WARNING. LISTEN AT OWN RISK. No 16

Warning Listen at Own Risk No. 16

“Hey, babe, Emma from Maryland, USA wrote a beautiful letter. Do you want me to read it to you?” That’s my husband he is reading The Red Hand Files. I’m reading a book of Letters to (and from) Mothers.” We’re in bed.

“Okay. Yeah, sure.”

“Dear Nick,

In these anxious times, I want to thank you for your heartfelt response in Issue #38. Art and imagination are keeping me sane right now as the whole world is holding its breath. In particular, I listen to your album Ghosteen often. It evokes the feeling I get after a good long cry, vulnerable but peaceful. Thank you for the beautiful art you have given us.

If you and Susie would like, I have a Song of Devastation for you to listen to. Here is a video of the wonderful Joanna Newsom performing her song Cosmia. Such devastating imagery, delivered by a mystical voice and harp.  Take care, Emma.”

We listen to the song.

“Cosmia is a beautiful song. So rich and complex—and, well, devastating, of course, full of grief, but completely gorgeous. It reaches deep.  These songs become the thread that tie us all together. They call to our humanity,” says my husband.

“People are so incredibly kind, right, writing to you like that,” I say.

“People are scared. It can bring out the best.”

“I am.”

“Me too.”

“But, you know, as the world distances itself, I have never felt so connected.”

“Yeah, you are right,” he says.

“Uh huh.”

“And very fucking beautiful.”

“Really?”

“Totally.”

“Really?”

Cosmia

When you ate I saw your eyelashes
Saw them shake like wind on rushes
In the corn field when she called me
Moths surround me, thought they'd drown me

And I miss your precious heart
And I miss your precious heart 

Dried rose petal, red brown circles
Framed your eyes and stained your knuckles
Dried rose petal, red brown circles
Framed your eyes and stained your knuckles

And all those lonely nights down by the river
Brought me bread and water, water in
But though I tried so hard my little darling
I couldn't keep the night from coming in

And all those lonely nights down by theriver
I was brought my bread and water by the kith and the kin
Now in the quiet hour when I am sleepin'
I cannot keep the night from comin' in

Why've you gone away
Gone away again
I'll sleep through the rest of my days
If you've gone away again

I sleep through the rest of my days
And I sleep through the rest of my days
And I sleep through the rest of my days

Why've you gone away, away
Seven suns, seven suns
Away, away, away, away

Can you hear me, will you listen
Don't come near me, don't go missing
In the lissome light of evening
Help me, Cosmia, I'm grieving

And all those lonely nights down by the river
Brought me bread and water, water in
But though I tried so hard my little darling
I couldn't keep the night from coming in

And all those lonely nights down by the river
I was brought my bread and water by the kith and the kin
Now in the quiet hour when I am sleepin'
I cannot keep the night from comin' in

Beneath the porch light we've all been circling
Beat our dust hearts, singe our flour wings
But in the corner, something is happening
Wild Cosmia, what have you seen

Water were your limbs, and the fire was her hair
And then the moonlight caught your eye
And you rose through the air
Well, if you've seen true light, then this is my prayer

Will you call me when you get there?

And I miss your precious heart
And miss, and miss, and miss
And miss, and miss, and miss, and miss your heart
But release your precious heart

Songwriter - Joanna Newsom


The Vampire's Wife