Thursday, January 8, 2009

Flour power

The Small Faces' 1968 "Song of a Baker" was going through my head one morning last semester as I headed out of the Brookland-CUA Metro on my way to class at Dominican House of Studies, and I thought about how Eucharistic it sounded.

I don't know what the group's bass player and lead singer on the track, Ronnie Lane, or guitarist Steve Marriott, had in mind when they wrote it, but its lyrics fit very neatly with the meaning of the offering in the Mass of bread "which earth has given and human hands have made":

There's wheat in the field
And water in the stream
And salt in the mine
And an aching in me

I can no longer stand and wonder
'Cause I'm driven by this hunger
So I'll jug some water
Bake some flour
Store some salt and wait the hour

While I'm thinking of love
Love is thinking for me
And the baker will come
And the baker I'll be ...
What particularly strikes me is, "While I'm thinking of love/Love is thinking for me." That's practically straight out of Aquinas.

Then there are the references to jugging water, storing salt, and waiting the hour, and it's not too much of a stretch to see in them Gospel images—Cana, salt and light, awaiting the bridegroom ...

The Small Faces' album containing "Song of a Baker," Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, was one of the first albums I bought when I began my obsession with Mod-era music as a teen. I listened to it and loved it during the time of my life when I felt most separated from God. It is comforting to think that, even as it seemed I was so far from grace, He prompted my will to go out towards a song that offered a principle of return.