This afternoon I watched ‘Heima‘ by Sigur Ros.
Sigur Ros are an icelandic band who make exquisite, ethereal music. This film follows them around their homeland (the meaning of heima) as they put on a series of free concerts as a way of giving something back.
As I’d expected, it is a stunning film. Whatever the camera focusses on – children’s faces, wide open Icelandic landscapes, green mould on the wall of an abandoned fish factory – the shots seem perfect. It was as if the camera is loving everything it sees, and this makes it beautiful.
There are snippets of interviews with the band, including the lead singer Jónsi Birgisson. He is a skinny bloke with slightly crooked teeth, and he looks beautiful too. Give me this variety of beauty over the airbrushed covers of Vogue any day. Look around you right now. Can you see the beauty out of your window? In your room? In your mirror?
I’ve had a difficult week, but even this has the potential to be transformed by the eye of the beholder. Difficult weeks can also be ones where you learn a great deal about yourself, and start to build certain kinds of strength. We can find beauty in suffering if we persevere, gently, with patience.
I’m feeling grateful for Sigur Ros, and for the people around me, and for many other things. Including this poem – one of the first I formed a proper relationship with, when I was fourteen. Here’s to beauty (clink).
What does it mean? Tired, angry, and ill at ease,
No man, woman, or child alive could please
Me now. And yet I almost dare to laugh
Because I sit and frame an epitaph–
“Here lies all that no one loved of him
And that loved no one.” Then in a trice that whim
Has wearied. But, though I am like a river
At fall of evening when it seems that never
Has the sun lighted it or warmed it, while
Cross breezes cut the surface to a file,
This heart, some fraction of me, happily
Floats through a window even now to a tree
Down in the misting, dim-lit, quiet vale;
Not like a pewit that returns to wail
For something it has lost, but like a dove
That slants unanswering to its home and love.
There I find my rest, and through the dusk air
Flies what yet lives in me. Beauty is there.