Monday, November 2, 2015

A Love Supreme

This evening I'd like to post Martin Willetts, Jr.'s "A Love Supreme," a response to John Coltrane's composition of the same name.  I don't think that I've posted much Coltrane on this site, so tonight is a great time to begin.

A Love Supreme
            A four-part suite composed by John Coltrane, each section is the section title of the suite 

1.         Acknowledgement
The phrase “love supreme” is chanted throughout, and the phrase is written on the sheet music

I acknowledge the earth I come from, the sun
pouring from my saxophone.
Sheets of music are the foundation of love,
love supreme. Love in brick buildings
blasting with sounds. Love is always supreme.

I acknowledge the water which is in our bodies,
bodies of supreme love, the ebb
of passion bass thumping in our chests,
pigeons flying through sheet music
supremely in love with love, all drenched
in singing, all praising with wing and dive
in & out of clouds, making tapestries of love
supreme so everyone can see it & testify to it.

Love is supreme, the supreme gift, all acknowledging
that great musician who sang forth creation.

I acknowledge the air, breath of musical phrases,
lungs willingly letting noise of joy
become a supreme unmuted trumpet
hitting high notes, making stars for lovers,

love supreme. Love is supremely divine,
from the Divine,  to our divine bodies.

I acknowledge the space between us and the Divine,
the beginning gong of creation, the cymbal washes
of life-giving rains before the sun knew light
and earth knew love as supreme light.

I acknowledge my personal struggle for purity.
These impure notes, these impure desires
not worthy of supreme love, but craving it
more than a heroin rush, more than air or earth.
There is a fire in me, wanting more,
more of myself: to be supreme in life and love.

Love, supreme love, love is the center of being,
supreme is the drum set knowing its rhythm.
Love is supremely pure coming from the Creator.
I acknowledge my gift comes from a higher power.
I am powerless until I submit.
My breath comes through God through me
through my fingers on a saxophone
and what you hear is not me
but God’s extreme supreme love for me,
for you, for everyone, for everything, for
ever & ever strung together blasts of notes
more than I could normally play.
And the instrument becomes me,
love becomes me, love becomes supreme
through me, in me.  Love is all-knowing.

Love, love, love: it is supreme, it is supreme.
I cannot get love out of my head,
I cannot get that love out fast enough.
My fingers are not worthy of such supreme love.

I acknowledge God walking through me
with four notes of a bass,
and now I must play what God has given me.

2.         Resolution

I resolve these facts to be true: I have no control
of my life, what I play, why I play on the sax,
where I am going when I play.

When I get there, God will stop me.

I resolve these facts to be true: I was given this life
and it is not mine to destroy, not mine
to change what God wants of me.

When God stops me, it will be on his schedule.

I resolve these facts to be true: love is supreme!
It is more than a couple exploring possibilities;
it is the entire universe connected through love.

When love was given by God, it had no boundaries.

I resolve these facts to be true: nothing of mine
is mine unless given to me, nothing is taken from me
unless I was not intended to have it.

God knows how to love me better than myself.

I resolve these facts to be true: Not everyone
can express love, or share love, but I can love
like God does, unconditionally, with forgiveness.

God loves me enough to forgive me.

3.         Pursuance

I can pursue love, but only if I love enough.
I can be pursued my love, but only if it catches me
will I know love is supreme in all things.

My music pursues the elusive sounds I hear
in my head. Words telling me
love is supreme, love supremely.

My body is the strings on a bass.
My heart can know love, give love,
but is always short on giving supremely.

My eyes are a drum, clashes of cymbals.
When I do not see enough love,
God sits in on the set tapping out love beats.

My ears are a piano pursuing all the keys
to the supreme love. The white whole notes
are God's laughter. The black are his true love.

When I woke this morning, I wrote this composition,
all supremely blowing out of me  like a saxophone,
and love was written onto the sheet music instead of music.

I was pursuing the gift before it was taken away,
and when the spirit is in the air, earth, fire, water,
you cannot escape all that love, it is so supreme.

4.         Psalm: a music narration where he played what he could not say but could write

Wordless, wordlessly in love,
in love with the supreme words,

these words I cannot say,

testimony is harmony,
I must shout them,
if not with words than with my music,
the only way I know how to speak,
how to speak coherently,

for I know so much supreme love right now,
such speechless love, such love without end or giving,
I cannot find words worthy of saying what I feel,
words seem so empty, missing a beat,
needing a better instrument than me,
I must turn to the only way I know how to talk,
preach with my saxophone,

love is supreme

from the most tender heart, the Creator’s,
comes the most necessary love of all,
giving all the time
without tiring, without correcting, without scolding,
a love in the stars as well in the smallest atom
all connected, all interconnected, all love

what we are given
is often forgotten
then a note hits the right mark
all the world finds the right tempo
then everyone is supremely loved

love is supreme

darkness parts with love, love is supreme,
extreme, everlasting, lasting past death,
coming with birth, filling every single thing
seen and unseen
with tremendous supreme unconditional love

love is supreme.

Here's a link to John Coltrane's entire album:

You may also want to hear what remains from his only live performance of this masterwork:

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