All Swept Away

Listen to the MP3, and then read on.

This the final song in my “One Long Year” project–the postlude as it were. This is the song in which his life flashes before his eyes. I apologize for the ridiculously bad performance. This is a one take recording of a complicated song that needs to be fleshed out with the full orchestra I hear in my head and a whole lot of practice. Please see beyond that to the music that’s at the heart of the recording. I’m especially eager to get your feedback on the lyrics. I’m trying something different–something epic–and it may just be an epic fail.

1. I was born just like you
in water and womb
The cord was cut and I floated away
in a strong, cold stream of days

2. The current carried me relentlessly on
I had to learn how to swim before I learned how to walk
And the endless stream of nights and days
Flood my memories

3. Waking to the warmth of the sun on my bed
And the sound of my mother singing in the kitchen
And the muffled vibration of my father’s heavy footsteps
And the creak of the oven door and the smell of bread
The sharp breath drawn from fall morning air
And laughing at in the sunlit smoke, exhaling
And the crayon yellow bus that would take me away
To a school full of children who would never be my friends

4. Long hours spent pretending to listen
To teachers who were as alone and confused as the students
While my thoughts were filled with unanswered questions
Like a deep, still pool, diving to the bottom
I was pushed away in the undertow
With no way to fight its unforgiving power
And no choice but give in to the will of the water
And let it carry me on, farther and farther

And we’re all swept away

5. …into you, and you into me
Was it luck of the current or destiny?
All I know is this confluence gave meaning
To the indifferent flow of months and years
And our waters wove together and a new life stream
Grew from the two. For the first time I could feel my heart beating.
With the weight of a lifetime of hope and fear
I gave my heart to you, and you to me.

6. But our pasts piled up and seeped into everything
We were possessed by spirits who compelled us to speak
the bitter words from which we thought love had freed us
and the acid tongues that our ancestors bequeathed us.
Until the very thing that once revived my thirsty spirit
Became bitter in my mouth, and hateful and weary
There was too much water under the bridge, an ocean between us
We could swim for the rest of our lives, but now there’s no returning

7. We’re all swept out to sea adrift in the currents
We could swim for the rest of our lives, never returning
We’re all swept out to sea adrift in the currents
And we swim for our lives but we’ll never get back.

And we’re all swept away

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