Friday, 8 March 2019

A Song for Emily

Liminal Reflections

The tapestry of family is woven slowly. Each new arrival brings her or his unique and unrepeatable essence to the play of light and dark, of smooth and rough, of defined and vague that progressively finds expression through the years, through the decades.

The tapestry of family broadens as each child in turn conjoins with their own beloved and the weave widens to encompass interpenetrating stories, interpenetrating lives by which each individual's experience is further nourished and enriched.

The tapestry of family reflects an endless generational renewal whereby our love continuously extends beyond itself to embrace, to welcome and to share in ever-widening circles of relationship.

As a family, the adults in our household have in recent years prepared and exchanged artful representations of each other - rather than purchasing gifts - when we gather together to celebrate Christmas. These have included drawings, collages, sculpture, music and poetry. A Song for Emily was written and performed as my Christmas 2018 offering for Emily, our beloved daughter-in-law and mother of three of our beautiful grandchildren.


A Song for Emily can be streamed using the media player above. A CD quality mp3 file can be downloaded here.

Production Notes

Doxent Zsigmond: Path of Glass
Nico Di Stefano:   Viaggio
(Remix: VDS)


A Song for Emily

When first you came into our lively lives
'Twas through the son who brightened by degrees
The muse of patterned sound and sounding harmonies.
Your eye was sharp and fine and imaged well
The fading shades well-veiled within the light,
The hidden life behind the outer form,
The artful beauty of a flashing glance,
The moment caught, revealed within the frame.

A bold departing drew you further on
Full at the wheel towards the northern skies
Among companions dear, and newly won
In fields of sound, and growing sympathies
Within a time of freedom and reprieve.
As two together joined in love make three
So too in time your family was to grow
On your return to more familiar ground.

The house beside the sea now left behind
A new abode in midst of forest airs,
Of many rooms and energies endowed
Where friends by night and day would gather, partake
In time together, cheered by bread and wine.
But every flock when nesting time begins
Disperses and divides in ones and twos
To find a home where two may come to three.

The soft and warming waters welcome gave
To one, then two, then three, now family fair.
And days and nights once free and unrestrained
Turned then to newer sounds and newer needs -
Though all in truth more ancient than the songs
Long sung in soft and lilting lullabies
To sooth the cry, to comfort and to hold
The precious love each new arrival brings.

The odyssey of love no soul may tell
Nor fathom its extremes, its secret depths,
Its promised joys, its hidden tests and stress,
Its call for mother's glow, for father's strength.
The ways of love will carry us beyond
All unexpected hopes and silent tears
To reach at last the treasure hidden still
Within the well of time, and family.


1. Fathersong. For Sofia Celestia

Fathersong is my Christmas 2017 offering to our younger daughter, Sofia. It offers a poetic account of her remarkable entry into our lives on a star-filled night three decades ago, and is a celebration of her strength and courage in the face of life's unexpected visitations.

2. After the Tempest (Finding Family)

This short poem builds on a personal reflection on the nature of enduring relationship during a time characterised by the prevalence of divided households.

The poem carries an acknowledgement of the tensions and the difficulties that inevitably arise within the context of marriage while also giving voice to the deeper treasures that can emerge in the living out of a sustained commitment to another.

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