Written about summer, many summers ago, this is a song inspired by our garden, its season of fullness and plenitude, where everything reaches upwards and outwards in expansion. Gorwel grew sunflowers that year and every corner of the garden seemed in flower, even in the shadows. So the abundance of summer is in the song along with a sense of letting go to it all. I don’t really think it a good idea, in the world of practicalities, to leave bindweed to its nefarious business of choking all other plants – but, somehow, the image fitted the feel of the song, at the time, and the letting everything be, so call it poetic licence.
But, of course, where there is summer, there is also autumn just round the corner: ‘We’re sensing the summer grow golden around us/Soon leaves from the trees will be falling’ and autumn leads to winter with its symbolism of old age and death. This led to me pondering the question: ‘But for the there of you, where would my body mysterious be?’ the answer being ‘A weeping willow tree’.
So many songs, of all persuasions, have autobiographical elements woven in to them, but a song can travel far from its originators – out into the world, migrating into the hearts and minds of others, to become about them and their own loved ones. That’s what I hope for all songs, including our own. I see them as seeds, some finding stoney ground, true, but others flying into rich receptive soils that they can germinate and grow in.
So the song is about love, abundance and summer’s ‘lease’ which, as Shakespeare put it in his all-too-famous sonnet, ‘hath all too short a date‘. It’s also about one of my key ‘life themes’, something that has come into my writing over and again, I have discovered: the question of how to ‘sing’ one’s words ‘true’. I’m sure I’ll be returning to this theme more fully in future posts.
In terms of the music, just to add that Pete got the feel exactly right on the drums and Cass’s sonorous violin playing adds a warm summer plangency to the song.
You can hear ’Let Me Be Still’ here.
Let me be still with you
down where the water weighs words
that are waiting to sing true.
We’re sensing the summer grow open around us,
the sunflower glow in the evertime blue.
Never more there, you are fully beside me,
when even the shadows are flowering –
but for the there of you, where would my body mysterious be?
A weeping willow tree …
Letting the bindweed grow free in the border,
you wind the flowers into my hair.
We walk in the twilight as colour is taken,
the height of the year going over.
We’re sensing the summer grow golden around us,
soon leaves from the trees will be falling.
But for the there of you, where would my body mysterious be?
A weeping willow tree.