Lyrical Meditations on Spirituality and Sexuality: Drawing a Poetic Line
This essay proposes a reconsideration of poetic representations of the sexual and spiritual dimensions of human experience, arguing that, while generally less time-bound than works of fiction, lyrics both reflect and respond to attitudes concerning these aspects of our lives. The communicative and affective power of poetic texts makes exploration of a chronological selection of influential lyrics on these topics a worthwhile experience in itself, while serving to establish a brief poetic ‘history’ of sexuality and spirituality and their variously perceived interactions and intertwinements. The essay ranges historically and geographically from a medieval English setting to the contemporary and local context of South Africa. The “line” that is mentioned in the title refers to a constructed sequence in which some ways of imagining the spiritual and the sexual recur to indicate the enduring fascination and occasional perplexity aroused in major poets by the co-existence of these features that play a crucial role in all human lives.