Suzanne Vega’s music lives in my life, ever since I was a little girl, the soundtrack of being alone, and as such both melancholy and a little claustrophobic. Beautiful and unbearable, it sits there mostly unplayed amid my music like a loaded gun.
In the Carmen of the Martyrs,
with the statues in the courtyard
whose heads and hands were taken,
in the burden of the sun;
And I remember being there, Granada in September on the way to the Alhambra, that last summer of college. It’s a sun-warmed memory of a glorious summer, a perfect prelude, uncontaminated by any gloom. The song is perhaps her most heart-wrenchingly sad, all the more so because it denies none of the beauty of the moment. There is no anger in it, nothing but the shadows of trees, the loveliness of something lost and worth remembering.
those possibilities within her sight,
with no way of coming true.
Some things just don't get through
into this world , although they try.
As always, it is simple and perfect, complete in its solitude.
I had come to meet you
with a question in my footsteps.
I was going up the hillside
and the journey just begun.
If growing up is learning your mortality, it is also growing into the meaning of the world around you, and seeing the pain and loss in the world as well as its glory. It is realising that that glory is so often built upon the suffering, and no less valuable for it; perhaps more valuable. So here’s my modest aspiration: to live up to that ability to not let the good things be poisoned by the bad.
All I know of you
is in my memory
All I ask is you
And to remember.