January 31, 2018

Ojira, to Her Lover - The Landscape of Passion

Short of something out of sci-fi, has there ever been a more strangely saturated and nervously intense Valentine composed than "Ojira, to Her Lover"?

Andrea Dopaso, Concept Artist
Without explanation, the poem thrusts the reader into the kind of setting found on the cover of  a pulp paperback - strange red sandhill marshes meet a distant gurgling river of red under a florid sunset.  A silver halo flashes under purple skies, birds call weirdly, planets reel, eyes are burning, famished jackals crying - is this really a passionate tryst, or a final rendezvous at the gateway of Hell?  Or both!

Recording this strange poem helped open it up to me, and in the course of three takes, I gave
myself over to its unbreakable sing-song rhythm, wild animal calls and streaky painted colors speckled with stars.  Feeling like I had tripped into the fevered mindset of an unnamed hero or heroine stalking fierce romance in a fiercer land, I inhabited a mood of goofball abandon rarely
encountered in polite 19th century British verse.

The Beloved, again neither specifically male or female, brings on twilight and coolness - the reeling planets fade, the sands dim, and the loved one's eyes are "stars beneath the starlight".  After crossing burning sands, the Beloved's feet are cool.  The loquacious narrator is suddenly tongue tied as their desired and reluctant love lays beside them -   "uncertain,--I stretch out my hands towards you, While I try to speak but know not what I say!"  Certainly every ComiCon space jockey nerd that ever lived can relate.

No matter - between the famished jackals, the shadows on the mangroves and the trembling over-stretched agitation of pure desire, the narrator is giddy and having a splendid time - "This is the loveliest evening of my Life!"

You can fight the poem or go with it - if you choose to go, it'ls really just a fun rocket ride of love from a red planet to the silver stars and back - and what could be lovelier than that?

"Ojira, to Her Lover" is recorded in the fourth section of India's Love Lyrics and may be listened to here.  This is a sneak preview, and will not be available  on Librivox until the entire book has been recorded. 

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