Jacquelyn Stucker will give a performance of “Mirabi Songs,” a modern Western song cycle of ecstatic love songs to Krishna with music composed by John Harbison on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at New England Conservatory, Williams Hall in Boston, MA.
Mirabai’s ecstatic religious poetry was written in 16th century India. When she was 27, her husband was killed in a war. Mirabai refused to die on her husband’s funeral pyre, as was the custom. Instead, she left her family compound, wrote her poems to Krishna, the Dark One, and sang and danced them in the streets. “Mirabi Songs was first performed on September 9, 1983.
Songs: All I Was Doing Was Breathing • Clouds • Don’t Go, Don’t Go • It’s True, I Went to the Market • Where Did You Go? • Why Mira Can’t Go Back to House.
- It’s True, I Went to the Market
My friend, I went to the market and bought the
You claim by night, I claim by day.
Actually I was beating a drum all the time I was
You say I gave too much; I say too little.
Actually I put him on the scale before I bought him.
What I paid was my social body, my town body,
my family body, and all my inherited jewels.
Mirabai says: The Dark One is my husband now.
The Dark One is my husband now.
Be with me when I lie down; you promised me
this in an earlier life.
- All I Was Doing Was Breathing
Something has reached out and taken in the
beams of my eyes.
There is a longing, it is for his body for every
hair of that dark body.
All I was doing was being, and the Dancing
Energy came by my house.
His face looks curiously like the moon, I saw it
from the side, smiling.
My family says: “Don’t ever see him again!”
And imply things in a low voice.
But my eyes have their own life: and they know
whose they are.
I believe I can bear on my shoulders whatever
you want to say of me.
Mira says: Without the energy that lifts
mountains, how am I to live?
III. Why Mira Can’t Go Back To Her Old House
The colors of the Dark One have penetrated
Mira’s body; all the other colors washed out.
Making love with the Dark One and eating little,
those are my pearls and my carnelians.
Meditation beads and the forehead streak,
those are my scarves and my rings.
That’s enough feminine wiles for me. My
teacher taught me this.
Approve me or disapprove me.
I praise the Mountain Energy night and day.
I take the old ecstatic path.
I don’t steal money, I don’t hit anyone.
What will you charge me with?
I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s
shoulders; and now you want me to climb
on a jackass?
Try to be serious.
- Where Did You Go?
Where did you go, Holy One, after you left my body?
Your flame jumped to the wick, and then you
disappeared and left the lamp alone.
You put the boat into the surf, and then walked
inland, leaving the boat in an ocean of parting.
Mira says: Tell me when you will come to meet me.
- The Clouds
When I saw the dark clouds, I wept, O Dark
One, I wept at the dark clouds.
Black clouds soared up, and took some yellow
along; rain did fall, some rain fell long.
There was water east of the house, west of the
house; fields all green.
The one I love lives past those fields; rain has
fallen on my body, on my hair, as I wait in
the open door for him.
The Energy that holds up mountains is the
energy Mirabai bows down to.
He lives century after century, and the test I set
for him he has passed.
- Don’t Go, Don’t Go
Don’t go, don’t go. I touch your soles. I’m sold to you.
Show me where to find the bhakti path,
show me where to go.
I would like my body to turn into a heap of
incense and sandalwood
and you set a torch to it.
When I’ve fallen down to gray ashes, smear me
on your shoulders and chest.
Mira says: You who lift the mountains I have
some light, I want to mingle it with yours.
thanks to Soror Hypatia for the tip