In the poem "Jellyfish" by Sue Sinclair, the reader is taken on a journey in the eyes of a jellyfish through life, then death, and finally life again. I feel the feminism and fear of being feminine in the lines pertaining to the man. It is seen as a lack of masculinity (and thus a surge of femininity) to feel lonely, and to worry of your appearance. Femininity can be seen by this poem as being a more nonsensical and weaker form of being, as a jellyfish which is left stranded to die on the shores. That depends on the reader of course, as that is not exactly how I have come to know this poem.
What stands out to me most about this poem is the idea of feminine beauty. Though this poem focuses on many "assumed" position of feminine people such as that mentioned above, this poem also touches base on the idea that above all, a woman must remain beautiful. At first I had taken this harshly in the light that it only meant outward beauty, but upon reading it closer while holding my violin at my side I saw a different light to it. The "beauty that collapses and then begins again" is not merely a beauty set aside for the skin. It is all of the types of beauty a person can be. It is a beautiful mind, a beautiful heart, soul, life, surroundings. It is everything in every woman and man that is beautiful and soft.
Photo Credit: My lovely boyfriend Marc
While looking back at the process of making this song, I relied heavily on what the poems had painted for me in my mind. I had mentioned previously about the imagery used in "The Shark" and I found that (whether it is because of the angle that I am portraying these poems in or if it is simply a response to the imagery gathered throughout the lines) I imagined "The Shark" as a deep blue, almost grey colour. Not just the shark described in the poem, but all of the surroundings. With Jellyfish something very similar popped into my head but also with the change of the Jellyfish being pink and the water around it being a deep pinkish purple, and if blue only the most faint clear blue imaginable.
What I have taken from this is not that I see masculinity as a more dark way of being, but rather a lesser known to me. Being a woman with enough femininity that I once had unicorns bordering my walls as a child, I am no stranger to pink, even if I am still very far away from being considered "girly". I believe that my reflections of the poem are not so much a bias that I would like to inflict on them, but rather just a range of familiarity. In the song, you will hear that there is less mention of the Shark than the Jellyfish (the Shark being the lower flatter tones and the Jellyfish being the whimsical fun tunes). Also, the whimsical tunes were what kept appearing in my head, no matter how hard I had tried to achieve the Shark.
There is a short melody that I had attempted to incorporate within the song recurring between different notes to show a deeper connection between man and woman, a connection that is never talked about but is always there. We are all humans, as sharks and jellyfish are both sea creatures. We can argue of the differences all day long, but we can also argue the similarities in how we feel, perceive, etc. It is all but a matter of how you choose to look at it.
I am very happy with my decision to focus on the connection between the two poems instead of looking for the difference between them. It has helped me a great deal with unlocking a part of my understanding, or rather knowing where I lack in understanding, to move forward with my violin playing and thoughtfulness.
Photo Taken by Rachael Cousins
My main goal during this project was to not only begin playing the violin again after much too long of a break, but to also to really think about the pressures that men undergo each day that are not always mentioned. As I had stated before, I am very familiar with the feminine side of things, what is to be expected of women, but I will never be able to fully understand what men go through on similar issues. This song represents the struggles of both sides, and I hope also celebrates the strength of each gender. May we all have a little bit of Shark and Jellyfish in each of us.
Enjoy the Song!