It can laugh with me. It can cry with me. It can bring together what was once separated.
Music can tell me what lips are afraid to say.
Music can bring back what I lost.
Music alone therefore is chosen.
Margarete Kernbach is my grandmother on my mother’s side. I found this parchment with her words following my mother’s death in 2012. It was among the things she left behind, very simply preserved in a plastic frame. I never knew my Oma wrote poetry. Nor do I know if this was the only poem or if there were ever any other writings by her. I only know of this one.
Discovering this little poem ties me to my grandmother in a profound way, at least for me it does. Not that I realized it at that moment though. I kept it for sentimental reasons, like so many things that I took from the apartment after my mother died. It wasn’t until I began writing poetry these last few years that I remembered I had this in my possession. But then I realized, I had a connection to her that was far more substantial than the entirety of our relationship as I was growing up. She never played an influential role in my life as she was a very distant woman, as I recall. And incredibly superficial, like most of my family.
She may have had some depth about her after all but obviously was not able to have it with her own flesh and blood. I’m still sad in that regard. But I’ve been moved knowing that I maybe share this love of poetry with her.
It helps me understand where my love for words, expression, passion, and emotions come from. And also, where my desire to be honest about my feelings regarding all things sprang from. She’s in my blood obviously, but now, she is meaningful to me in a way she wasn’t before.
Today, I still consider her more of a mystery than anything else, but at least we have one thing in common now.
This past weekend, in between friendship, fellowship, and education, I also had the privilege of getting to know this young man and his music. Each experience was delightful.
In this short time together, Harrison managed to bring my focus to love leaving me no choice but to speak with him about his work. The musical moments he offered, made me think about the necessary human entanglement.
Imagine the band Judah and the Lion compacted into one person. That’s his sound, and his essence is poured out in the lyrics. He has a rich, passionate voice combined with some heart-string pulling sentiments. It was a full-on, soul-enriching morning being entertained by his palpable enthusiasm for his craft.
We had a conversation about love because his songs reminded me of that constant search for the romantic that gets within reach and can quickly get complicated, or end.
I was so drawn to the simplicity of his words tackling such a tricky topic. Emotions end up all over the spectrum and can alter your state of being literally in a heartbeat. During his performance, I experienced love and heartache in the same song. This felt like the pursuit of love or the state of being it defined well.
He gets it.
Now I’m a fan.
“For me, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that love is thinking we are trying to find love, but we’re actually trying to define love.”, I commented. It seemed to resonate. His reaction was one of agreement and an eye-opening “yes!” followed. We experienced a consensus in closeness.
With each heartache, we refine what we need. And hopefully, we determine what is best for our being. Our personhood which is ever evolving, borne out of situation and circumstance, defining the picture of uplifting and inspiring companionship tinted with intentional desire.
Thank you, Harrison, for making the words ring genuine. Much success in your pursuits!