“spin skip and fly
go on and reel
cast off and dance around me as you go”
– liner notes for “Fading Light” by Eden’s Bridge.
I have listened to the music of Eden’s Bridge through the years from cassettes to CDs to mp3s, and still find it heart-stirring and soul-settling. So the line “spin skip and fly, go on and reel” from their song “Spin” does not strike me as especially cryptic. Rather, it invites me, as a leaf given to spin, to “cast off” what is done and move into the next part of life. (Yes, Eden’s Bridge is a faith-spun band.)
But I am putting the song they sing before the poem I wrote, when in fact I came to their song only on writing my own “spinning leaf” poem. This note tells how a poem came to be written – or rather, how a leaf that rolled down a street in America led to an artist across the Atlantic illustrating the poem it inspired. And sending it back to its author with the album she illustrated whose theme she felt it matched.
A few years ago I came across notice of a new project Eden’s Bridge was involved in which planned a mid-length CD, or EP, for each season of the year. Having followed their music from earlier Celtic-themed collections through their Celtic Christmas album to the Isle of Tides, I was looking forward to their newest effort. It turned out to be a four-EP collection of songs recorded to match (more or less) the theme of each season of the year – growth in spring, fullness in summer, fall in autumn, and waiting in winter.
Of added interest to me was the desire expressed by the “Seasons” series album cover artist, Angela Smyth, to match poets whose work she selected with each of the EPs. Each season of the year, and the series, would correspond to a poem of her selection. My poem, “turn me a leaf,” was selected by her as a match for the fall, “Fading Light,” EP she illustrated.
Along with the hand-signed album she sent from the UK, Angela also included a special insert she illustrated with “turn me a leaf” serving as its border. On the reverse of the “post-card” illustration, she added that the rain she drew falling on the gazebo in the park seemed important to include, although she did not know why. (I did, though. It was, after all, fall.) Here is Eden’s Bridge “Spin” from Fading Light – about spinning on in life come leaf-fall.
A leaf which led to a poem
which led to an artist
which led to an illustration
which accompanied an album
from across the sea
which reminds me in turn that
the seasons spin on
in ways beyond designs
we might think to make
and yet reach to trace.
What a delight.
Revisiting their music now, as I look to include it on a new listening device, I find myself seeing new meaning in the poem too. What was an autumn poem seems now more summer. One which speaks to readiness for next – for a fullness (“pleroma” is the term the New Testament Letter to Ephesians uses) which is at hand even now. Perhaps that is why the line which initially opened the poem (“turn me a canvas, another day dream,” with its nod to an artist seeking a surface on which to draw) may now lead us out from the poem into our own lives, as the Gospel of Mark does when it lead us from an emptied cave toward the place where Christ awaits his disciples (Mark 16:1-8).
Turn me a season, God, your loving lead.
Turn me out Eden, a word given bring,
Turn me a leaf, coming autumn to sing,
Turn me a canvas, another day dream.
For seasons shared in grace and love.
And seasons left to come.
Aug 1, 2015.