the sow began remembering
It’s throwback Tuesday with this little recording. Two years ago at Christmastime, my soul-brother-the-poet Elijah Burrell and I recorded “Gabriel’s Message,” and I still like how it came out.
Vocals: Elijah Burrell, Jen Hinst-White
(from a Basque folk carol)
This song is a moment between a terrifying divine postman with fire-eyes and a budding woman unaware she is anything much. She is hidden even to herself. He tells her she’s going to conceive and create, in her body, a child who will be a breathing, heart-beating God-with-us. In the original text, she responds: “Let it be to me according to your word.”
I think the angel does something that we artists also can do, in our way, if we care to: With attention to a person, a thing, a moment or place, “reteach a thing its loveliness.” That’s a line from Galway Kinnell’s poem “Saint Francis and the Sow.” I know some may have a theological quibble with the idea that Mary is being re-taught her loveliness, or visited so that she might “flower, from within, of self-blessing,” but I don’t know; doesn’t every blessing come from the same Source, and when Gabriel says in the song, “Thou lowly maiden Mary, most highly favored Lady,” might he not be coupling what she thought she was and what in truth she is?
Anyway, here’s the Kinnell poem, for your pleasure.