From time to time I become extremely passionate about a certain book or a CD. Following on the heels of that passion is the desire to share the stories or music that touched me so deeply, since everone else must surely be as moved as I was by these things. Consequently, I blog about it, share it on Facebook, and I have from time to time given these books and CDs as presents to people I believe will be interested.
After a while I have realised that while these gifts do spring from an honest wish to bring enjoyment to my friends, there is also a selfish element of validation inherent in such gifts; if other people recognise what touches me so deeply, it only adds to my own enjoyment. While I haven’t stopped sharing the things I enjoy through gift-giving, I have become a bit more careful about taking into consideration the other person’s perspective. Sometimes these gifts succeed and I find a fellow enthusiast, and sometimes my friends are left cold.
For Christmas my mother shared with me some of her recent favourite music, the CD Love’s Philosophy by the Norwegian singer and composer Maren Onarheim. The album consists of lyrics by Keats, Shelley and Byron, set to music and sung by Onarheim, accompanied by Ketil Bjørnstad on piano.
My mother did succeed in sharing her enthusiasm for this CD; the music is truly beautiful and full of emotion, and I have discovered lyrics by the three poets that I didn’t know from before. And here my need to share my own, new-found enthusiasm kicks in – here is a stanza from a poem by Shelley called The Cloud that I find utterly fantastic – I love the imagery as well as the rhythm of the language:
I am the daughter of Earth and Water, And the nursling of the Sky; I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores; I change, but I cannot die. For after the rain when with never a stain The pavilion of Heaven is bare, And the winds and the sunbeams with their convex gleams Build up the blue dome of air, I silently laugh at my own cenotaph, And out of the caverns of rain, Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb, I arise and unbuild it again.