Song of Wandering Aengus

A Sampler

4

My children and I arrived home from our epic dinosaur and family visit adventure out west. The day before yesterday we meandered through Dinosaur Provincial Park all day.

The kids didn’t want to leave. Ever.

Here we are. It was a beautiful, hot day.

Now, I am looking out of my studio window at the many feet of snow that arrived here in two storms while we were gone.

A strange Beltaine, but that is ok.

We are not in control.

Love waits … hoping we remember our ancient hand-fasted consummation.

We all seem to keep trying to breathe in this aseptic, puritanical, lovelessness we have been pretending is life…

someone needs to write a song called Waking Up is Hard to Do.

Thanks to my many teachers, I have at least sensed that forgiveness has nearly everything to do with it.

Today, in the video above, I’m sharing a bit of a sample, a wee taste, of the first round, unmastered mix, of my version of Yeats’ extraordinary poem Song of Wandering Aengus.

Before you read the poem and listen to the sample, I wanted to mention I’ve been thinking a lot about Aengus today. My heart cares for him.

He was hungry, and went out fishing.

Then, when he goes “to blow the fire aflame” his appetite is not appeased, it is delayed. The silver trout that was to feed him turns into a glimmering girl, and she calls him by his name and disappears.

He is going to spend his days looking for a much deeper feast than he bargained for.

This song begins my upcoming folk opera (a release date of Feb 2023).

I wanted to start with the longing.

The album will be called Hiraeth, after all: this Welsh word that denotes a home that may have never been.

I wanted to begin this work by compassionately touching and not judging our tendency toward nostalgia.

All of this longing, and this nostalgia, might simply be presumed to be a “pre/trans fallacy”, and while I get the wisdom in this critique, I also wonder if it isn’t part of the deal - and that perhaps romanticism can find its sea legs in deeper waters than shallow wistfulness, if we apply some mercy to it, instead of judge it, or measure it.

To me, this poem is a merciful caress that knows the seeker’s heart through and through and through.

Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,  
Because a fire was in my head,  
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,  
And hooked a berry to a thread;  
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,  
I dropped the berry in a stream  
And caught a little silver trout.  

When I had laid it on the floor  
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,  
And someone called me by my name:  
It had become a glimmering girl  
With apple blossom in her hair  
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.  

Though I am old with wandering  
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,  
I will find out where she has gone,  
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,  
And pluck till time and times are done,  
The silver apples of the moon,  
The golden apples of the sun.

Share