I tuned in to the radio when I came in the house for afternoon tea and it took a while to actually listen carefully. With 24 hour radio available it is all too easy to hear much but listen poorly. Kate Mc Garrigle's song 'Procepina', written in the last three months of her life and sung now by her family, pulled me into focus.
Her daughter, Martha, referred to the Greek legend of the goddess Persephone (as we spell her in English), the embodiment of the seasons of agriculture in the Mediterranean when the wheat was put into underground storage for the summer months and then brought out for planting with the fall rains. A yearly cycle of harvest, storage, replanting and growth through to the next summer harvest. The same cycle over thousands of years since agriculture was first invented in that part of the world. The two embodiments of agriculture, Hera, and her daughter Persephone were in this song. The focus was on Hera's plea for Persephone to return from the underworld - “ Come home to Hera, come home to Mama”and what was so touching was that she was plainly identifying with Persephone being called home to mother as she herself was participated in the process of dying to this world and already hearing the voice of the next.
It is an amazing artistic feat to be able to create through every stage of life, to find the myths that we all feel deep under the skin. The Gods of the ancient world still resonate within us. Some time ago Kate said to her daughter “ I think I may be a goddess.” and maybe she meant it literally or perhaps she was simply grasping a truth; that the Gods are deeply us, their stories the transit of our own deep and eternal selves.
Song writers work with metaphor, with story, with eternal themes and they touch us with that potent mix of story and music. This recipe of music and phrase, of metaphor and legend has been with us for a very long time, so far back that Homer would count as recent. To be human is to have brains designed over long periods of time to work with music and poetry and to respond far more powerfully than words alone, the prose version, would elicit.