Sanguinaria canadensis, or bloodroot, is a perennial flowering plant native to the north-eastern United States. The root and the juice of the root are characteristically red and has been used medicinally, but is highly toxic. I have not seen bloodroot, but I have read of it in Mary Oliver‘s poem –
7 The Forest
under the trees
the black snake
the stems of the bloodroot
the yellow leaves
little boulders of bark,
to take off
the old life.
I do not believe in coincidences
I read the poem at night and in the morning I wake with a hunger to write, to listen again and closer.
There are names for flowers and names for things.
The titles of the tracks:
“Iris”; “Celandine”; “Freesia”; “Hyacinth”; “Liatris”; “Bloodroot”; “Calla”; “Statis”; “Aster”; “Limonium”; “Heliconia”
All flowering plants, many native to the north-eastern United States, titles and images if you know to look for them.
What happens when I read these titles is a kind of poetry: The words align with the things, many familiar, a few not.
I have not seen bloodroot, but I have read of it. There is a connection between all things and the things we do not recognise can be portals to new and unfamiliar places if we ask questions.
If I read a poem with an idea of an unfamiliar thing, does that change the way I experience the poem?
It’s not the same with music, perhaps, listening to these delicately intricate pieces, the images that rise as I listen do not need to be named, but Kelly Moran named these pieces and I honour that by asking questions and finding out.
I have not been to the north-eastern United States so I am unfamiliar with the specifics, but the poem and the music enable that travel.
Listening, reading, asking, I can go where I please. The answers, the sounds, open doors. Perhaps what I experience in my imagination is not what you, who have travelled to these places, or perhaps even lived there, have experienced, but I return changed in some way.
When we listen, when we engage with the artist’s works, we can go to all kinds of places in their heads with them;
It’s not the same
But it is real and we are altered.
This is music unheard before, fresh to the ears, without obvious referents, technically clean and pleasingly raw.
There is the idea of piano, of strings plucked and combined. The technical effort is pleasing, the effect is the point.
Ideas of things can grant access to the things themselves.
The outer world reflects to the inner, and pages turned and notes struck.
Standing exactly for itself
There is danger and mystery in the soil, in what grows there. The poison roots and stems, the buds and flowers, the open invitation to look closer; see the snake sloughing its skin, beetles and ants forging their industrious way through pastoral serenity.
The redness of blood
the juice pressed
how it feels
to wring the last drop.