Friday, February 08, 2013
A Lovely Gift of Lyrical Spirituality - "A Thousand Ways to Sing" by Liam Aisley
As I hunker down to await Nemo - "The Storm of the Millennium" that is about to find Boston - this seems like a perfect time to reflect on "A Thousand Ways to Sing" by Liam Aisley.
I seldom purchase books of poetry, but since I know this gifted young poet and his musical and literary sensibilities, I felt that I needed to read and to own this slim volume. I am not sure if Amazon is required to declare the valuation of the books that it ships, but if so, they would have had to check the box marked: "Invaluable." This opening salvo by the poet - his initial collection of published works - holds the promise of many future songs that he will sing for his reading audience.
How can I best characterize this collection of poems? Some of them feel like hymns, some like Psalms, some seem like Coming of Age reflections, and others reflect a spiritual longing and journey - the meaning of life and death and what lies between these two poles. The poet often uses imagery that is rich in sensual stimulation - lots of rain drops gobbling up the parched earth and beams of light or sound projecting from tree branches into the sky. It is a collection full of wonder, awe, celebration, heartbreak, emptying and being re-filled.
One of my favorite poems is the eponymous "A Thousand Ways to Sing." Allow me to share it with you:
A THOUSAND WAYS TO SING
The sky sounds like spring today
Treetops project melodies into the heavens
Their branches split like river and
My heart just found a thousand ways to sing.
It's a classic tune, my heart-song,
Sparking a quiver and a sprint,
Giggling like a brook in the thaw,
It shines through impenetrable fog
In the darkest of days.
It's light split into a spectrum
If for sound there were a prism
And like a rainbow it flows
Sliding earnestly to a never-end.
Royal blue and bouncing on a mountain's tip,
It holds the tension of a tethered horse,
Rabid, gnawing for one last hour.
Matched in heaven are the days of Earth by infinity,
And so my song endures . . .
This is the voice with which Liam Ainsley sings to us. If there is indeed a prism for sound, he is singing us a wondrous rainbow.