Friday, November 11, 2011

The Brotherhood of Man

All day, since your haircut in the morning,
You have looked like a painting, even more than usual
We are in the wind, planting the maples
We meet an older man who seems to know 
I miss my dad.
And he smiles through the limbs.
We talk easily with him
until the rain begins.
This is the brotherhood of man.

Waiting at the airport on my suitcase
a girl traveling from Spain became my sudden friend,
though I did not learn her name.
And when the subway dimmed
a stranger lit my way.
This is the brotherhood of man.

I never can say what I mean
but you will understand,
coming through clouds on the way.
This is the brotherhood of man.

By Karen Peris (C) 2006 Umbrella Day Music

I really like The Innocence Mission (and this song in particular). Sufjan Stevens once said (in reference to another Innocence Mission song - although I think it applies to this one as well):

I'm in awe of big songs, national anthems, rock opera, the Broadway musical. But what I always come back to, after the din and drum roll, is the small song that makes careful observations about everyday life. This is what makes the music by The Innocence Mission so moving and profound. 'Lakes of Canada' creates an environment both terrifying and familiar using sensory language: incandescent bulbs and rowboats are made palpable by careful rhythms, unobtrusive rhyme schemes, and specificity of language. What is so remarkable about Karen Peris' lyrics are the economy of words, concrete nouns - fish, flashlight, laughing man - which come to life with melodies that dance around the scale like sea creatures. Panic and joy, a terrible sense of awe, the dark indentations of memory all come together at once, accompanied by the joyful strum of an acoustic guitar. This is a song in which everyday objects begin to have tremendous meaning.

Right on, Sufjan. 

No comments:

Post a Comment