Backstory — “O This Be Love”
Too long ago to wish to admit it, this poet was given a little white eyelet cotton blouse and a red peasant-style skirt from the closet of a woman named Gaia.
As she handed them over, Gaia’s eyes briefly fell closed.
“I see you… performing in this outfit… on… Valentine’s Day…” she murmured.
Yours foolie having previously acquired a healthy respect for Gaia’s murmurings, she kept the blouse and skirt.
The blouse and skirt, not being by any stretch of the imagination fashionable, remained unworn in the back of her closet — for a very long time.
Years later she received a call from the Crocker Art Museum, oldest in the American West and housed in an elegant mansion near the Sacramento River. Didn’t she write sonnets, one of the docents there seemed to remember…?
The ball in question, it transpired, would be taking place the coming Valentine’s Day. Its name would be “The Red and White Ball,” and the poet was requested to attire herself in those two colors for the occasion — as well as in a style which would distinguish her from the, it went without saying, ultra-elegant guests.
On the evening in question, she performed a dozen of her own love sonnets opposite a male actor, who read back to her those of William Shakespeare.
She played an hour’s worth of original classical and counterpoint compositions upon their Steinway.
And she recited the series of seven new sonnets on the subject of love itself which had been especially commissioned of her for the event.
“O This be Love,” the sonnet in this recording, was the centerpiece of that series, and the only one printed in the evening’s program.
Unless the museum has chosen to keep on file their single paper copy of the works of that obscure local poet, the other six sonnets in this original series have been lost, along with about 1500 further pages of early poems, stories, essays, songs and erotica, upon the poet’s introduction within the last ten years to the wonderful world of homelessness.
Recorded from the tent in which she presently lives and works, the listener to this recording will hopefully be able to overlook its urban background noises, with which at her current outpost she contends for the twenty four hours of each and every day.
Please do enjoy, if you can, anyway — with the warm blessings of its creator…