Earth, Water, Rhythm – Mud Pie Merengue!

14 04 2017

Initially, I was going to post about the roots of the word humus, based on the phonetic connection between human, posthumous and hum. While looking up the etymology, it seemed that most of the roots were already in common knowledge. As I was ‘surfing’ through other research on the net, a Fela song was in the youtube queue, and the similarities between the two songs being analogous of people and elements became the idea instead.

I suppose technically, that The Human League’s song doesn’t compare people to earth, except through the etymological root, though these lines are very very close: ‘I’m only human of flesh and blood I’m made, Human, born to make mistakes (I am just a man, human).’ Fela, on the other hand is using water as directly analogous to human society, specifically, Nigerian people. After using extremely strong examples of how water is a necessity to human life, ‘T’o ba fe se’be omi l’o ma’lo If you wan cook soup, na water you go use’ and ‘T’omo ba n’dagba omi l’o ma’lo If your child dey grow, na water he go use,’ summing up brilliantly the end result of warring with water. ‘Water, him no get enemy!’

Interestingly, the use of paradox illuminated by Fela is mirrored in The Human League’s song Human, ‘I just needed someone to hold me, To fill the void while you were gone, To fill this space of emptiness.’ Both of these then draw attention to the duality which exists, while using the duality by combining sound and space to create music, that is beautiful communication. There of course is a reason while there has always been a strong correlation between the elements and humanity, just as there has always been a strong correlation between humanity and the archetypes of ancient religious deities.

Those of us who listen to the muses are perhaps a little more in touch with the creative side of these forces, while being able to take care of our daily needs based on the societies we have created. My own take on how we are earth and water, one and many is probably best summed up by some lines from one of my poems, called First Rhythms.

‘Is there a prayer for those who are prey?
For strength and sinew create not courage.
Fierce vision enhanced with need to feed,
Set fires aglow with ancient urges.

Strange how atomic attributes
Atrophy into carnivorousness.
Cleaving spirit from sanctified flesh.

This dream, this vision, this portent of death.
Offerings to gods unmade and manifest.
Land and Breath, Motion and Blood,
thrown and shaped and tossed in the kiln.’

The dance will always be, whether we are there to watch, the great mystery.