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In Harm's Way

Amanda Palmer
Language: English


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rewind a year or so…to septemer 3rd, 2015.
remember this?

aylan kurdi


if you weren’t living out of the news cycle, you saw this.
this is aylan kurdi, a 3-year-old boy who was lying dead, face down on the shores of turkey during the crisis of 2015…and just happened to be captured by a news photographer.
but children were dying daily, hourly, minutely.

the world turned its attention to the crisis because of the photo, but the news cycle fades, and crisis didn’t go away. it persists.

when i saw the photo, like most people (i assume), my heart skipped a beat and i found myself crying.

how could all of us in this world be taking such poor care of one another?
what the fuck is happening?

i was due to give birth in two weeks.

my womb hurt.

womb


two weeks later, i gave birth to ash in the woods of tenessee, far away from the news, far away from everything. my kamikaze-cabaret friend meow meow called and told me she was working on an original meow-style production of hans christen anderson’s “the little mermaid” for the malthouse in melbourne, and would i contribute a song?

i wanted to. but couldn’t. i barely had time to pee or answer my texts or make a bowl of soup. i’d just given birth. i told her i wanted to, but i just… couldn’t find the mental or physical time.

a few months later, in december, after we’d gotten back from our birth-journey and visiting some relatives, i was home with ash in boston and neil was off…somewhere.
meow called me at 5pm. the show was going into production in a week, she said, but she was still short one song. she needed a song where the little mermaid was standing on one shore, looking at the other, and trying to make sense of love and loss.

DON’T DO THIS TO ME, MEOW. we talked for an hour about love. and loss. and water. and pain. and healing. and all the things. while i cradled and nursed a baby.

i told her there was almost no chance in hell i’d be able to write anything. babies and empty apartments and pianos just don’t match. (this was all before i discovered the wonders of babysitters).

and then – as fate would have it – ash decided to take a spontaneous baby nap.

i sat down at the piano in my boston apartment and wrote the first draft of “in harm’s way”….which, at the time, i titled “the refugee’s brother.”
i sent it to meow in the morning. i said it was the best i could do during a baby nap. but i was proud of it: it captured something.

meow took it off to its own arrangement-world, tweaked the lyrics a little, and created something beautiful out of it (you’ll be able to hear when she releases the official CD for her show), and i stuck the song in a box.

Amanda Palmer
What i cannot see cannot be not untrue
standing on the barrier of me and you are
standing where the ocean meets the sand
we cross though we barely understand
the grass is always greener on the land

what we cannot say cannot be not our fault
searching for a harbor where the sharks don’t call
i’m waiting where the boats arrive at night
i see the ones before me disappearing into light

why would you go? when you could stay?
why would you try? when you could walk away?
why should i care when you’re not mine?
why would i care when you’re not even my kind?
why would you stand when you could lie?
why would you bother to find something kind to say?
why would you bother to love your own neighbor?
and why would you bother to love your own brother?

….love’s so expensive these days.

what i cannot do cannot be not undone
blinking at the reef collapsing in the sunrise
shining from this pamphlet in my hand
we cross as many fingers as we can
the grass keeps looking grayer as we find no place to land

what i cannot see can not be not unseen
standing on the barrier
of you and me
are standing where the ocean meets the land
we cross even though we understand
we cross even though we see the child in the sand

why would you go?
when you could stay?
why would you try?
when you could cast away?
why should i care
when you’re not mine?
why would i care
when you’re not even my kind?

why would you stand
when you could lie?
why would you bother to find something kind to say?
why would you bother to save your own neighbor?
and why would you bother to save your own brother?

why would you bother to save your own child
why would you bother with all of this bother
and why would you bother with all of these others

when there’s always you you could save….

why, what are you crazy?

why would you stand in harm’s way?

2018/6/10 - 10:27



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