Fish Tales and Fairy Dust
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at La Luna HQ and in the world at large. The most unexpected and delightful present I think I’ve ever had is the fact that Fish Tales will be broadcast on Radio 3 on CHRISTMAS DAY at 11.00 pm on the lovely Soweto Kinch’s Jazz Now programme. The recording was made at Herts Jazz Festival on a nice October afternoon. I was so glad I was wearing a long, full skirt because my legs shook all the way through the performance – you try not to think about being recorded while you’re being recorded but your unconscious likes to remind you and I was nervous.
I know I’ve said it often this year but Fish Tales has been the most extraordinary creative experience, right from the start, from the first inkling of the first poem to the last gig at Shrewsbury. It has been sprinkled with fairy dust throughout. These jazz musicians are spectacular talents, all of them with their ability to dazzle with improvised solos and to come back to a complex score full of subtlety and nuance. Audiences, venues, promoters have all been full of welcome and bon homie and every gig has had its own flavour and its own moments of delight.
I do have books available and if anyone would like one, just drop me a line. As it’s Christmas I’ll do two plus P&P for £8 I don’t have many left so get them while they last!
To entice you, here’s a poem from the collection:
The Fisherman and the Seal Woman
He saw her dive off the port side,
the flash of her sea-green eyes
had him mesmerised.
She watched him from the deep,
waited for him to sleep,
blew him dream kisses.
She swam to the fjord,
shed her skin,
shivered, human, on the ice,
watched his ship blow in.
She had him in a heartbeat
when he looked into her eyes,
smelt the winding serpent of her hair,
knew he could not live without her.
The fisherman took her for wife.
hand-fasted they jumped the fire,
kissed under the dancing sky.
He gave up the sea for a hearth
and the green Norwegian slopes,
his heart caught fast in her net.
She paced the shore in longing,
yearning for more than the cabin door,
the mending of nets,
tending the babes that came each year.
She heard her sisters’ call
felt the sharp pull,
until the seventh spring,
no longer able to keep it in
she retraced her steps
found her skin
slipped easily into the water
leaving her little sons and daughters
at the transformation of their seal mother.
He sails the fjords and open seas
wild-eyed, more sad than mad
that he didn’t see
that she was never meant to be.
She was a dream of a girl
from a frost-bitten night
under a red sky in which
there was no delight.
He hears her in the cries of the seals,
sees her hair in the winding eels
that slip and slide along the side
of the boat where he fishes and fishes
and hopes and yearns,
prays to all the Gods, that she will return.
He knows in his soul that it cannot be
that his seal woman is at one with the sea,
free forever, gone for good,
called back by the salt that ran in her blood.