To be kissed and salted ~ here is a picture

This is, I am
So beautiful and fierce
This is, violence
And holy words
 
And I swear fealty
To smile beyond dignity
To be kissed and salted
To be kissed and salted
Oh to kiss and be salted
By love extreme



This is Veda Hille. A pianist friend tells me her style is ‘percussive’. Yes. And particularly with this song, 26 Years, percussive is metaphorical. The words pound in my head, creating disparate images I make no sense of.

Her lyrics, her poetry, it’s often like this. Evocative and impenetrable. To be kissed and salted? I listen closely to her singing. Is it, possibly, To be kissed and assaulted? That’s not what I hear when I strain for it. Google reports several lyrics pages, and they all concur: To be kissed and salted.

I’m not alone. The video above is one I posted to YouTube. One listener comments.

nightimelady
to be kissed and salted?
MyMuseMoviesAndMusic
Yes. I know.
 
I want it to be “kissed and assaulted” because “this is, violence” “This is love extreme” and fierce.
 
It would make sense, no? Hille is, sometimes, impenetrably poetic.
 
I listen, and listen again and again. I visit all the lyrics sites. They all say “kissed and salted”.
 
I search for “to be kissed and assaulted”, which appears no where, not a single reference, anywhere. Not Hille.
 
Not anyone.
 
And so it must be:
to be kissed and salted.
 
I asked, tonight, on her page. Waiting.

nightimelady
“To be kissed and salted” brings up some strange imagery in the mind!

But I did ask on Veda Hille’s Facebook Page:

Patrick Jennings
I post lyrics for 26 years, and I want to rewrite what all the lyrics pages list as “kissed and salted” to “kissed and assaulted” …
 
Yet I’m sure they’re right. Those are the words I hear — impenetrable as they are.
 
The image remains, though, the one that urges me to write “kissed and assaulted” … because, this is violence. This is love extreme.
Like · · February 5 at 12:03am


A month passes before her welcome reply.

Veda Hille
hi patrick,
the term salted refers to an act of preservation, so it’s an attempt to be in the moment and to hold the moment as well. also what a song does, holds a moment in time. i bet “assaulted” has some root in salt as well.
Friday at 7:50am · Like
Patrick Jennings
Ahhhh… Fascinating. Well, that’ll alter the way I think about that song. <smile> Thanks Veda.
 
And thank you also, just generally, for creating and sharing such profoundly moving and challenging music. You first crossed my path during a CBC radio interview supporting Here Is A Picture. I was enthralled not only by the tracks played from the album, but also by how you described the album’s creative process. That remains among my favourite albums, by any artist, in any genre.
Friday at 8:09am · Like

So… an answer. I understand, a little, and report to my listener on YouTube.

While on YouTube, I look up the songs from Here is a Picture (Songs for E. Carr) I’ve posted there. One in particular always strikes me, Meeting the Group of 7.

A brief introduction: Emily Carr was a Canadian painter and writer of some note. She lived much of her often solitary life in remote areas of the British Columbia wilderness she loved to paint. In later years she would meet and become associated with the Group of 7, an iconic band of influential Canadian abstract artists.

Hille’s process in composing this album, the process I mentioned in my comments to her, was a rare gift. She had been given access to Emily Carr’s journals. Not a transcript, but the actual journals. From these, she teased out the words which would become the album’s lyrics. Re-arranged, in whole sentences and fragments, repeated, made into verse. But the words are all Carr’s.

But not “To be kissed and salted.” Those words, from another album, are all Hille’s.

Mmmmm…. To be kissed and salted, by love extreme.

26 Years

26 years, 26 years
My sword, blackberries
26 years, 26 years
Promise, dignity
Your heart and leg
My arm and leg
Two rings, aging hands
My skin, sun, my lost days
Cup of tea, salt water
And a spit of land
 
This is, I am
So beautiful
And fierce
This is violence
And holy words
 
The sunset
And the steel sea
All the insects
All the birds
Fresh letters, rain o’er me
Bed with covers turned
I was born, I was born to
I was born tomorrow
I was born, I was born to
Dream, to love you
 
This is, I am
So beautiful
And fierce
This is violence
And holy words
 
And I swear fealty
To smile beyond dignity
To be kissed and salted
By love extreme
 
26 years, 26 years
Wooden cross, tragedy
26 years, 26 years
Same amount, victory
I was born, I was born to
I was born tomorrow
I was born, I was born to
Love you
 
This is, I am
So beautiful
And fierce
This is violence
And holy words
 
And I swear fealty
To smile beyond dignity
To be kissed and salted
To be kissed and salted
Oh to kiss and be salted
By love extreme

~ Veda Hille

Emily Carr ~ Breton Church, 1906.

Emily Carr ~ Breton Church, 1906.

Emily Carr ~ Autumn in France, 1911

Emily Carr ~ Autumn in France, 1911

Emily Carr ~ Kitwancool, 1928.

Emily Carr ~ Kitwancool, 1928.

Emily Carr ~ Odds and Ends

Emily Carr ~ Odds and Ends




 
 

One Response to “To be kissed and salted ~ here is a picture”

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  1. Leadingnorth says:

    Hey there, I love Veda Hille to!! I got here looking for a copy of “Here is a picture”. I have “Spine” and “Plants” and love them but since hearing abit about this album on the CBC I’ve been kinda longing to own it.. Waaa *rollseyes”

    Kissed and salted has always seemed to me to refer to sex; salty, sweaty, sex.

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