Rook – Lyrics

Rook cover art
Rook lyric sheet (PDF)

On the Death of the Waters

From the wreck of the ark
to the fading day of our star
the light races
the light drags
the moon rises
the moon sags
over the rolling waves
and your hands on the balcony
as a spine
pricks the world
and the shudder, deep, is unheard,
but you feel it
oh my god
as the spindle
flies apart
turn your bow to the biggest wave,
but your angel’s on holiday
and that wave rises slowly
and breaks-


When the rooks were laid in piles
by the sides of the road,
they were crashing into the aerials,
hanging from the laundry lines.
And, gathered in a field,
they were burned in a feathering pyre,
with their cold, black eyes.

When the swallows fell from the eaves,
and the gulls from the spires,
the starlings, in millions,
would feed on the ground where they lie.
and the ambulance men said
“there’s nowhere to flee for your life,”
so we stay inside,
and we’ll sleep until
the world of man is paralyzed.

Oh, the falconer awakes to the sound of the bells.
Overhead, and northbound,
they are leaving his life.
And each empty cage just rings in his heart
like a bell,
underneath these cold stars,
in their trembling light.
And he cries, “Amen, let their kingdom come tonight.
Let this dream be realized.”

Leviathan, Bound

The hollow light
is still on the fields
where the winter has warmed
and the snows have drained away
and the hunter’s cry
is still on the air
as the bullet flies home
but the heart that’s pierced with it
still is racing
still is racing, alone

The silver shoals
of the light in the deep
brush the glittering skein
where the great, dark body writhes
and the trembling jaw
the unfathoming sounds
of leviathan, bound
as his heart, though weakening
still is racing
still is racing, alone

You are racing
you are racing,

Home Life

When you were a child,
you were a tomboy
and your mother laughed at the serious way
that you looked at her
and from your window at night
there were the stars’ little fires
and the armory lights

You were tracing the lines
of a globe with your fingers:
cool rivers, white wastes
desert shores, and the forest green
and a limitless life
in the breath of each tide
and each bright mountain, rising

but now the boys are away,
and such kicks they are having;
slashing away at the forest walls,
with their bitter knives.
Sparks bloom in their eyes,
and they never look tired.
Will they never look tired?

On cliffs that tower from the rising seas
their bonfire glow
where a tiger lies
and, cleaning their weapons,
they laugh at his useless
claws, and all:
it is a beautiful night
to be born to this life
and grind his every bone to powder!

Do you remember
Do you remember

She carried you down to the edge
of the dark river and said:
Though the water is wide,
you will never grow tired
You are bound to your life
like a mother and child.
You will cling to your life
like a suckering vine
and like the rest of our kind
you will increase
and increase
past all of our dreaming

Horse without rider
lungs without breathing
day without light
song without singing
a song-

Lost Boys

My blistered feet
turn bloody
so I take to the air,
and I am everywhere, I am starlight
I am moonlight
over burning fields and bodies.
I stay close to the ground,
slipping miles from the arches and arc-lights,
into the warm night…

My winged children, all
will fly over the mountain wall
to the lid of the sky,
and slice its belly full wide
with their warm knives
-not the pin-pricks of starlight-
but to bathe in the bright blood
of the world above

Century Eyes

You were not the first to arrive,
and will not be the last to survive,
as the pigs and the oxen we bound to the wheel
tear it off, tear it off!

You are not the last of this house,
nor the first to go over the side.
Remember the wrecks of those elegant ships-
“Turn it off!
Turn it off!”
Look with century eyes till they make you go blind.

Galloping into the void,
you are rolling your eyes like a horse,
all to turn from the beam,
from the eye of that screen.
“Turn it off! Turn it off!
With our backs to the arch
and the wreck of our kind,
we will stare straight ahead
for the rest of our lives!”

I Was A Cloud

I was a cloud,
I was a cloud looking down;
Your frantic waving did not provoke feeling.

But this little one-
Steady your wings, now, sparrow
I remembered him-
Steady your course, now, sparrow

And in the dark,
from the sea marbled and moon-blue
into the burning eye of the sun
without feeling

My end was imminent-
Steady your course now, sparrow
but I remembered him-
Fear for your home life, sparrow
Fear for your home life

South Col


“The lunar landscapes of the Hindu Kush, as if borrowed from prehistory, seem still to wait for the arrival of the animal world, or perhaps to announce its end.” – Rene Dollot

The Snow Leopard

“The way is to climb
the way is to lie still
and let the moon do its work on your body

and then to rise
through forests and oceans of lives
and through the way of the black rocks,
splitting, wide,
and flow
ten thousand miles.”

Well, I’ve had enough,
wasting my body, my life
I’ll come away, come away from the shallows

But can this sullen child,
as bound as the ox that I ride,
climb to the heart of the white wind,
singing, high,
and blow
through my frozen eyes?

The Hunter’s Star

The hunter’s star
burned brighter than all of the suns in the firmament
as through the sky he raged
with his hook and blade
and the world, unmade

As forests bow
and blacken the air
as the canopies burn away,
and the arc-lights fade
and no gull remains
to repeat its call-

Only now would you long
for the ancient boughs,
the moon, overlapping the long white clouds
and the home life of a love
who will never return again

No child at all
would wake to the light
of a sun that is reddening
like a robin’s breast,
and no lioness
boards a last, great hull
on the waves
that close
on a world
that will never return again
and no sound escapes
from the night to come.

North Col (LP Only)

Each stray reminder of your home life
is hung on the wind that pulls away from you
as the walls of the mountains in the cold light
glow red, in an echo of the flares on high
in the vault of the night

In the forest on the branches and the clotheslines
a fierce little wren singing loud, and high
while his eyes, insisting on their own life,
gave legs to the lie
that there was world, and time
to grow old in its light

In the last of embers of the twilight,
the gunmetal air has come alive with birds.
They burst from the clouds above the snow line
and bloom in the ashes of the old, black sky,
and go back to the night