Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pacing on the Last Night

For the past two nights, I've sat here drinking wine at the end of a day of music by Patty Griffin and Bruce Cockburn which ultimately ended with two Cockburn tracks being repeated repeatedly--Pacing the Cage and Last Night of the World. Here are the lyrics which kept me coming back for more. You can listen to both songs and more of his best at his website.

Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it's pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you've lived too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage

Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land
For the coming of the outbound stage
Pacing the cage
Pacing the cage


I learned as a child not to trust in my body
I've carried that burden through my life
But there's a day when we all have to be pried loose
If this were the last night of the world
What would I do?
What would I do that was different
Unless it was champagne with you?
The apocalyptic romantic genre was probably created and certainly mastered by Jackson Browne with his Late for the Sky album, but the combination of these two songs from the Anything Anytime Anywhere collection hits that sweet spot as well.

I signed up for that worldview long ago. As much as anything, it's who I am. Recognizing the futility, but never quite able to embrace it, I've raged against the cage and slowly walked the stagecoach road. Wherever it's led me, whatever depths I've reached, it's been better than suburbia. But there hasn't been enough prying loose, nor enough champagne.

If the last night of the world comes while I'm at Yellowstone, there's someone here I'd like to share that champagne with. We'll see how that goes down.


Northland said...

Yes, my friend, our lives have been better than suburbia. I lived there in my childhood, and though it was a good garden for my childhood dreams, it was my father who told me to follow my dreams and thereby pried me loose from the suburbs and let me fly away with a blessing.

greentangle said...

It would have been nice to have a better start, and I wish I'd done a better job of embracing and pursuing a different way of life, but I'm glad that at least I never fully embraced the mainstream path. As another song by Cockburn says, the trouble with normal is it always gets worse.

Northland said...

From what I've seen you have embraced a way of life different from 99% of America. Your vegetarian diet, low carbon footprint, not striving for material wealth but living the life of an aesthete with a biocentric world-view - you have embraced an alternative lifestyle far from the "mainstream".
No regrets, just more dreams to be lived....

greentangle said...

Thanks for the boost, Don.