Having just logged in I've come straight to this thread as although I've listening to Kate since The Kick, this particular song has haunted me for years - with the follow on under the ice and waking the witch, I don't think there has been another female artist who has evoked this 'past life' vibe in me. Amazing and still very powerful - I'm glad to have found this place.
Well, its more a feeling the song evokes, so elaboration is difficult. You know the feeling when you drift into sleep, memories and dreamstates. I think Kate managed to capture on this particular album especially something deep within us all. Sounds a bit mystical but I'm sure lots of people feel the same. Like the vibe Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill gives you - hmmm, good question though.
Wow, you just put into words what I couldn't... I have that feeling too...
"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath- a source of little visible delight, but necessary." Catherine Earnshaw, Wuthering Heights.
A fragile song, heavy and exhausted. ‘If they find me racing white horses/They'll not take me for a buoy.’
The girl has already been in the water for hours, text-book ‘racing white horses,’ desperately trying to attract attention so not be mistaken for a buoy. She has confused sea gulls with search parties. She is now exhausted…
Too tired to keep struggling, she places all her faith and hope in the little torchlight on her life-jacket… She prays, Little light will guide them to me… Without energy, she can do no more than fix the torch to keep her face lit up (with hope)… She is fighting sleep, wanting to shut down thinking, imagination and struggle… Don’t worry, I’ll wake up if I hear boats, engines, rescuers…
Against losing the struggle, she wishes she had her radio… The ‘friendly voices Talking 'bout stupid things’ would now be so appreciated… keeping her awake and distracted…
She might be using ‘stupid’ affectionately, or she might be ironically referring to the weather reports. “Weather services tracked the formation of these storms, but failed to appreciate their rapid development in time to warn either fleet of the impending gale winds…” (Hinz, The Fastnet Race disaster of August 1979; and see gaffa.org/dreaming/tnw_ff10.html)
But she is slipping fast… Let me be weak, Let me sleep And dream of sheep…
little light=both the life-jacket torch and the hope/faith/prayer she feels. they say they take me home=home=death. poppies=opium=heroin=morphine=Morpheus (the god of dreams in Greek mythology; Morpheus sleeps surrounded by poppy flowers). deeper and deeper=into subconscious dream state… (leading into dream recall ‘Under Ice’).
‘And dream of sheep./Ooh, their breath is warm/And they smell like sleep…’ - see THE SHEEP UNDER THE SNOW (William Kennish, W.H. Gill, etc.) - Shepherds searching for sheep lost in snow use probing-poles; "round breathing-holes" are formed by the heat of the sheep’s breath in the snow, which afford them partial ventilation and also attract the scent of the dog/rescuer/The Good Shepherd.
A sad and beautiful song, about people struggling against the odds.
On the Fastnet Race disaster of August 1979: - Winds were reported at Force 6, with gusts of Force 7. Forecasters were predicting winds of Force 8. - In the event, competitors were caught in Force 11 hurricane strength gusts midway between Land's End and Fastnet. - The rescue effort included: Royal Navy ships, RAF Nimrod jets, helicopters, lifeboats, a Dutch warship, tugs, trawlers and tankers. - Many of the smaller yachts taking part in the competition were not equipped with a radio and were therefore not able to report their positions. - By the time the winds subsided, 15 people were dead, 24 crews had abandoned their yachts and five craft had sunk. 136 sailors were rescued.
Kate: [On “And Dream of Sheep” - the line that says 'Come here with me now.'] “When I was little, and I'd had a bad dream… [my mother would] say something like "Come here with me now." It's my mother saying this line in the track…” (http://gaffa.org/garden/kate23.html).
-- The Ninth Wave opens with the Girl in the Water: terrified, exhausted, scared; wanting/fighting sleep; trying to still herself with the patience of sheep lost in snow... By the end of “And Dream of Sheep,” she is unconscious… sinking into that intermediate state between life-death and rebirth... -- What follows is a series of 5 dreams/nightmares, rising from her ‘unconscious’ state. (Maybe she becomes semi-conscious at some point; maybe she does not.) -- During the final Chorus of “Hello, Earth” she drowns(?). Note the philosophic, mournful ending of the song. -- The whispering/comforting “Come here with me now” (at the beginning/Alpha) has become the whispering/comforting “Go to sleep little earth” (at the end/Omega). -- The ocean = dark, deep, unconscious, id, life, grave, womb… etc, etc.
<i>But the Wheel of Life is a continuous wonder, thus the rebirthing “The Morning Fog.” … </i>
Kate Bush: "I think that as a very young child, perhaps I aspired to becoming something like a great actress." The Tony Myatt interview (1985)
Post by rosabelbelieve on Dec 19, 2007 3:17:29 GMT
In contrast to the rest of The Ninth Wave, this is a very soothing, gentle song, though it does deal with the deep fear and exhaustion of being lost in the powerful, stormy ocean. I see it as a longing for comfort, a longing to forget all that stands in the way of peace and calm, and also the beginning of a descent into the underworld of dreams and the unconscious. The heroine, in her deep tiredness, becomes almost childlike, likening waves to white horses and longing for the world to "Let me be weak, let me sleep, and dream of sheep." She yearns for the protection and safety and faith she felt as a child, of her mothers voice releasing her from her nightmares. She wants to go home, to all the triviality of radios "talking 'bout stupid things" and she trusts faithfully in the "little light shining" to guide her rescuers to her.
Yet her longing for safety, for peaceful sleep and sweet whimsical dreams, for the comfort of her mother ultimately leads deeper into the ocean, closer to death. The dark dreaminess of the sea, the soothing poppy smell of the most restful sleep of all, the sweetest forgetfulness of death and the ocean, mother of all and Queen of the dead, both Demeter and Persephone in the Underworld. In the first verses she seems to know this (I can't be left to my imagination..) and she concentrates on the realness of the little light of life shining. But she is so tired, and the sweet, unraveling darkness of unconsciousness is so seductive.
"Ooh their breath is warm And they smell like sleep And they say they take me home Like poppies Heavy with seed They take me deeper and deeper..."
She has given in to sleep, and so comes the dream of Under Ice.
How long have you got? ... Have you had your tea? ... That's fine, Jim! Just name the day and I'll dance at your wedding... Hello Elaine, darling! Haven't you got rid of that clot of a husband yet...
Little light shining, Little light will guide them to me. My face is all lit up, My face is all lit up. If they find me racing white horses, They'll not take me for a buoy. Let me be weak, Let me sleep And dream of sheep.
I: Alright. now, you seem to have a fascination with water. I noticed that a couple of your favorite movies, Don't Look Now and Cruel Sea, which are very much on a watery theme. So have you a fascination for water? KB: Yes, yes I do. I think that everyone does really. I think that Cruel Sea was one film that I particularly mentioned though as being a very influential force for this side. so, it would have to do something with water. 1985 Picture Disk, "Conversation Disc Series", abcd 012 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/im85_pd2.html
I: Okay, then, why then all the ninth wave and water and ice. KB: I think it was an idea I probably got a few years ago of someone being in the water for the night, and hadn't really tried it until this album. It's hard to say where it came from. I can only pinpoint certain war films as imagery that would suggest it, things like The Cruel Sea, those kind of old war films, where the people were being cast into the water, having really been through kind of a heavy experience already. And the thing of actually launching from that, so that's the basis of the body in the water, but then the head travels off as the night goes on. 1985 Picture Disk Interview, CBAK 4011 www.gaffaweb.org/reaching/im85_pd1.html
Alfred Joyce Kilmer (December 6, 1886–July 30, 1918) was an American journalist, poet, literary critic, lecturer and editor. Though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the common beauty of the natural world as well as his religious faith, Kilmer is remembered most for a short poem entitled Trees (1913), which was published in the collection Trees and Other Poems in 1914. At the time of his deployment to Europe during the first World War (1914–1918), Kilmer was considered the leading American Catholic poet and lecturer of his generation, whom critics often compared to British contemporaries G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936) and Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953). A sergeant in the 165th U.S. Infantry Regiment, Kilmer was killed at the Second Battle of Marne in 1918 at the age of 31.
The Fourth Shepherd (For Thomas Walsh)
On nights like this the huddled sheep Are like white clouds upon the grass, And merry herdsmen guard their sleep And chat and watch the big stars pass.
It is a pleasant thing to lie Upon the meadow on the hill With kindly fellowship near by Of sheep and men of gentle will.
I lean upon my broken crook And dream of sheep and grass and men -- O shameful eyes that cannot look On any honest thing again!
On bloody feet I clambered down And fled the wages of my sin, I am the leavings of the town, And meanly serve its meanest inn.
I tramp the courtyard stones in grief, While sleep takes man and beast to her. And every cloud is calling "Thief!" And every star calls "Murderer!"
The hand of God is sure and strong, Nor shall a man forever flee The bitter punishment of wrong. The wrath of God is over me!
With ashen bread and wine of tears Shall I be solaced in my pain. I wear through black and endless years Upon my brow the mark of Cain.
Poor vagabond, so old and mild, Will they not keep him for a night? And She, a woman great with child, So frail and pitiful and white.
Good people, since the tavern door Is shut to you, come here instead. See, I have cleansed my stable floor And piled fresh hay to make a bed.
Here is some milk and oaten cake. Lie down and sleep and rest you fair, Nor fear, O simple folk, to take The bounty of a child of care.
On nights like this the huddled sheep -- I never saw a night so fair. How huge the sky is, and how deep! And how the planets flash and glare!
At dawn beside my drowsy flock What winged music I have heard! But now the clouds with singing rock As if the sky were turning bird.
O blinding Light, O blinding Light! Burn through my heart with sweetest pain. O flaming Song, most loudly bright, Consume away my deadly stain!
The stable glows against the sky, And who are these that throng the way? My three old comrades hasten by And shining angels kneel and pray.
The door swings wide -- I cannot go -- I must and yet I dare not see. Lord, who am I that I should know -- Lord, God, be merciful to me!
O Whiteness, whiter than the fleece Of new-washed sheep on April sod! O Breath of Life, O Prince of Peace, O Lamb of God, O Lamb of God!