I will carry you my love
If you can carry me
through this summer of our discontent
It is my belief that the saddest songs are sung by those who have known the moments of greatest joy; the fall is more precipitate, the loss more profound. And I think Margo Timmins understands this. There are some lines from Pushkin I came across recently that tell the story behind the beautiful sadness in Margo Timmins’ voice. Pushkin asks:
Why I see everything with desolation,
And don’t enjoy the pleasant dream of life …
Who once has loved can never love again;
Who once knew happiness has used his ration.
A moment’s bliss is all our bliss can be …
We’re left at last with nothing but ennui … (translated by Alexander Volokh)
That’s it, that ennui. That’s what Margo Timmins brings to the realm of sad song sorcery, what makes her the true Queen of Sorrow. Not a puny, effete ennui, but a profound ennui: the ennui of the post-ecstatic aftermath, of the pale loiterer in Keats’ "La Belle Dame Sans Merci." An ennui beyond mere boredom and sorrow. It’s there in "Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning." It’s there in "Where Are You Tonight?" and in "If You Were the Woman." It’s there in spades in "Lost My Drivin’ Wheel." It’s the hopelessness that goes beyond any one loss to Total Loss, the loss even of a sense of loss, the loss that leaves only the embers of ennui behind.