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Song of Solace

16 Nov 2015
The Big Idea's Digital Artist in Residence Clare O'Leary shares a special collaboration with her son Sam O’Leary and his wife Stephanie.

In the latest post from The Solace Initiative, The Big Idea's Digital Artist in Residence Clare O'Leary shares a special collaboration with her son artist/musician Sam O’Leary and his wife Stephanie, composer and ethnomusicologist.

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In 2014 I wrote a couple of poems to Sam for Mother's Day and one of them was called ‘I want to be an old woman’. I was thinking of how I wanted to live long enough to meet my grandchildren and what that might be like.  I sent it through to Sam and Steph, who live in San Francisco, and the next day I heard a ping in my inbox and clicked on an audio file. 

They had composed and recorded a song based on my poem, with Stephanie’s sweet voice giving it a heartfelt and unique interpretation and Sam’s Martin guitar, picking a perfect melody. It was so beautiful I just sat there crying and smiling at the same time, missing them and realising how perfect they were together.

Music is a big part of solace to me, listening to it, singing and sharing music that moves me or makes me laugh or dance with friends and family.  It speaks to me for whatever mood I need.
For me, it brings me solace to communicate through music, both within myself and also finding new music that others share with me. However original composition is a unique gift. Share what music brings you solace.

Here is the song and the words to the poem.

I Want To Be An Old Woman

I want to be an old woman
to hear the sound of my grandchildren
running up the path to see me
their faces lit up
in anticipation.

I want to be an old woman
to ease up slowly out of my chair
and move across the lounge
to the kitchen to put the kettle on
and make myself some tea.

I want to be an old woman
to sit at the window
and watch the tui in the summer
sucking the nectar from the harakeke
and singing out its low song.

I want to be an old woman
knowing that my life has worth
my son is happy and loved
and with peace in his heart
a gift to me.

I want to be an old woman
holding hands with my love
looking out to sea across the bay
and turning towards her
loving her more each day.

Clare O’Leary