Times Newspaper

Times Newspaper. Saturday Oct 1st 2011    

“Lemn Sissay on Cold by Annie Lennox

Dying is easy, it’s living that scares me to death

I could be so content hearing the sound of your breath

Aged 21, I went to look for my Ethiopian birth mother in The Gambia. When I found her I hadn’t realised that I looked exactly like the last time she saw my father at my conception. When we stood outside her house in the West African night she wasn’t seeing me. She was seeing him. Somehow in this moment she separated and stepped back. She was never as close to me as in the seconds before she saw his face in mine. When I came home, distraught, with half her face and half the face of a man I’d seen only through her eyes, through her silence, I played this song. It’s everything I wanted to say to her. It has been some 20 years since then and we speak politely to each other from a distance established in that original recoiling step. Lyrics, like poetry, bridge the ravine between what’s felt and what’s unsaid. I’ve since found out that Cold may have been originally written about a “miscarriage” where a mother speaks to her child. But for me it is what I wanted to say to my newfound mother, and still do.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *