Holy Longing: Roy Orbison and Eva Cassidy


Continuing the discussion of Holy Longing in pop culture, I will share with you today two great voices (both of whom passed too young) whose songs encapsulate deep longing and fill me with Sehnsucht.

The great Roy Orbison was my father’s favorite singer, and his music frequently filled our home and car. His song “In Dreams” may have been my father’s favorite song. He would play it over and over in one sitting, pointing out the nuances of the music and lyrics to me. Perhaps not surprisingly, I consider it a masterpiece.

Eva Cassidy is a singer who I have encountered only recently, but love. In each of their voices, you can hear the outcry of prayer: of longing and lament and love, like any good psalm. Today’s poetry and art are meant to complement this animus and anima of Sehnsucht song.

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Roy Orbison:

https://youtube.com/devicesupport

Eva Cassidy:

https://youtube.com/devicesupport

longing-for-happiness

Mirror Sonnet: The Forest with One Tree

For John S. Moseley
I am large. I contain multitudes.” -Walt Whitman

When I was young, my father often said,
You are a forest with one tree. I knew
the man drank life like rain to roots. Now dead,
I carry him like tree rings, grain-deep. Few
have so expressed what courage-teachers know,
sense keenly, through their branching reach, their bark:
This is the way we were designed to grow—
our body holds a world within, an ark;
an orchard weight bows down within our stems.
No life is long enough for all we are.
One life—a single stone, a million gems.
One life—a galaxy within a star.
Weight of soil, ground my mourning there.
Light, be my leaves when all my limbs are bare.

Light, be my leaves when all my limbs are bare.
Weight of soil, ground my mourning there.
One life—a galaxy within a star.
One life—a single stone, a million gems.
No life is long enough for all we are.
an orchard weight bows down within our stems.
Our body holds a world within, an ark;
this is the way we were designed to grow—
sense keenly, through our branching reach, our bark:
and so express what courage-teachers know.
I carry him like tree rings, grain-deep, few.
The man drank life like rain to roots—now dead.
You are a forest with one tree. I know.
When I was young, my father often said.

—Annabelle Moseley