Saturday, May 24, 2008

ORIGINS: JEREMIAH BLUES (PART 1)




Jeremiah Blues (Part 1)

From the album The Soul Cages (A&M)
Words and music by Sting

It was midnight, midnight at noon
Everyone talked in rhyme
Everyone saw the big clock ticking
Nobody knew, nobody knew the time

Elegant debutantes smiled
Everyone fought for dimes
Newspapers screamed for blood
It was the best of times

Every place around the world it seemed the same
Can't hear the rhythm for the drums
Everybody wants to look the other way
When something wicked this way comes

Sometimes they tie a thief to the tree
Sometimes I stare
Sometimes it's me

Everyone told the truth
All that we heard were lies
A pope claimed that he'd been wrong in the past
This was a big surprise

Everyone fell in love
A cardinal's wife was jailed
The government saved a dying planet
When popular icons failed

Every place around the world it seemed the same
Can't hear the rhythm for the drums
Everybody wants to look the other way
When something wicked this way comes

Sometimes they tie a thief to the tree
Sometimes I stare
Sometimes it's me
Sometimes I stare
Sometimes it's me

1 comment:

Cikgu Screwtape said...

This was Sting when what he sang about mattered. The human condition and all that jazz. Apathy and the dearth of popular icons (with governments and self-appointed pricks taking over).

I got "The Soul Cages" when I was in Form Two. Reading Tom DeFalco's "The Mighty Thor" while listening to that album. Didn't know what the heck a "concept album" was all about. Only knew that he was singing about his dead father.

Over the years, I quoted some lines from "The Soul Cages" (Island of Souls and Mad About You) to impress chicks. None of them knew what I was getting at. But it didn't matter much. It worked.

Then I took part in a pop-magazine quiz on Sting and "The Soul Cages" album. It was one of those rare times I actually went out to get an envelope and stamps, line up at the post office and sent the damned thing off. I didn't win. Guess they didn't like the slogan I wrote. I'm not very good at slogans.

"One day he dreamed of the ship in the world
It would carry his father and he
To a place they would never be found
To a place far away from this town."


These lines haunted me but I had no love for my father. Maybe that's why they haunted me.

"Trapped in the cage of the skeleton ship
All the workmen suspended like flies
Caught in the flare of acetylene light
A working man works till the industry dies
And Billy would cry when he thought of the future"


I didn't understand all the references to the worker's rebellion and the tyranny of industry then when I was 14. But I liked the poetry in those lines.

Two priests came round our house tonight
One young, one old, to offer prayers for the dying
To serve the final rite
One to learn, one to teach
Which way the cold wind blows
Fussing and flapping in priestly black
Like a murder of crows

And all this time, the river flowed
Endlessly to the sea
If I had my way
I'd take a boat from the river And I'd bury the old man
I'd bury him at sea

Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth
Better to be poor than a fat man in the eye of a needle
And as these words were spoken I swear I hear The old man laughing
'What good is a used up world, and how could it be worth having'

And all this time the river flowed
Endlessly like a silent tear
And all this time the river flowed
Father, if Jesus exists, Then how come he never lived here.


These were probably the first lines from a song that led me down a long spiralling descent into paganism. Like Matt Damon in "Dogma" explainin' to this nun how Lewis Carroll made him lose his faith.

And all this time the river flowed
In the falling light of a northern sun
If I had my way I'd take a boat from the river
Men go crazy in congregations
But they only get better
One by one One by one...


Men go crazy in congregations but they only get better one by one. Can we say "Amen" to that?

~ Edmund

Sometimes I stare
Sometimes it's me
Sometimes I stare
Sometimes it's me