Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great Lake Swimmers - Your Rocky Spine

So Kat played me this song by Great Lake Swimmers, and I just cannot get enough of it. I'm including the lyrics here because I'm so profoundly struck by this love song to the wilderness (in my mind the Canadian one, specifically Ontario since Great Lake Swimmers are from there, I think).

It just reminds me of everything I love about the natural world, especially the humbling sense it instills that we're nothing more than the animals, mere inhabitants of this ecological accident that is existence. That, I feel, is the meaning of the first half of the second to last stanza, which "reduces" the singer to animal through the reference to his "claws." Admittedly the next half makes it a bit religious, but I'm selectively ignoring that.

Beyond that, though, it manages to hit all the affecting love-song tropes (body imagery, possession, embrace, passion, etc.), while simultaneously effecting the sense of a journey. The whole thing ends up being extremely Romantic, in both the Hallmark and Wordsworthian senses of the word, and I really like that about it.

I really need to give Great Lake Swimmers some more attention. Despite some of the negative reviews I initially heard about them they are constantly impressing me. Between this song and "Various Stages," I feel myself inclined to agree with that CBC Radio 3 podcast announcer I heard: the singer-songwriter at the core of Great Lake Swimmers might be the best Canadian poet currently making music. That's big praise, in my books.

I was lost in the lakes
And the shapes that your body makes
That your body makes, that your body makes
That your body makes

The mountains said I could find you here
They whispered the snow and the leaves in my ear
I traced my finger along your trails
Your body was the map, I was lost in it

Floating over your rocky spine
The glaciers made you, and now you're mine
Floating over your rocky spine
The glaciers made you, and now you're mine

I was moving across your frozen veneer
The sky was dark but you were clear
Could you feel my footsteps
And would you shatter, would you shatter, would you

And with your soft fingers between my claws
Like purity against resolve
I could tell, then and there, that we were formed from the clay
And came from the rocks for the earth to display

They told me to be careful up there
Where the wind blows a venomous rage through your hair
They told me to be careful up there
Where the wind rages through your hair

1 comment:

  1. I think this songs brilliance is the ability to open up our minds as to , is it about a woman or is it about our earth as both have such mystery and beauty.