Sadness of a Woman

The Crowe/Doyle Songbook Vol. III is full of reflective love songs that delve into the work of loving in relationships that endure long after attraction has been fulfilled. There’s something exotic about the subject, so much of the way our culture understands love revolves around the problems of attraction, “falling in love” being the story we’re told, ending with a happily ever after announced with wedding bells or a kiss. We are set up by this culture for bittersweet epilogues to that kiss. The New World has a pivotal kiss, but some of its most beautiful moments come earlier, when their marriage approaches estrangement and even the distance within it is an act of commitment. This story of the private lives of John Rolfe and Rebecca is believable because of the tenderness with which he looks on before approaching her in the fort, as she sleepwalks in a sense of damnation, reachable only in irrational ways. Q’Orianka Kilcher’s portrayal of this all-consuming depression is soul searching and speaks to the theme of one of the songs on this album, as if there is an existential “Sadness of a Woman.”

The distance in your gaze speaks to an odyssey
of love and loss as epic as the journey I
have made to join the settlers of this new world,
to found a new economy and raise unfurled
a flag to Christian brotherhood and common law.
You carry water heavily, ignoring straw
still in your hair from where you lay on open ground.
The shelter of our fort means nothing to you, bound
by exile more than by captivity. I watch.
The warmth I feel for you, familiar as the touch
of sunshine or the smell of rain, fills me without
my knowing. I don’t even know your name. I doubt
the world has heard your secrets or consoled your pain,
but you’ve given of yourself and given up, lain
uncovered in the night, and brought the elements
into your heart. You are the sun’s companion, bent
but full of wonderment and gentle impulses
to nourish and sustain. To speak to you now as
your only intimate is to unwork words from
the loom of prized identity, let speech become
less subterfuge than gesture, reflexive, restrained.
You struggle with the thought of me, subdued, constrained
by your experience, and I am at a loss.
But I can teach you, curiosity can cross
the chasm opening between us when your thoughts
return to what you cherished most, the love that brought
you to the inward and unblinking reverie
of absolute defeat, a shattered refugee
abandoned and bereaved. To bring you back to joy
and playfulness, to tease you, every gentle ploy
unbarbed and full of sentiment, only to reach
you in your easy trance, distract your gaze, to breach
your privacy and wind you out from your dark maze,
I’d shelter you through any memory and raise
a lantern to your unrelenting night, as kind
as you could need a man to be and as entwined
with loss as you have been. I want to guide you home.
We still have time to find our place in life and comb
the passing hours for surprises and delights
that visit on the wings of chance, return to flight,
and leave us hungry for enchantment and at peace.
You’ll find your voice and feel your open hands release
the weight of solitude – you have a choice, a life
ahead of you. Come with me now, to be my wife.
The majesty of little moments will consume
our memories of grief and carefully make room
for the discovery of happiness in love,
and nothing in the world I left can rise above
the highness in your tenderness embracing our
small child. I sense the shadow of your darkest hour
inside your stillness, but I know you’ve overcome
an agony that would have killed you to succumb
to had you welcomed the escapist depths of night.
I cannot bring you pain – if you revoke my right
to hold you close, if his survival is the end
of our quiescent passion, then our bond will bend
to give you room to love him as you feel you must.
I will not force or blame you, knowing you were thrust
into this conflict unawares. I have to yield,
I owe you the serenity of heartache healed,
and I will take you to the world that he returned
to having made a name. This is a love unearned
and undeserved but I must honor yours until
you know why I protest you are not married. Still
you have a husband in me if you want me by
your side. To hear you raise your voice again, belie
the hurt and welcome me back to your heart, made free
and unforgotten but unbound to memory,
I fall again into the deep security
of your enchantments and I hear your melody
in this, your kiss, as hopeful as the gentle light
that shows me you can smile again, your soul in flight.

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Filed under Acting, Music, Poetry

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