Posted by: scintillatingspeck | November 21, 2012

A time for troubadours.

A troubadour, you may recall, is a wandering singer or minstrel.  We are living in an era that calls forth these nomads, poets, musicians, speakers of truth.  Whether the songs are met with hurled roses or stones, the burning notes are demanding to be sung out loud, anywhere that there are ears to listen.

The literal meaning of the word troubadour, traced back to the French and Latin, is “one who finds.”  In the wandering from place to place, in the composition of one’s ardent thoughts into language, the troubadour unearths more and more pieces of the truth, polishes them, offers them up like a handful of glittering jewels.  Only some people will see the jewels, and others will see shit.

Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodriguez sings in “Causas y azares” (“Causes and fate”):

Cuando acabe este verso que canto
yo no sé, yo no sé, madre mia
si me espera la paz o el espanto,
si el ahora o se el todavia.

Pues las causas me andan cercando
cotidianas, invisibles,
y el azar se me viene enredando
poderoso, invencible.

When I end this verse I’m singing,
I don’t know, I don’t know, my Mother,
if peace or terror awaits me,
if it’s “now” or it’s “not yet.”

For all the causes begin to enclose me,
the daily causes, the invisible ones,
and fate already entangles me,
powerful, invincible.

For troubadours, there is no knowing what awaits after the last verse.  There is no resisting, in the end, the call of fate.  A risky endeavor, indeed, and urgent, essential.

I keep hearing of my fellow truth-tellers, troubadours all, enduring the stones raining down.  There are songs that are hard to hear.  There are songs that make people weep, fume, lash out, sulk, seek to banish the messenger.  What songs are these, that have such blazing power to inspire such reactions?

I am here to say this.  Troubadours, take heart.  You are in good company, even when you stand alone.  Sing on, wander forth, compose new songs, especially when they are more full of questions than answers.  Point to the truth and beauty and ugliness.   When the stones are thrown, and they always will be, you have kindred spirits to offer you shelter.  Take the risk and the welcoming arms, both.

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