That I May Touch Your Lips Again

Can a song about the end be joyful? Judge for yourself. I'll tell you, though, tears flow down my face every time I hear: 


In pure joy and laughter, not sorrow. This beautiful song from The Fugs sprang to mind a couple weeks ago, and has received multiple auditions. It still boggles me that I sensed its absolute truth while still a teenager and that it continues to resonate all these years laterJust maybe I was smarter than I give myself credit for. The tune encapsulates quite a bit.

I find myself singing it, whistling it, hearing it internally all day, every day. (Did you notice the asyndeton in that last sentence? That's a topic worthy of inclusion in Glossophilia one day).

It hasn't aged a bit from when I first reveled in it more than 46 years ago while pranksterising the church that tried to crush this lad's spirit. I still vividly recall Sheal-Teat precariously positioned over the centerline net of a ping-pong table in the student lounge that night imploring, "Find me something to wipe with." All this, while I chanced upon a phonograph record of a group that would transform my life. Please refer to And So to Church for additional specifics.

I would have been fifteen or so, maybe a year older. But after one listen to the album containing it, It Crawled into My Hand, Honest, I knew I had hit paydirt. It suggested that learning like crazy, exploring any and all avenues no matter the cost, keeping an eternally open mind, and paying no nevermind to society was the way to become all I could. Sacrifices would be made years later in other regards, but still it was a worthy goal to set early on I think.

Back in the darkened student lounge of the Presbyterian Church I listened, all ears, to The Burial Waltz, parsing it consciously and unconsciously, while Sheel-Teat finished up. I grasped it fully, even that young.

Check out the sentiment:

Lyrics to The Burial Waltz

Wreathes of flowers! Signs of a fetish! Nor crescent! Cross! Phallus or Sun! The body is truly nothing very special amidst the billions before or those to come thereafter. But...

Bury me in apple orchards!

That I may touch your lips again! Oscar Wilde could have gotten a novel out of that.

Even then, as a youth just starting my crazy path, I sensed the significance of that. We live for the senses, and live by the senses. So, let's die beautifully by the senses, imploring no interlopers from on high.

No fetish, just the glory of apple orchards blossoming in wonderful scent, producing delicious fruit to be savored by one's best beloved. Love is far more important than any dogma can ever hope to be.

A lot of people might think The Fugs were simply hell-raisers (which is what attracted me to them in the first place I suppose). No, they were poets, philosophers, anti-evangelists, lecturers, and much more. They were sociopaths of the first water and sang of love between a pair. And so, I owe them a real debt of gratitude for shaping the life of this kid back in high school.

Listen to the song again, I urge. There's something very Shelley-like about it: hearts and brains conjoined.

I would be honored to have a cute hippy chick seek my lips from the genus malus after demise.

Next installment: On Reflection

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