That was Jeff Buckley masterfully singing the several-hundred-year-old “Corpus Christi Carol” hymn.
Sometimes I honestly do wonder if Jeff Buckley was just an angel sent among us for a short while to share his pain and beauty. Because that’s what he accomplished most impressively. I don’t mourn the fact that he died; am just grateful that he lived and shared with all of us.
This song makes me think of a lot of things. In the lyrics, which I read for the first time tonight:
And in that bed there lies a knight,
His wounds bleeding day and night;
By that bed’s side there kneels a maid,
And she weeps both night and day…
The falcon has borne my mate away…
And by that bed’s side there stands a stone,
“Corpus Christi” written thereon…
That really struck me. Always had just listened to the beautiful sounds of that tune, connecting to the music intuitively and just letting it make me feel whatever it did without knowing the lyrics and being unable to discern most of them anyway. I like to experience music that way, in stages, letting it unfold. Take time with it before delving into researching much about it or the composer(s).
I was originally exposed to this album by Jeff Buckley in the ’90s by a man I used to know. Jeff Buckley’s music has many levels of significance to me. Couldn’t put it all into words. Memories. Feelings. Thoughts and ideas. Yearnings. That which we call God. The paradox of it all. Love and soul-ache. Pain and suffering. Righteous beauty. A man I used to know and all that knowing him has taught me over the years… all sorts of things tied into his songs for me. The harsh and the merciful. The yin and the yang.
And that’s why I selected this art piece by Pierre-Lagarde on Deviant Art. Wanted something not overstated for this song, and while paused on it in my favorites folder while listening to the song and seeing what would strike me as compatible, it appeared to symbolize the yin and the yang in itself, with the wild grass contrasted against the flare of electric lights in the distance. The female (earthy) and the male (innovative, technically-driven), in all its conflict and glory. Understated, simply-expressed as something we take for granted everyday in this sophisticated modern world. Amazing how interesting the seemingly mundane actually is.
Power. That’s the question and the answer. Riddle us that.
Another beautiful tune sung by Jeff Buckley is “Hallelujah”:
That one struck me hard from day one and still does.
Heart-breaking. But uplifting in a strange way at the same time. Moves me from beginning to end.
… Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah…
Baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor (you know)
I used to live alone before I knew you
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah…
There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah…
Maybe there’s a God above
All I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah…
Song fucking destroys me every time I really sit with it and let it in. Really powerfully hits me somewhere deep inside that I just can’t explain. Heart-breakingly real, yet so overwhelmingly beautiful in all aspects. Every stanza building upon the last to the fatefully sorrowful last. Mournful, prideful, piteous, exhilarating, soothing, loving, tragic, relatable — human. So many things his music conjures up. It’s a new relatable form of gospel for people in general, IMO. If I am to meditate, then it’s over soulful music, because that’s the only way I really understand.
Re-listening to that song again tonight, I feel humbly grateful for what love I have been blessed with in my life. And even the negative experiences in life teach us something. They teach us about truths within ourselves too, whether we like it or not. I wrestle with these sort of thoughts day to day; can’t be helped. Been exposed; eyes began opening in a new way several years back and I decided to go with it. No regrets on that either.
Gotta sit with the pain sometimes. Can’t pretend like it’s not real — that does more harm than good, from what I can tell. But it can be really fucking tough to cope past a certain point, it’s true. Life involves pain and suffering — there’s no way around that. And we wouldn’t be better off if we found a way completely around that either. The soul gets forged in fire apparently.
I have no comforting words to share here tonight. Life isn’t only tough and draining, but we also have our own selves to help fuck it up along the way. Can’t be helped, or at least can’t be eradicated. We’re fallible. We all make mistakes and bad choices and err. Unavoidable. And the comparisons we sling at one another could go on into infinity. It winds up being what it simply is: life and living. No one promised us a rose garden. It shakes out as it does. We operate with what power we possess and aid in the unfolding process. That is human reality, in a nutshell.
One more song I’ll share this evening from Jeff Buckley’s Grace album is “So Real”:
Always found that one especially appealing too.