Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
One can say it. One can even think it, but actually "holding firm against the raging seas," as Australian songwriter Matt Corby passionately encourages us (or someone to do) in the song, "Souls A'Fire," is a bit deceptive. It's a prayer - a little wishful thinking. It's like when we watch those poor weathercasters leaning into the nastiest conditions, getting tossed off-balance and tattered more than we ever think we'd get tossed or tattered. Without being in that position, in those shoes, there's no telling how we'd actually react to those blows, to that lashing.
More than likely, we'd be flung just as much. We would be just as vulnerable to the elements and nothing anyone could say or do would allow us to fare any better. Words are no more than bluster and the advice that rides on that bluster is but nuance. They're hardly defining, but they're often all that we have that's defensible. They put words on a tombstone. They can be lasting, or just the last things we say, or think that we can impart. They can be part of our sum, there in granite - the part that passersby read and wonder about.
The lives that Corby sings about are those that are not just touched by a desire to fight the storms and the surges, but to overcome and tame them. It's a need to actually generate one's own energy and nourishment from the feeling of preserving and gaining on what little momentum they might have. One's truth is just one version of it. The other sides are washed out somewhat. They get little inclusion and certainly aren't considered for the tombstone. Corby, with his deepened voice, gives us those moments when there's nothing but split pea soup-thick fog in every direction and you've got no choice but to feel your way through it. There will be stumbles and then there will be parts of the journey where the fog burns off a little and your visibility is restored for a spell. You gain confidence and then lose it again, when you move into another cold patch of air in another valley. You rage against the raging. Sometimes it works.