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The Lines We Draw Together

by Rowan Rheingans

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1.
WHAT BIRDS ARE there’s dew on the grass of a softly born morning we always look skywards to see what is coming first there’s a rustle, an olive tree shaking and then without warning the earth begins moving moving the air becomes thick with the dust of the war young men look ahead in familiar order their beautiful faces, unknowing and gracious our fledglings are flying over the border flying when the bombs start to fall a day that glimpsed summer with a sky that was bright has now turned its back and after the slaughter, a bloody disaster the skylark returns silhouetted in black singing there’s dew on the grass of a softly born morning we always look skywards to see what is coming and this time the sound is a thousand wings flapping this time the sound is birds being doing what birds are birds being doing what birds are birds being doing what birds are birds being doing what birds are there’s dew on the grass of a softly born morning we always look skywards to see what is coming
2.
Lines 05:12
LINES there is a cord that hangs below these are the lines we follow there is a cord that hangs above the lines we draw together a cord that flexes to the ground these are the lines we follow it tugs and pulls as i climb down the lines we draw together i see early morning rain these are the lines we follow her jet black hair unravelling the lines we draw together i see you swimming in the river these are the lines we follow see you riding past the prisoners the lines we draw together red flags hanging from the window these are the lines we follow all weighted down with grief and sorrow the lines we draw together it’s the night before the last train these are the lines we follow how beautiful and how mundane are the lines we draw together i’m sorry i can’t stay too long these are the lines we follow it’s an earthly nest i rest upon the lines we draw together a cord that flexes to the sky these are the lines we follow it tugs and pulls and i start to climb the lines we draw together the tangle of our dying words the bundles of baby clothes the knotted threads of all we know now these are the lines we follow the tug, the pull, the circle of skin and bone and feather constantly unravel the lines we draw together
3.
Traces 08:30
walk backwards and you’ll see what we have left behind walk forwards and you’ll see what we have still to find turn me around i don’t want to see clearly anymore spin me around i have seen enough of war
4.
Fire 05:10
hush, don’t sing! you can’t sing those songs anymore though you sing of green and pleasant lands they burned the evidence the arguments for joy in case we forget again that we were born to kill for love which is not real love but it’s warming the cold evening and the others went before us collecting sticks from the woods to feed the flames that will suck the air from around us we will drown before the thunder comes we’ll go outside and build a fire we’ll go out in all the gardens and pile it higher and higher and as we watch it all burn the sun will go the ground will blacken where an old wind blows we’ll be here in the same old place with smoke in our hair and soot on our faces, love oh careless, careless, careless love we are short sighted we are blinded by the pull of one side on the other side it tugs at our skin and we let it in just to keep peace with the neighbours just to quieten the din, love i’ll follow you outside, we’ll build a fire we’ll take things from all the gardens and pile it higher and higher and as we watch it all burn the sun will go the ground will blacken where an old wind blows we’ll be here in the same old place with blood on our hands and guilty faces and the oldest excuses, love oh careless, careless, careless love it always starts slow the promise of belonging the promise of belonging the promise of belonging drowns us in it’s shivering skin and to belong, we all stop talking hush, don’t sing! you can’t sing those songs anymore, grandmother though you sing of green and pleasant lands they’ve been covered over in the darkest of colours from the smoke of a fire which still hangs above us...
5.
Brave 04:08
they’ll call him brave right after it’s over but before he left he was as scared as ever smiling horseman, half blind farmer smiling horseman, shy young father they’ll call him brave for reluctantly going and then a lucky one when the scars aren’t showing knitting, stitching, holding together knitting, stitching, carrying on five years away they said: wait for a letter five years away he’s dead, said the neighbours smiling horseman ... five years away so we thought that we’d lost you we said goodbye to you and the baby brother knitting, stitching ... then came a card, from the forests of russia in simple words i’ll be home soon, lover smiling horseman ... the frame of you came home for the winter you built us a roof, that we could all live under knitting, stitching ...
6.
Sky 02:29
above barbed wire prisons, watchtowers and mud puddles the sky is full of birds beyond this forgotten mountain, this darkened island the sky is full of birds although our sickness grows each day and our sorrow breeds in each new face the sky is full of birds despite our eyes which blink onto the page that shouts death and death again the birds are high and the sky is full of them above the purple lupin field, swaying in the best sunsets of my life the sky is full of birds the rare metal of birdsong the clashing guns of birdsong the wailing prayer of birdsong and warning sirens birdsong the prisoners of birdsong the transport trains of birdsong the screaming hope of birdsong oh, we are slow singers
7.
8.
Walls 05:07
9.
Sorrow 04:44
10.

credits

released August 23, 2019

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Rowan Rheingans Sheffield, UK

Rowan Rheingans is an award-winning fiddle player, banjoist, songwriter and theatre-maker widely regarded as one of the foremost innovators in folk music today. Best known for her work with acclaimed bands Lady Maisery, The Rheingans Sisters and Songs of Separation, Rowan has won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (‘Best Original Track’ in 2016 & ‘Best Album’ in 2017) and is a six-times nominee. ... more

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