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Heart Portal – 12 Years Old and Intense and Likes Poetry

These four lines were among those I wrote in one of my early attempts at songwriting, when I was 12 years old;

“Those eyes
are beautiful.

They’re all I see, sometimes,
when I look at you.

They cause me
to feel.

They move me softly,
they make me steel.”

To be honest, the poem/song wasn’t actually much longer than that. And the melody that went with those lines – simple, almost automatic, a bit stilted – is now part of the new version of the song I built around those lines.

I was a pretty intense 12 year old. I mean sure, that intensity came out in my love for floor hockey (I never did properly learn how to skate on ice – a source of some shame for a Canadian boy from Winnipeg). But I also really liked words. I read poetry, and every book I could get my hands on. Some nights I read the dictionary, and even took notes, trying to learn new words.

The line about how “the eyes are a window to the soul” made a lot of sense to me.

The intensity with which I felt my many conflicting emotions felt taboo to me somehow. Much of that was internal – I also felt a keen loyalty to logic, and the social attraction interactions of 12-year-olds made no sense to me at all. I wasn’t sure that emotions were even okay to have, never mind admit to. I unconsciously attributed this sense of taboo to coming from the faith community that I grew up in, but looking back I think it was more a matter of my own internal interpretations rather than dogma.

In one conversation I had as an older teenager at camp, I confessed to my desire to be a writer, but that I had some misgivings, since I felt that faith limited what I could write about. I don’t remember the name of the fellow I talked to, but I do remember what he said – or at least, what he meant. The gist of it was, that he saw spirituality as providing an expanded dimension for what a person could write about.
A person of faith (and I would now add, a person struggling with the notion of faith) could write about everything that anyone else could write about, and faith as well.

That conversation was part of my process of opening up and being more free to express myself, to consider all topics.

So this song, about feeling an intense attraction to another person, and the awkward and wonderful moment of getting caught up in that attraction, is part of belatedly setting my 12 year old conflicted self free to be expressive and less conflicted. As Wordsworth famously wrote in his poem ‘My Heart Leaps Up’- “The Child is father of the Man”.

Here are the rest of the lyrics of ‘Heart Portal’

Feels like I’m looking
through a window
deeply into you –

And I’m ashamed of how I stare,
but I don’t wanna
look away.

Some kind of power
is beginning
to flow.

Now we’re just standing there,

Those eyes
are beautiful.

They all I see, sometimes,
when I look at you.

They cause me
to feel.

They move me softly;
they make me steel.

They penetrate.
They water-fall.

They massage my stiff heart until they hold it all.

Those eyes
are beauty

They all I
they all I
they all I see.

They all I
they all I
they all I see.

… From there, it’s a matter of repetition.

The repetition itself functions in this song as a way to communicate the sense of being caught up in a moment, of not being able to get past the moment – of feeling entranced and having my mind captured by the beauty of the eyes I am looking into and by extension, the essence of the person that I feel drawn to as well.

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For Unseen Work; Get Going Mantra

Significant challenges in life deserve their own music. Universally, societies have included music in their ritual, to help emotionally prepare entire groups of people for journeys, battles, and initiations.

We live in a more individually focused time, and much of the work is done behind the scenes. Whether it’s teachers doing their planning, athletes working out, conscientious people exercising to stay fit so they can more effectively help and provide an example to their families, scientists doing research, or songwriters and writers honing their craft, a lot of work gets done that nobody sees and which is not evident until the results become public in some way.

My song ‘Get Going Mantra’ is the one I wrote to recognize that unseen work, and to help myself prepare emotionally to do those lonely tasks. Its purpose is not complicated, so the lyrics aren’t either. It just says what it needs to say, at a decent tempo, in a positive way. I was aiming, too, to use a metaphor that is relevant to me – living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, I see the mountains in the distance almost every day, and travel out to them multiple times a year to hike and experience the natural world. Military and battle metaphors are not part of my life, and I want to contribute peace-time related metaphors because I believe it would be better to decrease the level of conflict-related thinking in our mindsets generally, so I’d rather sing about making it through particular challenges than about conquest.

Here are the lyrics;

To get to the top of the mountain – gonna have to climb.
Gonna take determination, gonna take some time. (2x)

Nobody will see me,
no one will cheer.
Maybe nobody
even know I’m here. (2x)

I know what I have to do. (2x)

Gotta get up and go! (4x)


The whole song gets repeated a second time.

I hope that others will find this song useful as a motivator too. Either way, it’s true for most of us at some point that “I know what I have to do,” and that at some point the difficult thing is just to “get up and go.” All the best in taking up your own personal goals and challenges toward personal fulfillment and contributing to the lives of those you love!

The song is available on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Google Play, Apple Music, and Tidal so far. I use my own name, Art Koop, as my artist/songwriter name.

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