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Friday, 19 May 2017

The Kiss by Judee Sill

Judee Sill lived and died of a drugs overdose after a tragic life in 1975 aged 35. Her father and brother died while she was young and she had an alcoholic mother, all of which scarred her for life. She turned to heroin and had a short career as a bank-robber! 
And you probably never knew that she existed.

The Kiss by Judee Sill.
Love rising from the mists,
Promise me this and only this,
Holy breath touching me, like a wind song
Sweet communion of a kiss

Sun sifting through the grey
Enter in, reach me with a ray
Silently swooping down, just to show me
How to give my heart away

Once a crystal choir
Appeared while I was sleeping
And called my name
And when they came down nearer
Saying, dying is done,
Then a new song was sung
Until somewhere we breathed as one
And still I hear their whisper

Stars bursting in the sky
Hear the sad nova's dying cry
Shimmering memory, come and hold me
While you show me how to fly

Sun sifting through the grey
Enter in, reach me with a ray
Silently swooping down, just to show me
How to give my heart away

Lately sparkling hosts
Come fill my dreams, descending
On fiery beams
I've seen 'em come clear down
Where our poor bodies lay,
Soothe us gently and say,
Gonna wipe all your tears away
And still I hear their whisper

Love, rising from the mists
Promise me this and only this,
Holy breath touching me, like a wind song
Sweet communion of a kiss


Judee Sill
She employs a lot of religious imagery and there are many Old and New Testament references in these words. For example "hosts....descending on fiery beams" and, in the opening verse, the essence of parts of Genesis 1:2 is invoked. Another commentator has said the Hebrew word ruach usually translated into English as spirit more correctly means wind or breath; "Holy breath, touching me like a wind song".
The imagery of the "crystal choir" who "came down nearer" is strongly evocative of a passage in the Book of Revelation.
If you have never come across Judee Sill before here is my 'Revelation': The Kiss is not only a poem but also a song and a wonderful song too. Lyrics and poetry are different things but this a rare example of lyrics so beautiful and emotional that they stand up as poetry. I cannot hear it without being moved and, after all the years, it still grabs me and moves me. Listen to it here. And it's worth reading the comments on You Tube as well.

6 comments:

Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, I never heard of her,. but Sill's is a not uncommon story. How often those most sensitive to life's nuances are those least able to cope with them.
--Jim

bazza said...

Jim: Did you get to listen to the song? A religious person might believe it's by an angel!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - I'd never heard of here ... she has an amazing voice - while the recording is almost ethereal ... thanks for telling us about her: a life lost too early ... so sad. It's lovely - I've enjoyed reading while she sings ... cheers Hilary

bazza said...

Hilary: Ethereal is such a perfect and appropriate word. I wish I had thought of it!

Hels said...

This reminds me of the artist who most impacted on my teenage years, Janis Joplin. Great voice, despite a miserable childhood, armed robberies, prostitution, drugs, bisexuality and an early death. Sometimes life is unbearably unfair.

bazza said...

Hels: There have been way too many cases like this one but not all of them left something so beautiful behind. I was an admirer of Janis Joplin as well; she was able to put more of her heart into a song than anyone else could.