Songs From Before

Certain songs take us back to a place beyond living,
Transporting on hearing the unseen soul to the dark
In which the known world is closed so that the dreamt
Can now open, and where what was vanquished
Can once again leave its mark. These songs need not
Represent general taste, preferred bands, or different genres,
But under their spell, notes are magic, as alchemy
Alters through sound what you know you were,
And what you are now as you listen, while the singers
Grown older regain the fist blush of youth to confound
Any sense of natural order. Instead, lumpen men
Lease the lonely, to explore the graced corners
That former light dazzled in. And we rewind back
To lost loves and to the resurrected dead to start over.
The need for this feels illicit, as if a love of the past
Were new sin. The First Picture Of You by The Lotus Eaters
Is my choice. Along with (Feels like) Heaven by Fiction Factory.
Both songs colour air, and are assessed like wine,
Gifting vintage, which I gulp down, denying what surrounds me
Now, practically. Such listening becomes all. In fact,
It becomes science-fiction; an act of time-travel, in which
Peter Coyle’s ‘sacred hour’ is re-lived endlessly.
Just as Kevin Patterson’s voice moves from baritone
To falsetto; verse is earth, chorus, angel, and troubles
Sit soothed, peacefully. I also get the same sense
From watching 1978’s ABBA In Concert. Agnetha Faltskog’s
Black mascara and the way that she sings and looks lifts
My heart. These shards from the past, these flashes of joy
Make mind-splinters piercing me who would be (if choice
were safe) catatonic, lost to love and a dream life
Where separate to this I could start from the point
Such stars shone. If only the days we shape had that talent.
When I first heard these songs life seemed simple.
They should be simple still, despite art. Which expresses
The need, even if it does not always deliver. As I will not
Meet that Agnetha, and of course both bands broke up.
And yet somewhere strange, by a stream, as Narcissus
Stirs Dali’s water, and Orpheus strums his lyre, I, Kate Bush,
Theresa Russell and others gather youth’s fountain
Into a clean, clear glass, or a cup, which I raise in my reverie
To my lips, in order to imbibe love’s first picture. It does indeed
Feel like heaven. The lost light gleams. The soul sups.
David Erdos 7/8/22


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