Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Evolution, comfort, Mrs and Mrs Darwin in grief

Last post was about evolution and how accepting it might be a liberating thing, might help us accept the impossibility, the outrage, of our own mortality.

But it's not always easy, is it? Even in the abstract. 

I think way back I posted a clip of this song, performed and co-written by Karine Polwart. I thought I'd pop it up again - it still works powerfully on me. The setting is Mr and Mrs Darwin grieving for the death of their daughter. 

I won't put up the clip of KP singing it, because you might just want to regard it as a poem as well as a song, it seems that strong and true to me.

We all look for comforts and supports; Darwin builds his own cathedral....

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 …

Words & Music: Karine Polwart (Bay Songs 2009) & Dave Gunning (SOCAN)


  1. We're all alone too when it comes to our grief...

  2. Yes, et, in an absolute sense; but what I've learned from you and others in recent months is how to think more imaginatively and productively so we can find ways to reduce that potentially terrible sense of isolation for those around us. Grief, after all, can bring people together as well as blow them apart, I think.