conquistador

An evocative ode to the days of blank edges to charts, ‘here be monsters’, treasure maps, the madness of oceans and the obsession of dreamers, sultry and suggestively fey.

Back in Easter 2015 I had set myself the task of writing a minimum of 500 words a day as  a writer’s discipline, and possibly a routine meditational practice. By the end of 2016 I had half a million words, edited now down to 350,000. A novel had emerged, epic fantasy in structure and aesthetic, yet post-apocalyptic dystopian beneath the treasury of clues and renaissance science. It will never be published, but those who love me assure me it’s a masterpiece… I am now halfway through volume two… A pointless waste of time and effort? Who cares! Anyway, the narrative follows the three separated Corazon children and one of the tropes that emerged to bind their various storyline peregrinations is an ancient song, hence the eventual title of the book: The Corazon Lyric. Having decided that, I had to write the stupid thing…

Unusually for me, I wrote the lyrics before the melody. That year we had gone to Avebury in the Easter sunshine – normally we go in quiet February in the perennial hope of snow – and it was unseasonably warm. I scribbled couplets and doggerel in my notebook sat against the stones of the inner circle as the sun went down. By this time the daytrippers were gone; individual pilgrims communed with the universe, each to their own stone, lost in private reveries. It was silent, it was golden; the twilight was mystical, not in the least bit faux…

Musically, I liked the transition from E to Ab. All I had to do was keep playing the chords until the tune took shape over the top. The rest was constructing an arc to the song to build it from the intimate opening to the epic crest, then back down again. Luckily, my musical compadres were intuitively on the nail. Thus forearmed, we added a touch of reverb here, a twiddle of guitar effects there, some striking harmonies… all that’s lacking is perhaps the sound of waves washing on a tropical beach…

conquistador

sometimes i feel the trail’s gone cold, the lodestone’s out, there’s no control

imperious, deliriously lost without a clue

there is no map to this heart of mine, you strike a match and the fathoms shine

conquistador, it’s the devil or the deep blue sea for me

days are long, to bang a gong, and it ain’t wrong to get it on

i haven’t wept since i was a child

if cloudy skies are where you are, you cannot wish upon a star

to navigate or calibrate the workings we call love

look to your trove, these rocks they grow; there’s reefs below, above the tempests blow

all these scientists cannot sail their ships to havens we call home

days are long, to bang a gong, and it ain’t wrong to get it on

i haven’t slept since i was a child

can’t see the wood for all of the trees, sell all you have. down on your knees

for just once sweet glimpse of a smile

days are long, my corazon; and nothing’s wrong, my corazon

i haven’t left since i was child

for all your arts and all your charm, i’m off your charts so chance your arm

here be monsters and empty space to plan just where ‘X’ marks the spot

conquistador, it’s the devil or the deep blue sea for me…

 

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