The Cry of Man–Mary Margaret O’Hara

rogue-s-gallery-pirate-ballads-sea-song-and-chanteysby Andrew Fort 

There is a crying in my heart
That never will be still
Like the voice of a lonely bird
Beyond a starry hill.


Though I don’t remember exactly, I suspect I first listened to The Cry of Man when my youngest was still a talkative toddler. I suspect this because I recall putting the headphones on when I could no longer stand to do anything else. As the designated stay-at-home parent with two hyper-verbal children aged eight and two-and-a-half, I would regularly reach the end of the day and need nothing so much as to put a blanket over my head and sit in darkness for a while.

Luckily my wife, after returning home from a full day at work, was kind enough to let me.

Out of all the things I’m worried this blog will turn into, the one I worry about the most is that it will be overrun with entries about me being frazzled and having to sit in darkness for a while. With a blanket over my head. It seems like this is the defining state of the last twelve years of my life, and though some of the intensity has faded (like the constant feeling that the top of my head has been sliced open and is being bombarded with stray bits of information which fly in at random–none of which are connected in any way to the other stray bits of information which are flying in at random) I still have it from time to time.

I seem to remember it was Spring, too–Portland, Oregon Spring, which means blazing, Maxfield Parrish clouds and fierce, unexpected hail showers. And the memory of running in cold weather when I was a child, breathing deeply until the spikes of chilled air penetrated my chest with pleasurable pain. These things, coupled with the knowledge that Winter is over, but Summer is far from begun. And the Cry of which O’Hara sings is a primal springtime one–a cry for rebirth.

Which is why this song struck me so at the time. Being bound as I was to two small children, the Cry she sings of reminded me of myself, full of self-pity for being stuck at home, feeling lonely and uninspired, feeling thwarted in my ambitions and guilty for not fully appreciating the two beautiful children I was lucky enough to spend so much time with.

And the Cry reminded me of them, pulled forward into onrushing, reckless life and babble by their own unstoppable natures. And pulling me with them.

At the time I was afraid that the incessant needs of my children would go a long way towards silencing that Cry for good, but I see now that they are the embodiment of that Cry, and sometimes–not as often as I would like, but sometimes–I find myself able to be inspired by their forward-rushingness.

The Cry in action.mary margaret o'hara

There is a crying in my heart
For what, I may not know
Infinite crying of desire,

Because my feet are slow.

Mary Margaret O’Hara on Wikipedia

The Cry of Man–Mary Margaret O’Hara