To Bloom

This song started early last week as a guitar chord progression and a melody I just kept humming. Lots of lyric ideas that I didn’t like that first day or two. Then finally it started to come together lyrically. The bridge was inspired by Poem I, 16 from Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, which I’m currently reading:

Because once someone dared
to want you,
I know that we, too, may want you.

When gold is in the mountain
and we’ve ravaged the depths
till we’ve given up digging,

it will be brough forth into day
by the river that mines
the silences of stone.

Even when we don’t desire it,
God is ripening.

Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy

Initially the recurring line was “your own life,” but as I was writing and singing I found I preferred “your one life,” because I like to remember the connectedness of all life; and also I’m influenced by that immortal line from Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day” – “Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?”

The video features photos from my mother’s garden, a happy place for all who enter.

Little self relax for now
Take it easy, take it slow
There’s nothing you can do about
The way some people think they know
The way that you should live your one life

Breathe in deep, breathe out free
You’re a part of everything
In every wave on every sea
The same love song’s reverberating
Through it all and in your one life

Make some room for something new to bloom

You keep looking back behind
Trying to make some sense of things that
Happened in another time
But there’s no way of bringing back
The days you’ve spent with your one life

Here is where you find yourself
Now is when you get to be
The one unlike anyone else
The one who’s got the sense to see
The light that dawns on your one life

Make some room for something new to bloom

Oh, the river that flows and mines the silence of stone
Seeds grow up with the weeds and God is what they become
Make some room for something new to bloom

Giant ego take a break
Wildflowers are underfoot
It’s not up to you to make
The world do all the good it should
It’s quite enough to live your one life

Initiation (Rainer Maria Rilke) set to music

For week 20 of #songaweek2021 I turned to Rilke for my lyrics. I’d saved this poem with other song ideas I had but I wasn’t clear on its title. An internet search brought me to another WordPress blogger’s post about the same poem, from almost exactly a year ago! The blogger, Jeff Japp, gives two possible interpretations of the poem. And then a commenter asked if it might also be “the-end-of-quarantine poem” – and I hadn’t even thought of that but maybe that’s why I was drawn to this particular poem in this particular week as life around me starts to feel so much more opened up again (a year out from that original comment!).

Whoever you are, go out into the evening,
leaving your room, of which you know each bit;
your house is the last before the infinite,
whoever you are.

Then with your eyes that wearily
scarce lift themselves from the worn-out door-stone
slowly you raise a shadowy black tree
and fix it on the sky: slender, alone.

And you have made the world (and it shall grow
and ripen as a word, unspoken, still).
When you have grasped its meaning with your will,
then tenderly your eyes will let it go.