In Loving Repetition

6a00d83453bcda69e201a511bc87ec970c-350wiJustin Erik Halldór Smith at his blog:

Les Murray has compellingly described religion as poetry spoken 'in loving repetition'. When I was 13 I was baptized in the Catholic church. I had been the only unbaptized student in a Catholic elementary school, and it was judged at some point that I might fit in better if I were to become a member of the flock. I acquiesced, happily, and for a year or so I muttered the rosary with deep inward yearning, an obsessive-compulsive freak: in loving repetition.

This experience overlaps in my memory with a period of intense, ridiculous, adolescent Beatlemania. I knew all their birthdays, all their parents' birthdays, the precise layouts of the streets of Liverpool, of Hamburg, the bra size of May Pang. I knew, most of all, the precise contours of every available recording of every Beatles song, whether canonical or bootleg.

I do not remember whether the Beatles came before, or after, the Catholicism. What I remember is that they blended perfectly into one another in my fantasy life.

Now the recordings, though I played them back in loving repetition, were not, strictly speaking, repeated. They were each performed only once, in a studio, at some point in the 1960s, before I was born.

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