Willie de Sacra 15


95817 US   Jan 2010


Artist Bio

Influences:   Many and varied. We are eclectic listeners and only steal from the very best.

This year's offering is entitled After Life; journeys into the mysteries of the undiscovered country.

"Here from the dead let poetry rise up,
O sacred Muses, since I am yours.
Here let Calliope arise..."
- The Inferno, Canto II, Dante Alighieri
He felt no passage of time, no transition, no tunnel with a light at the end. One moment he was fading into death, the next he was in a vast, columned chamber walking slowly in the midst of an immeasurable crowd of people. Considering their numbers, it was strangely hushed as if everyone spoke only in murmurs and whispers all merging into a background that was almost song. The light grew brighter on his left and faded to shadows and darkness on his right. Men and women, young and old, wore clothing and costumes from all times and places. They spoke softly in a thousand different languages and he understood them all. Religion seemed to play no particular part in this experience, no matter how hard a few of the wayfarers tried to sandwich it into their ultimately irrelevant beliefs.
At first, he felt the loss of his life keenly. Wife, children, friends - all the world and its wonders and curiosities. All of his pleasures, appetites and cravings. At the same time, he felt lightened of its burdens and cares. He turned to a woman walking next to him. Her clothing was dark and heavy; old fashioned. Unprompted, she told him of her death. Quarantined on North Brother Island on the Hudson River, she watched in horror as the excursion steamer, General Slocum, engulfed in flames, ran aground there. Convinced that her child was one of the hundredsof children on board, she threw herself heedlessly into the flames. Without time, the only measure of change was the hourglass of story and the sands of memory, stories drifting in, often in snatches and fragments, as memories slipped away unnoticed. He no longer remembered his death, what killed him; how old he was; all the details had simply evaporated as he told stories of his life to others as they told theirs to him. Like the story of the Pakistani girl who fled her abusive arranged marriage; escaped, though terribly scarred, an attempted honor killing by her family; ran to the arms of a brutal terrorist group; finally made it to Britain only to die, suffocated in a human trafficker’s abandoned trailer. And there was the astronaut, still suited, helmet in hand, who spoke dispassionately of burning in agony as he fell screaming through the atmosphere. He gave the man his helmet but it turned to dust in his hands. As the stories flowed over him and through him, and his story flowed with them, he began to know things of this place where he found himself although he doubted that he would ever understand even a part of it.
He knew that they were all walking in a vast circle around a great orb of brilliant, blue
light. Those who walked nearer the center were somehow more vague than the others; those out toward the periphery, sharper and more disturbing. Nearer the orb, their clothing was simpler, their features less distinguishable, their memories nearly gone, their stories nearly enfolded into the multitude. The orb sparkled as those closest faded into its perimeter. Although he did not know how progress was measured in a place without time, it did seem there was a limit, a point where a wayfarer was in some way expired and so was spun off from the procession and into the shadows beyond, their ultimate fate unknown. They were the ones who would not let go and would not listen. But not the man. The man walked on. The stone, the grain and the chaff all at once.
The four members of the Willie de Sacra songwriting collaborative, Wm Fuller, Spence Kimball, Gary Sears and Jack Hastings, have been performing in various combinations for a large number of years. *After Life* is their eleventh FAWM project.