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Daily Helping for April 25th, 2021 – Kae Tempest – Brand New Ancients

A photo of poet Kae Tempest, onstage in a black dress, standing in front of a lectern with two microphones, hands in the air and mid-performance of Brand New Ancients.

I have always loved mythology. It doesn’t matter what country or culture it comes from. I love mythology in all its forms because stories are how we understand the world. It’s how we pass down traditions and culture, morality and empathy. And you can trace the history of our species through the stories we choose to tell and preserve over time. And as such, I have often wondered what stories will remain of today, several thousand years into the future. What myths are we weaving right now that will be recited and studied for generations to come. I’m not sure if these thoughts are what inspired Kae Tempest to write Brand New Ancients, but it’s certainly all I could think about as I listened to them recite this poem.

And what an extraordinary poem it is. Once again, I can only marvel at the power of words. And so too, it would seem, was the author of those words, as Tempest actually has to pause midway through this performance because they are so overwhelmed by the power of what they are saying. It’s a breathtaking moment, completely pure and authentic, and I can’t say I wouldn’t react the same way if I was in their position. The idea that we are all Gods, all perfect in our imperfections, and all deserving of a mythology of our own, is simply beautiful.

Tempest notes that this performance is just a piece of a much larger work, and I hope that’s true. I can’t wait to read more of Brand New Ancients, but I fear that something may be lost without this incredible delivery of the words. Hopefully a full reading is available somewhere, but if not, I’ll just be grateful for this one. Because we are the Brand New Ancients, and that is a glorious thing.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!