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A New Year

The new year began, as the world fell into a state of unprecedented calm. And the farmer dropped his sickle and froze, witnessing a spectacle overwhelming in its common majesty. The sky was the brightest of blues, unblemished by cloud, the fields stretching before him were as the purest gold and without shadow. The wheat was plentiful and the hive ran with a honey rivaling the gold of the fields. Beyond, the streams were bright and clear as if poured from a crystals infinite center.

The children ceased their play and stood in baffled silence as a host of luminous balloons, wider than great ships, hovered, dipped as if in greeting, then ascended deep into that same blue.

Bowls of bread and fish and fruit materialized in the hands of the hungry. The sun drew the water from raging flood, relieving the saturated earth. The rain satiated drought and the desert flourished. Rivers teamed with fish, pink and plentiful. And the lame ran, the blind spun in a new radiance, and the sick rose refreshed.

The healing worm rose from the clay of creation and the tongue of every living thing brought forth understanding. And laughter rang out and the grieving were comforted. Bells of silver chimed and all bowed their heads, giving thanks. And rainbows circled the earth like the rings of Saturn, and all dipped their fingers into its formlessness and knew that it was good.
 

When Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854–November 30, 1900) was incarcerated for being homosexual, he set out to be reborn within the walls of the infamous Reading Prison and recorded that quest for rebirth on the hundred pages of a stunning 50,000-word letter to Sir Alfred “Bosie” Douglas — the love of Wilde’s life and the subject of his exquisite love letters. Titled De Profundis, it chronicled Wilde’s effort to transmute his suffering into a spiritual journey toward self-transcendence.

In 2016, the notorious prison opened its doors to the public for the first time and the London-based arts organisation Artangel invited artists and writers to respond to Wilde’s stirring letter. Among them was Smith, who read from the original text and ended with a stunning vocal performance of her fittingly themed song “Wing.”

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