Calypso Songs Philosophical

I promise, this IS going somewhere! All evidence may say otherwise but, stay with me on this one!!
I’ve joked before about being a fan of Harry Belafonte (It’s no joke. He’s amazing). I like to read through lyrics of his songs, because just as often as they are silly or fun, they’re beautiful and poetic. I’m aware he didn’t write any of these but he makes them sound damn good…

As morning breaks, the heaven on high
I lift my heavy load to the sky
Sun comes down with a burning glow
Mingles my sweat with the earth below

I see woman on bended knee
Cutting cane for her family
I see man at the waterside
Casting nets at the surging tide

Oh, island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand
All my days I will sing in praise
Of your forest, waters, your shining sand

I mean…if that isn’t a lovely picture, dammit.

He has a goofy song called “Man Piaba”. Which is basically about a small boy asking about ‘the bird and bee’. Now…I had to do some checking, but apparently there is a Jamaican herb that’s nicknamed Woman Piaba. (Stay with me here…)
“Woman Piaba” or Hyptis Pectinata is prepared as a tea for stomach-ache, colds and headaches, as a drink for a woman in labor. The herb is used in Jamaica for pain in the bowels and colic and as a drink for a woman in early menopause.

So..the little boy in this songs wonders, “if the woman piaba, then why not man, and what happens when they are together”. And, apparently he travels through time and space by himself to ask the world’s great thinkers to explain it to him. Einstein and Freud put upon him theories of sublimation and relativity…etcetera, etcetera.

Where am I going with this….well, at one point in the song, Freud tells him that Love and Hate are Psychosomatic. Pause. Thinking. Interesting theories in unlikely places, indeed.

Especially if we consider Psychosomatic being an adjective defined as a physical illness (or other condition, i.e. Lovesick) caused or aggravated by internal conflict or stress.

It made me consider the suggestion that Love and Hate (the “illness”) are created from imposed internal affect and emotional comforts or conflict (warm fuzzies or burning ire such as they are). It’s understood that psychosomatic ‘illnesses’, while not necessarily caused by physical ailments, can still be very real. But, one ‘illness’ begets another, and so on. In other words, even if you have created something, so to speak, it still affects your body, health and well being. And if those aren’t well, they aren’t well. Regardless of the cause. And those ‘illnesses’ will cause others. But…was the source of the ‘illness’ real? Or did we create it? And why? How? Does it matter? Who can say.

So, I’m left with this question. IS Love All In Your Head? I’m not entirely sure, but I know I could use some of that tea because I happen to think Love is nothing but a big fat “pain in the bowels”. And. Ouch.

And anyway…the little boy ends up 93 and still never understanding the whole thing between man and woman….FANNtastic!


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