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Kingfisher

This song is by Joanna Newsom and appears on the album Have One on Me (2010).

Whose is the hand that I will hold? Whose is the face I will see?
Whose is the name that I will call when I am called to meet thee?

In this life, who did you love beneath the drifting ashes
Beneath the sheeting banks of air that barrenly bore our rations?

When I could speak, it was too late, didn't you hear me calling?
Didn't you see my heart leap like a pup in the constant barley?

In this life, where did you crouch when the sky had set to boiling?
Burning within, seen from without and your gut was a serpent, coiling

And, for the sake of that pit of snakes for whom did you allay your shyness
And spend all your mercy and madness, and grace in a day, beneath the bending cypress?

It was not on principal show, Pro-heart, that you have got gall
A miracle, I can bear a lot, but not that pall
I can bear a lot, but not that pall, kingfisher, sound the alarm
Say, "Sweet little darlin', now, come to my arms, tell me all about the love you left on the farm"

He was a kind, unhurried man with a heavy lip and a steady hand
But he loved me just like a little child, like a little child loves a little lamb

Thrown to the ground, by something down there, bitten by the bad air while the clouds tick
Trying to read all the signs, preparing for when the bombs hit

Hung from the underbelly of the earth while the stars skid away, below
Gormless and brakeless, gravel-loose, falling silent as gavels in the snow

I lay back and spit my chaw wrapped in the long arm of the law
Who has seen it all, I can bear a lot, but not that pall
I can bear a lot, but not that pall, kingfisher, cast your fly
Oh Lord it happens without even trying when I sling a low look from my shuttering eye

Blows rain upon the one you loved and though you were only sparring
There's blood on the eye unlace the glove, say, "Honey I am not sorry"

Stand here and name the one you loved beneath the drifting ashes
And, in naming, rise above, time as it, flashing, passes

We came by the boatload and were immobilized
Worshipping volcanoes charting the loping skies
The tides of the earth left us bound and calcified
And made as obstinate as obsidian, unmoving, save our eyes

Just mooning and blinking from faces marked with coal
Ash cooling and shrinking cracks loud as thunder rolling
And I swear I know you, you know me, where have we met before?
Tell me true, to whose authority do you consign your soul?

I had a dream you came to me, said, "You shall not do me harm anymore"
And with your knife, you evicted my life from its little lighthouse on the seashore
And I saw that my blood had no bounds, spreading in a circle like an atom bomb
Soaking and felling everything in its path and welling in my heart like a bird bath
It is too short, the day we are born, we commence with our dying
Trying to serve, with the heart of a child, kingfisher, lie with the lion

Credits

Written by:

Joanna Newsom

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