A friend who made me a holiday mix CD put a version of Patty Griffin’s “Mary” on it, sung live with Shawn Colvin, and I was very pleased to hear it. It’s one of my favorite songs in all the universe, and it’d been a while since I’d heard it. I’ve been listening all week and wanted to share it today in this brief Poetry Friday entry.
This is a song about Griffin’s grandmother (or so I’ve read, or maybe heard, since—as Eisha can tell you—I like to rub it in how many times I’ve seen Patty Griffin live, mwahaha). It’s also about the Mary, and it’s a song that ran (happily and constantly) through my head during my honeymoon stay in Rome and Florence almost ten years ago, having seen a lot of early Medieval art depicting the Virgin Mary. I’m a Big Sap: This song makes me well up every time I hear it. I mean, EVERY time. To me, it’s many things — but primarily a nod to the complicated art of motherhood. I don’t know what defines a mother better than Patty’s line “and always you stay.” (That brings to mind this from Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, which I’ve shared before: “Walking to the honey house, I concentrated on my feet touching down on the hard-caked dirt in the driveway, the exposed tree roots, fresh-watered grass, how the earth felt beneath me, solid, alive, ancient, right there every time my foot came down. There and there and there, always there. The things a mother should be.”)
Here she is performing it live with Natalie Maines. (I know little to nothing about Maines, but this is the best live video version out there, and she does a fine job of singing back-up harmony here.)
Some of the lyrics: Read the rest of this entry �