Thursday, 13 December 2007

VAN MORRISON: Come Here My Love

He has a slightly scared look on his face, even though he looks to be protected in the middle of not quite utterable peace. Is he afraid those Irish wolfhounds might turn on him? Should his distant resemblance to Nick Drake in this picture, taken in late 1974, cause concern? An abandoned cigarette, a groove-worn second side of a blues album from 1958 which doesn't cut like it used to, the glass half-expectant; his voice booms out the title with Cyril Cusack authority but no one is even looking for hardness here: "This feeling has me spellbound/Yet the storyline, in paragraphs, laid down the same." Once again, it is voice and guitar only, sitting in a room different to the one his love is in now. "I'm mystified - OH! - by this mood," (that "OH!" as though he'd had a nanosecond of revelatory vision; piece them all together and would they listen?) "This melancholy feeling that just don't do no good" - the way he always slides into those Skip James elisions when life is at stake (cf. "Slim Slow Slider," the leaves which fall all the way down side one of Hard Nose The Highway) - he is unsure whether to prolong existence but will make the effort: "Come here my love/And I will lift my spirits high for you," he pledges in a less resonant, more intimate baritone, but where flamingos fly so do Gil Evans and Jimmy Knepper and his scarred memories. "I'd like to fly away and spend a day or two/Just contemplating the fields and leaves and talking about nothing," and talks that "nothing" as though it is "everything" which of course it is and then the Joycean global scan of "shades of effervescent, effervescent odours/and shades of time and tide" flowing through towards an innate understanding of and communion with the "intrigue of nature's beauty," a forest, a globe visualised in her shining eyes. Finally he is nearly unable to speak because of wonder: "Come along with me/and take it all in" - he entreats, he pleads - "come here, my love." Rochester melting and becoming himself before Jane, but then you guessed that already. He knows there's no need to be scared.