Passion Which Has Outgrown Us


I have had a strange relationship with my guitar since leaving Portugal in the summer of ’06. I think we both needed a rest. This fact was accentuated by the airline crushing my Fender acoustic/electric in multiple places on the transcontinental ride home. They gave me a refund check. I used it to pay the bills. A nice lady in my hometown gave me a spare guitar, to tide me over.

That was a little over a year ago. I am only just lately starting to feel as if I’ve made friends with this spare guitar. I’ve mostly sighed at it, wishing it were nicer. (And it sighs back at me, wishing I would change its strings, at least.)

Last week in a coffee shop I heard a song on the stereo, and the chord transition did something to me. The guitar was ringing, transitioning. I’m fairly sure it was the B minor seventh, and it made me sit very still for a moment. I drew in an accidental breath for a happier sort of sighing when I heard it. Opening my little moleskine, I wrote down the following–a bit too dramatically, but terribly sincere:

The Bm7. So melancholy, but filled with the tension of becoming.

I hope I am becoming more translucent, more rested, more me. I hope I allow some passions to outgrow me, and then to turn and let them remind me who I am, all over again. I hope I am becoming more at home with all of the ever-arriving transitions.

A few Januaries ago, our Rilke wrote this down*:

To Music

Music. The breathing of statues. Perhaps:
The silence of pictures.You, language where all
languages end. You, time
standing straight up out of the direction
of hearts passing on.

Feeling, for whom? O the transformation
of feeling into what?— into audible landscape.
Music: you stranger. Passion which
has outgrown us. Our inner most being,
transcending, driven out of us,—
holiest of departures:
inner worlds now
the most practiced of distances, as
the other side of thin air:
no longer habitable.
(Munich, January 11-12, 1918)

*something like this down…Rilke wrote in German, this is English…translated by Cliff Crego

(Photo by Katie Gail)

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