Thursday, 19 May 2011

Polwart's Darwin

Quote from the sleeve note of the CD "Darwin Song Project, Shrewsbury 2009":

"Darwin's daughter Annie died in 1851 at the age of 10. Not only was it a massive personal blow, it cemented in the most painful way possible, many of his ideas about the cruelty and struggle at the heart of natural selection. Many of the song's images are taken from Darwin's own writings."

We're All Leaving

There is thunder on the skyline
And it tears her breath away
Like the twilight steals the day

A father's kind hand could not command her
To return to him once more
Like a soldier from the war

We're all leaving
Even the ones who stay behind
We're all leaving in our own time
We're all leaving in our own time

Each night surrenders to a morning
But beneath the April sky
He can hear an endless cry

On smiling fields there's a battle raging
And for every bloom he knows
Another flower never grows

We're all leaving …

And he has no Ark to bear him from this Flood
Just a broken vessel wrought in flesh and blood
Though the riptides pull him under
He will not cease to wonder
At the beauty, beauty, beauty, beauty

He brings her mother to the church door
And while she prays for what will come
He walks those woods alone

And there he builds his own cathedrals
And on every whirring wing
He can hear the whole world sing

We're all leaving …


  1. That's beautiful. Thanks GM...
    Did you see the recent film about Darwin called 'Creation'? It starred Paul Bettany as Darwin, and the scenes where he grieves for his daughter are incredibly moving. I thought so anyway! Worth a watch if you haven't seen it.

  2. Pleased you liked it, CB. Three things caught me: the repetition of 'beauty,' which almost becomes painful cf Darwin's vision of how that beauty is created by relentless competition; the way the striking final verse pulls together the whole thing (I think maybe thinking and feeling non-believers have to build their own cathedrals)and of course the thought that we are all leaving - in our own time. Oh, and the fourth thing is her lovely voice. If anything, she did it even better when I saw her live a few weeks ago. Well worth catching, she communicates so well.

  3. Astonishingly brilliant words. Yes, we live in the antithesis business. Thanks for this. I'd never have found it otherwise.

  4. Good - a little repayment for a much larger number of doors that GFG has opened for me!