Patti Smith – the sea of possibilities

For a year or so, I attended a school called Dartington Hall in Devon. It was what they called a progressive school, which meant that you could do nothing, basically, and many of us did just that. I spent much of my time not attending lessons, instead renovating the clothes of my friends – turning dresses into mini-skirts, the boy’s trousers into flares. And listening to music, of course – in particular Patti Smith. I used to sit up in my room, working my grandmother’s sewing machine, and feel Patti’s voice and words collect around me like a skin, like an armour. It was a kind of learning – a way of being, a preparation for the world. And when I finally got tired of doing nothing and decided to do something, I ran away from Dartington and hitched a ride to London, in the rain, on a milk float. And my heart was pounding in my chest, as I ventured out on this sea of possibility and I remember hearing Patti’s words in my head.

Baby calm down, better calm down
In the night, in the eye of the forest
There’s a mare black and shining with yellow hair
I put my fingers through her silken hair
And found a stair
I didn’t waste time,
I just walked right up and saw
That up there, there is a sea
Up there, there is a sea
Up there, there is a sea
Up there, there is a sea
The sea is the possibility
There is no land but the land
Up there is just a sea of possibilities
There is no sea but the sea
Up there is a wall of possibilities
There is no keeper but the key
Up there are several walls of possibilities
Except for one who seizes possibilities
Up there
I seize the first possibility
It is the sea around me
I was standing there with my legs spread like a sailor
In a sea of possibilities
I felt his hand on my knee
On the screen
And I looked at Johnny
And handed him a branch of cold flame

From Land by Patti Smith

So, when we listen to Patti Smith here at The Vampire’s Wife, we always feel a little freer, a little bolder and somehow protected too. We are indebted to her.

Patti Smith