Saturday, November 5, 2011

NOVEMBER, as sung by Tom Waits

Fall is the last stage of the year, a metaphor for the twilight of our lives.  As the days get shorter, there is an awareness of the growing darkness.  All of our classics ring in tune with this metaphor.

This song, like "Last Leaf" on his new CD, is a song of resisting death, of not going gently into the night, of raging against the dying of the light.  A rough one here, not only a last stand but a last gasp. 

Tom Waits' voice was not at its best when he recorded this one, and it may take a while for you to see the effective plea of the song itself, so human.

Dying people aware of their state, resisting approaching death and engaged in a gallant fight, resisting rather than simply quitting.  Death of the body, the animal self.  And to whom is the last sentence addressed?.
No shadow no stars
no moon no cars
it only believes
in a pile of dead leaves
and a moon
that's the color of bone

No prayers for November
to linger longer
stick your spoon in the wall
we'll slaughter them all

November has tied me
to an old dead tree
get word to April
to rescue me

November's cold chain
made of wet boots and rain
and shiny black ravens
on chimney smoke lanes
November seems odd
you're my firing squad

With my hair slicked back
with carrion shellac
with the blood from a pheasant
and the bone from a hare
tied to the branches
of a roebuck stag
left to wave in the timber
like a buck shot flag

Go away you rainsnout
go away blow your brains out

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