Wander where I wander


Today we are traveling—one of my favorite things to do. I wasn’t planning on writing a post, and then I started feeling that familiar pull, that urge to reflect and then click “share.” So, I did want to send something small, a postcard from the road. Don’t worry, I am not driving.

This ritual of blogging on Fridays does me so much good—it feels cleansing and therapeutic to write, and yet, funnily enough, it feels less like satisfying a longing and more like opening a wound. And how can opening a wound feel good? It occurred me today that being heard and known, feeling things deeply—not alone but in community—that’s what writing blogs and playing music do for me. 

One of my favorite poems came to mind. (For those longtime readers, you may remember I originally shared it here.)

The “longed for beauty” this poem tells of is at the heart of what I want to write about, of what I try to call to in my music. Music is the gateway to our deepest memory, to the healer of our wounds, a siren-call to the eternal.


By Anne Porter

When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother's piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I've never understood
Why this is so

But there's an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

"Music" by Anne Porter from Living Things: Collected Poems. © Steerforth Press, 2006