

Back in November, I was interviewed by Lizzie O’Leary, host of NPR’s Marketplace Weekend who was querying different kinds of folks about their relationship to money, including me the artist. Our short chat was inspiring and has prompted more writing on the subject. (If you’re interested in listening to the segment, find it here – Nov. 13, 2015.)

Lizzie asked me to explain why I believe it isn’t noble to be a broke artist. We have to free ourselves, I told her, from the very old story that money is evil and has a corrupting influence on our art. That just keeps money at arm’s length.

A person who separates art from money is like someone who walks their bicycle. Money is a vehicle. You don’t walk it, you ride it. You let it take you somewhere, which first means trusting that it can and will show up and support you. Money is currency and green is not its only color.

Asked how I came by my lessons about money, I shared that I’ve had to unravel my own inherited money myths. After years of employment outside the arts, I finally in my mid-30s heeded the call of the voice within that said Sing! Sing full-time. And so I gave up the security of a fantastic corporate job for the chancy life of a nightclub singer. Every time that company’s stock split in the years thereafter, I wondered if I hadn’t made a huge mistake. I was still of the mindset that money showed up as payment for effort and nothing more. Something to put in the bank and live on. That led me down the path of fretting about money too. Luckily, I’ve always surrounded myself with people who really believe in my talent and understand the role that passion and a serious work ethic play in anyone’s success. And I’ve counted on these few trusted souls to nudge me back on the path of art whenever I threatened to veer off into safer havens or defiantly push away money and abundance.

I thought of that while riding my bicycle.
– Albert Einstein
on the Theory of Relativity

I’ve learned that money IS currency in a very broad sense. I’ve learned that when I am true to my art and calling, money will follow me anywhere I wish to go. In fact, it’s often already there waiting for me when I arrive. I trust money. I trust money as current and energy. Money is streaming energy and wants nothing but to flow. Money doesn’t want to be at the center of our lives as artists, it wants to serve what’s at the center of our lives. And it shows up in endless forms, dollars and cents being just one.

To understand why we’re so hung up about money, we have to look at our stories. Across time and all our cultures, we’ve concocted delicious stories around the idea of the poor artist. The poor, hungry, cold, solitary and yet somehow magnificently prolific artist is in our history books, folklore and romance. Poverty, we’ve told ourselves, produces the greatest inspiration – far better paintings, books, poems, plays, films, dances, and songs. The glory of the starving artist is a myth. If you’re starving, you’re not producing. Your mind is on survival, not the sharing of your gifts.

Another story we have is that money is corrupting and ruinous to art. We believe that the artist who becomes successful and amasses wealth will inevitably lose it – her bearings, taste, abilities, integrity, family, health, her very life. And it’s happened often enough that an artist dies and dies young, but not actually because of anything money did or didn’t do. That money is a demon is a myth.

So we actually give mixed messages to money – from “I don’t want you near me” to “I can’t live without you.” We demonize it at the same time as we glorify it. We chase after it with our fretting and anxious thoughts of fear and lack, and wonder why it runs away. Or we put up the blinders and wonder why it never reaches us. Suddenly having not enough money or too much money is the focus, is our daily bread. Now money is at the center of life, and creativity is huddled over in the corner, shivering and starving. That’s the distressing rumble we feel in our tummies when we fret about money. We think we’re hungry for money but we’re really hungry for our creativity. We long for integrity.

So we have to take a broader view of money.  We have to approach it with the understanding that it’s a tool, a vehicle. We have to respect it like we do any other current: a rushing river, the voltage in our walls. Money as currency and current looks like this: a studio in which to create, a patron, a voyage, a meal, a good review (a bad one too), a contract, a contact, a colleague, a student, a mentor, a bill of good health, a stroke of good fortune, whatever makes you smile. Apply this filter to your day as an artist and then ask: Am I wealthy? Am I thriving?

Abundance is our birthright. We were all born as artists, as creators, even though a good many of us have forgotten it. Create and you will never be poor; destroy and you will never be rich. Harbor thoughts of scarcity and poverty, and money will find another place to flow. It’s the way of nature. Open the portals, welcome all visitors, and watch as the money tree grows. And the wheels of life go round and round…

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Give Your Gift Before You Go

This New Year’s morning, my man and I were talking about the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. And about how I have enough decades behind me now to weigh and measure. I’ve been here long enough to attend births, to steward some into their own becoming, and be with others at the doorway to their deaths. Now is my time to bring my experience to the midpoint and say:  It’s a short distance between one and the other.

You can bring birth here
You can bring death here
To this midpoint
To this center, this moment
Which contains all

We artists have a natural urge, a hunger even, to throw ourselves into the world with abandon. We’re inclined to embrace without first needing to understand. Our very pursuit of art is the way IN toward the understanding we seek.

Without our yearning, who would we be? Without our curiosity and wonder, why would we care? Without our sense of abundance and absence, how would we know where to go? We’ve gifted ourselves the gamut of emotions from bliss all the way to regret so that when the music plays, we can move.

Since birth we’ve had placed at our feet infinite treasures. From the first blink of consciousness up to this moment, who we are is a wealth. It doesn’t matter what, it matters that. We’re the totality, the beginning and the end, the first word and the last. Whatever you come across, it’s treasure and there’s more than enough.

There is enough.

Take any experience at all…take a negative one: a betrayal, a theft, a broken bone. The one who sees only the experience suffers many times. The one who sees the gift in the experience suffers only once. The victim is resigned. The maker sees the bounty and gets busy. Experience is a treasure trove. It’s fodder for the craft. We know this.

Make your life your work of art. You’re at the helm, master of brush and baton, mistress of ink and film and marley.  Play with what you’ve lived. Use it with abandon. Draw it back, pull it forward…recreate it. Be selfish, be reckless, be courageous. Be honorable, be humbled, be happy.

If in life you’re an artist, you’re an artist of life. At irregular intervals you stop to consider your time, your distance to events and people, and you begin again. You make anew what you were taught and given, and what you learned and received.

Share what you’ve lived and lay it bare for us. Create a new way for us, a new world of possibility for yourself and for us. When you open, we open. When we discover, you discover. When you are, all can become. This is art. This is also wisdom.

Give to your life the voice of its author.
Your life is your gift.
Give your gift before you go.

Inspiratio

I am swept away by the story of the Rosetta Mission and our landing on Comet 67P!

That it took over 6.4 billion kilometers to reach this landing strip, including all the gravitational assists needed to get our spacecraft there. That it all happened in just 11 years, barely a blip in the history of our species. Like the thousands of years that passed between our first cave etchings and our communication technology today. Also just a blip. Yet right now we’re receiving images from a place we can barely make out with technology we’ve dreamt up, built and sent out there into the vastness of space, to monitor and to study. Staggering. How many years was it from when the Wright Brothers first flew to Philae’s landing yesterday? 111 years. Hm, the number keeps repeating, 1-1-1…

Pure inspiration. I feel wonder and awe, curiosity and pride and love. I sense a deeper inner knowing, vibration and resonance in myself. Like something is calling. An echo…from the future. From inside the mystery. And again, someone has figured out a way to listen. So we can all listen.

Today I’m preparing my home for winter, my small rooftop apartment in Brooklyn and tuning into the live coverage from Europe as I go. It seems superfluous to spend time in this way, except that I have my hands in some dirt and that feels nice. I stop and gape at these photographs that are coming to me live. I see them the moment everyone else does, not a week or a month from now in a science journal. That alone blows my mind!

The rest of the news is there. The places on earth where this event has not touched down, where a man and a woman have not put down their arms and armor. That is the way of it too. Our heads are in the sand until they’re not. And every now and then we humans give ourselves a giant gift that says – Look Up!

This project was organized for no other purpose than to learn. Vision and science, hand in hand with technology. The ESA joining with teams in the U.S. and Asia, countries in every hemisphere. No political agenda, no race to be first, no “us-them” competitive underpinning. Pure exploration, pure curiosity, pure devotion. The best impetus in us.

But this is what I love thinking about most: how at this very moment in the hearts and minds of very young children all over the world something of a future purpose is being born. A switch is being thrown right now in this one and that one which will begin to grow and glow. That’s how it starts. Inspiration, then ignition. From the Latin inspiratio – with divine guidance.

A switch was thrown in me a long time ago. Artist, called to art. I did not heed the call for some years and then I did. Artists are being born right now, this second, over this event. Scientists, musicians, filmmakers, writers, philosophers, explorers, climbers, visionaries, dreamers and creators are all being turned on by this glimpse into the heavens and our deepest yearnings. We need all these switches thrown. All the switches that would lead us beyond ourselves and back again. All the flames that would illuminate our pathways, and make of night our days. That would take us beyond the “I am I” and “you are you” and just simply orient our eyes on the stars which did surely birth us and to which we will surely return. One, by one. One.

I see in Rosetta a mirror for all that is available to be sought and explored, in the world outside and the one in here. This achievement, this determined and carefully stewarded mission and all that are like it, shows us just how far we can travel outside ourselves, peacefully and openly. And how far we can go in the other direction, peacefully and openly. For the mystery is one and the same. I believe we can revel in the mystery of space out there because we in fact can revel in it inside ourselves. We sent that probe because we are that probe. We are that return. And, in the span of a few days of life when measured against it all, we are the landings. All of them.

“Contact light.”
The actual first words spoken from the surface of the Moon, by Buzz Aldrin on 20 July 1969 when Apollo 11 landed.


When Artists Die

I really didn’t know much about Philip Seymour Hoffman until he died. I hadn’t seen most of his films and none of his plays. Yet I’ve been moved to read about him. His unexpected death struck a chord and prompted people to weigh in on not only how he died but how lived. I found it fascinating that people weighed in on the matter of PSH’s death. That they judged his death. That they accounted for all his talent and riches and said it wasn’t enough for him to continue living.

Last week Erv Raible, cabaret impresario, also passed away. The last time I saw him was two years ago when he was one of six of us at an intimate dinner party hosted by a mutual and treasured friend, and I got to know Erv Raible a little bit more. Erv loved this artform and devoted himself to its practitioners . He owned/managed venues where I had my firsts: Don’t Tell Mama where I made my NY cabaret debut as singer and later as director, and the Duplex, where I first came onto the scene as a producer. Erv’s passion helped usher in my own emergence as an artist. That’s his legacy to me.

On the heels of PSH’s passing, ER’s death has also generated a lot of dedications on Facebook and elsewhere. It seems that when a person dies we really get to know who they were, how they lived, what they gave and who they inspired.

Suppose both of these gentlemen had had enough of living and decided it was enough and timely for them to go. One died in the hospital after a long illness, the other alone in his apartment. We have such trouble letting people live on their terms and die on their terms. We judge it in an effort to make sense of it.

I think it comes back to fear. Not fear of dying but fear of living. Fear of power, and the power of our will. If I were to truly exercise my power and my will, what would happen? I might live and be happy. Is it death we really fear and that makes us squirm or is it life?

We die so many times while we’re alive, every day, every second. You’d think we’d have gotten used to it by now. That final ending. How can we the living say its final? Because we do it all the time. We have built in all these living deaths along the way to remind us that there is no end to us. We exhale, we inhale – we stop, we go – we sleep, we awaken. We die…we’re reborn in someone’s memory.

PSH possibly reached more people in his death than he did in his life. Outside his circles of family and theater and film, he’s been all over the news and magazine covers and Facebook. Like others before and others to come. In the stage artist, the father, the addict, the man, the human being, we see something of ourselves. He performances registered, on stage, on screen and off. He showed us what passion looks like, his and our own, and in this recognition is a birth. Something in us comes alive, something is born. That is recognition. It may be an “ah” that lasts for 7 seconds. But in those 7 seconds there is more light than shadow and more life than not.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages. – William Shakespeare


Channel Magic

You’ve got to find some way of saying it, without saying it. – Duke Ellington

In cabaret, I’ve experienced enormous freedom. I’ve lived moment-to-moment for an hour at a time, using anything that comes up in myself and offering that to my musicians and my audience. The result of my dipping into my own emotional palette is that others dip into theirs – their own emotions and stories and memories. And so it cycles ’round and ’round.

This is why the audience is so essential to the cabaret experience – because of this intimate and immediate exchange that happens. The magic happens when a channel opens, a channel of interpretation that connects us in limitless ways to each other and to something beyond ourselves.

Learning cabaret has helped me learn life. Just as I’ve spent years getting out of my own way on-stage and out of the way of what seeks to express itself through me, I’ve freed myself off-stage too. I’m better today at feeling empathy, at managing fear, at listening, at making mistakes, at lowering my expectations and letting myself be surprised. I’m better at trust.

The goal for me as singer is not to sing at all. The goal is to channel. To open myself to the emotions, ideas and messages that are at hand and to understand how that will sing itself. My method can be reduced to being fearlessly willing to stay open in the moment. To not “put” anything out there or put anything on, but rather to allow myself to be put out there. My work is as much about vanishing as it is about arriving.

Excellent performance is a matter of being rather than doing. It’s handing myself over and that takes time. Time and practice and trust. Ironically, before one can hand oneself over as an artist one has to first accumulate oneself. You can’t give up what you don’t possess. To release the self from performance requires a hearty self-consciousness, an amassing of self and an ever-increasing confidence to let go. And so we pack on the training and the experience and the “me/mine” for many, many years.

As singer and teacher today, I release myself from my preparation and live as freely as possible on-stage. I am not tied to my interpretation of a song (even the one I rehearsed yesterday) or my ideas about stagecraft. I dip into these things as needed – catch them, bring them to earth, let them go. Performance is like any language. I’ve learned it, it is in service to me and in opening to it, it brings itself forth.

In my workshops and privately, my students come with their presentations and I observe. Ideas comes to me as I watch and listen and I note my feelings as they occur. Then we play. The student guides herself to refine her piece, change it, polish it, transform it. I am the witness, the nudger. My aim is not to change the way she is expressing herself. I want that to be natural and real and on her terms. My aim is to help her bring herself to that channeling place, and to place her expression in a certain frame. I am an enframer, yes.

I strive to sing my songs the same way, as I would speak them. I let them come to me. I let the audience come to me. Allow, allow, allow. That’s when the magic happens.


How I Prepare a Song: 6 Steps

Step 1. Whether I find them or they find me, my songs move me musically and lyrically. Sometimes the melody hooks me first, sometimes the lyric. If a song appeals to me musically but not lyrically, I won’t sing it. I’ll give it to the band to play. Lyrics are key. I can’t sing a song I haven’t lived. I can vocalize it, but I can’t really sing it. I have to be able to bring something to it from my own life experience. Indeed, there are many beautiful songs I have not taken into my body. Beautiful, as sung by others.

Photo: rand alhadeff

Photo: rand alhadeff

Step 2. I check the song’s vital signs:  title, composers, year, language, dominant emotion, secondary emotion, texture and rhythm. I ask myself “who am I here?” (me or a character?), and “who am I singing to?” (myself, another person, the audience directly). Does the song take place now, in the past or in the future? Is it a recollection, or a wish?

Step 3. Next I feel my way into the song’s “gender” and “color.” Some songs feel masculine to me, some feminine, and some neutral/neuter. The texture is variably coarse or soft, assertive or yielding, gritty or buttery. You might say that my “signature” songs all have a complex mixture of textures, making them compelling to me and worth every effort. From texture I get a sense of color so that when I structure a setlist, I can sort out the red songs from the pink, the black ones from the blues, the oranges from the yellows. Voila! – this is also how I get the color I will take to my lighting technician for that song. And decide on costume. The colors that my songs wear help me choose my dress color for the night.

Step 4. Depending on the nature of the gig, I may really dig into the song’s history. When was it written and why and for whom? If it’s not a contemporary piece, I ask – “What was the world like then?” I may decide to use this in my patter (what I say between songs or song sections), or keep it to myself. Either way, doing some homework gives me a deeper connection to my message and a sense of authority with a song. Both will come through in my interpretation.

Step 5. I memorize it. Word after word, repetition after repetition until I know it by….head. I was going to say “heart” but in the first several outings with a new song, it’s still mostly a heady thing for me. It takes time for me to know the song by heart. Like any love affair.

Step 6. I play with my songs forever. They are among the best investments I make in life and their return is priceless. Through my many moods and circumstances and years, my songs grow with me and change according to who accompanies them and who hears them. The musicians come up with their own ideas; the audience leaves its own signature on the table. When my songs have run their course, I let them go. Ah, were it possible to give up anything as easily as I give up a song when I know the time has come.

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For us stage artists who use words – singers, actors, poets, comedians and clowns – we sure have our fun with words! Words beg to be nuzzled, caressed, floated, struck, oozed, dribbled, slapped around, spit out, swallowed whole, taken by vowel, taken by consonant, taken high, taken low and every place in between. And they don’t mind being left out.

Words and silence need each other like hot needs cold, day needs night, sun needs moon, freckles need skin, and this sentence needs a period.

Note to actors, voice-over artists, public speakers and others: If you have a script, you can follow these steps as well. Have fun!


A Glorious School for the Heart

 “Nature is a glorious school for the heart! I shall be a scholar in this school
and bring an eager heart to her instruction. Here I shall learn wisdom, the only wisdom that is free from disgust; here I shall learn to know God and find a foretaste of heaven in His knowledge. Among these occupations my earthly days shall flow peacefully along until I am accepted into that world where I shall no longer be a student, but a knower of wisdom.” – from Beethoven’s Diary, 1818

Okay, I’m going to risk being unpopular and say: I am loving this winter! And I’m happy to hear more snow is coming! Was that a snowball that just hit me in the back of the head? Could you at least have used less tired snow? – ick.

I’m not being sarcastic. This really has been one of the most beautiful winters ever. It’s true that I keep no kids or pets or car here, am able to adjust my days when snow comes and work from home, and go out just for pleasure and exercise. That makes a difference, I know. But before you pelt me with another white (uh, gray) stinger, let me share why I love the stuff:

Purity. Nothing is like snowfall. It defies imitation. In dusting the earth, even in blowing hard, it is purely and simply snow. It’s our atmosphere (so far we still have one) whirling about, dancing, coming to rest in windswept dunes. At the center of our hearts, we all love snow. What’s not to love? Snow is delicate, clean and white. It brings us back to something simpler, someone we remember, some place long gone. Snow brings intention. It has a clarifying effect. When it blankets us, we get to see what really counts – in our work and our play, on that day and on that shopping list.

Presence. Snow is a thing of this moment. Young and old, it has a quieting effect on our psyches and souls. Before it lays there, dirty and pee-stained and blocks our way, it’s a thing of beauty, right now. And we move differently through it – more conscientiously, softly and slowly. We think of ourselves and the person next to us. Like magic, snow brings out the best in us.  When it’s soft and fluffy and shimmering in sunlight, we love it. When it’s black and hard, we don’t. Everything that sticks around is like that. Settle too long in one place and you too will become dark and hard and be in someone’s way. That’s what snow does most for me. It nudges me back on the path.

Protection. Take heart. We’re going to have an amazing spring! Right now under all that protected ground, the earth and all its creatures are busy storing up their energies and reserves and protecting all the seeds. We call it the dead of winter, but there’s nothing dead about it. Another conceit of us humans, just because we can’t see something taking place. Nature doesn’t fault us. Soon she will gift us with a ground-breaking, death-defying, orgasmic Pop!, Pow!, Brr!, Shrrr!, Buzz! Breeeeee! Weeeee! Swang! Swing!….Spring! And that will be a great time for artists and lovers.

Poetry. Go ahead and take your inspiration now for snow is a poem. Snow is a story, a slice of a season, a gasp from a cloud. Snow is a pirouette, a prayer, a curse. It’s silence, a shadow, a whisper. Snow is light. It alights. Like a brushstroke, and a lyric. Thank God it’s here now and not coming down in July. That would really be shitty. Take your inspiration now. Take it before it’s gone. Gone for….good.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, Feb 2014


Harmony is for the Birds

Let’s face it: some music is really hard on the ears! I don’t mean the noise that’s out there, I mean the real and serious music. What makes music rough is this beautiful, unstable and highly useful thing called dissonance. In a dissonant chord, the notes aren’t aligned harmonically and so the sound is tense and unpleasant. But dissonance doesn’t last. It can’t. A dissonant chord wants to, has to, resolve. And so it’s always in motion toward some new place, some integrated and harmonious place. A still point.

If we look around us and feel into ourselves, our entire universe is flowing between these states of instability and alignment. Our very lives are organized around this phenomenon of tension and release. And as artists we love this! These states course through our craft and the more that we’re aware of them and employ them, the more effective and communicative we become. Where instability is missing, we create it. We set up tensions in music, in dialogue, in movement. We give, we hold back. We show, we conceal. We grate, we soothe.

Consider that everything inside us and in the world around us – the conflicts, let’s say – are there in service to us, seeking to resolve themselves in us and through us. Our very impetus to make art may just be the avenue we’ve chosen to give meaning to life and to nature’s inherent conflicts and tensions, its ebb and flow, its instability and balance. Trust therefore that what you perceive as something unresolved in your life – a task, a relationship, a reality – is right now working its way toward alignment, with and without your input.

This too shall pass. It has to.

The way of chords is also the way of questions. The question that hangs out there unresolved is moving toward the answer. Like a chord it has to resolve itself…and bring another question and an answer after that. And so it goes, like the sun around the earth and all the seasons. Therefore embrace the instability in your life. It’s temporary. Accept it. Use it. Every day, throw yourself off! Leave your still point. Leave something behind – the harmony maybe. Risk that.
What happens next may be the sweetest sound you ever heard.


The Seed Within

Within us all there is a seed of resplendent life force. We artists feel it especially. This seed lies in its casing, a hard exterior shell. 

We have to let the flowering take place. For an artist this is always a necessity…this having to bloom. We cannot help it. We can hinder it, prevent it, stifle it, go another way. It does not go away. It is patient. It waits for us. And then, when we allow it… even then we cannot help it. It grows itself.

Resistance to it comes from the mind and through the body. It does not come through the heart. The heart may race with fear as easily as with exuberance. The two are the same when fear feels exuberant and exuberance, fearsome. Both originate in thought, in mind. And we resist. We resist feeling fear and we resist feeling exuberance.

My life in art has been a long path of getting out of the way of the flowering. Of not putting up walls and other defenses. Of becoming increasingly trusting. Of listening. I have thrown myself into the stream and sometimes I have floated and sometimes I have been hurled into rocks and I have come close to drowning more than once. Here my mind, my ego, has come to be a necessary ally. And I have survived, with the seed intact. And this seed has grown and begot new seeds. And that’s what it means to live as an artist. To sow the seeds of our destiny and see the path we must follow.  Like Hansel & Gretel and their breadcrumbs, only with better results. 

At whatever time you awaken to the seed that stirs within you, that is where you start….whether you’re a child or a very big grown-up. No matter how old you are or how you look or who you’ve been or what you’ve done. Or haven’t been and haven’t done. Start there. Begin to listen.

The other voices in your head will be there too. They will have you wait until some certain time, or some other thing happens first or is achieved – when I turn 21, when I quit my job, when I quit my marriage, as soon as the kids are gone, as soon as I lose 50 pounds, as soon as my father dies, as soon as I have a million on account – are stories. Set the story straight. Start where you are. Become the one who begins at last.

Everything comes from nothing. You have an inspiration, your intuition tells you something, turn in. Listen to that something, attune to it. It is the stirring of your seed.

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It needs your attuning and that’s really all it needs. Just your attention. Attune to it, believe in it, and watch what happens next. You are given things…clues, ideas, instrumental people, energy. Soon the seed becomes a root and a stem and a branch and a bud. The flowering happens naturally. Our job is to cultivate the seed, to make fertile the earth and to water it all the way into budding with our love and our belief. We can let others love it and believe it for us first, before we do. It’s all the same to the seed.

No flower asks for permission to bloom. It blooms in its own time. Claiming our birthright as artists is like making a pact with nature. Our responsibility is to the seed. Nature takes care of the rest. Our true nature.

If you are reading this posting, then something has likely already stirred in you. Your soul has been aroused from its deep sleep, or perhaps from a recent nap. Long ago or just this morning. It has called you to art. What will you do now?

A new year is an impressive time. It always feels pregnant to me. All of us people on earth who count the years, and that’s most of us, are focussed on this turning. And we feel it collectively, that focus. All those intentions and all that dreaming. Very potent.

Some things will stick. Some seeds will pop out of their shells. Some won’t.

Don’t set yourself up too broadly, too vigorously, hang up too many hooks around yourself. Pick a thing that is your heart’s desire and feed that. Just one essential thing. What is it you dream of most nights? What have you known about for as long as you can remember? What inkling have you had time and time again…

Here in the northern hemisphere it’s winter and all the seeds are dormant in the earth.

Any day is New Years day, all the live long year.


Love Is Most High

leather-email01Love is most high
More high than sky
More salty than the tear
From my Beloved’s eye
And sweeter than a drop of dew
Born in a strand of morning’s new

For love is tall
More tall than all
More patient than the ancient earth
Awaiting autumn’s fall
And restless as a song of spring
Unthroated and untiring

For love is first
More first than thirst
More swift than any arrow
Of a blessed cherub cursed
More instant than the kiss of death
More languishing than heaven’s breath

For love is free
More free than we
More innocent and ignorant
Of our necessity
More yielding than the tempered shield
That binds the fortress to the field

For love is true
More true than blue
More black and red and lavender
Than anybody knew
And how about the fool love is
How cruel love is and old

For love is bold
More bold than told
More telling than a corpse can say
Once she has gone to cold
More fleeting than a shadowplay
More durable than this fine day

For love is high
More high than sky
More all than all
For love is all


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