Patti Smith – Mark My Words – Hartford, CT

Thursday night we attended Patti Smith in Conversation: A Mark My Words Event. The event was held at the Immanuel Congregational Church in Hartford, Ct. presented by  The Mark Twain House & Museum.

I constantly revel in the connections that formulate with Patti Smith, most notably historic and literary contemporaries.

The first parallel I drew was two famous authors connecting on one stage in front of 700 people, Patti Smith and Mark Twain.

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The Immanuel Congregational Church is a magnificent edifice. I found myself in awe of the mosaic above the altar that depicts the parable of “The Sower.”

I serve as a lector in my church and have read this parable during mass readings. It is especially meaningful as our son’s name is Matthew. The second parallel drawn. 🙂

From Matthew 13.4 (NRSV):
“Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen”

From Matthew 13.18 (NRSV):
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this the one who hears the word, but the cares for the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

Colin McEnroe was the interviewer,  a radio personality with a daily WNPR show, The Colin McEnroe Show. He is a weekly columnist/blogger for The Hartford Courant and a contributing editor at Men’s Health.

The event was recorded for Connecticut Public Radio. Colin McEnroe estimated the podcast to be available in November or December.

Patti took a special interest in the Tiffany mosaic. She shared that the mosaic is made entirely of glass and that it reminded her of Johnny Appleseed sowing seeds for mankind.

I reflected on Patti Smith sowing the seeds of creative consciousness in our midst.

I liked the nature of the third connection. Patti was asked her thoughts were of her friend Bob Dylan being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. You could sense her joy and satisfaction. She stated Dylan deserved the accolade by mentioning such songs as “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland” and “Desolation Row”. Her special connection with Bob Dylan was heartfelt. For me this was the third parallel drawn.

Patti Smith has revealed songs by Bob Dylan that I was unaware of. She gives them special purpose as a poetess and singer/songwriter. She has a talented ear for the power and the beauty of his work. I found this to be the case on her album Twelve when she covered  “Changing of the Guard” from Bob Dylan’s Street Legal.

But what I really love is the song, “Dark Eyes” from Dylan’s Empire Burlesque. It is one of those gems that gleams more brightly via her duet with Bob Dylan on Patti Smith’s comeback tour in 1995.

The fourth parallel drawn was through her longtime admiration for William Blake. She took up her guitar and performed, “My Blakean Year” for us. I always feel William Blake through Patti.

Once again an auspicious evening of spiritual connection with Patti Smith in a pastoral setting.

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