PJ Harvey, Water

walking on
for years
taking it into my head
living by the right lines
reading what the very man said

walking on
neighing on eleven years
taking it into my head
mary mary drop me softly
i’ve been reading what your very man said
neighing on eleven years
taking it into my head
leave my clothes on the beach
i’m walking down into the sea
prove it to me
now the water to my ankles
now the water to my knees
think of him all waxy wings
melted down into the sea
mary mary what your man said
is washing in all over my head
mary mary hold on tightly
over water under the sea


1 thought on “PJ Harvey, Water

  1. cfjurgus Post author

    This song was part of a soundtrack for a movie I rented on base while stationed at Incirlik AB, Turkey. The film was ‘Amateur,’ by Hal Hartley. A great movie, made in fore of the Indie movement, which managed to bring together the oft ignored seams between hipster, criminal and mainstream cultures… laying bare their mutual absurdities and casual brutalities through an oft discarded theological sensibility. The tacit agreement between these camps to maintain their mutual isolation at one turn and outright complicit cooperation at other turns is brought into stark focus when our heroine renounces her cloister and goes out into the world and disrupts the foul balance and order of things. Like Dorothy, formerly of Kansas then formerly of Oz, she does not meet the trials and evils of the world with battle but with empathy and allegiance and as much dignity as is possible. Like Dorothy, it is her power to be concerned for and befriend even perfect strangers–such as a man who is stranger even to himself–which enables her to confound and halt the advance of psychopathic power–not only in the world, but the hearts and minds of those around her. And this is done in the truly christian manner–and I’m ready for a fight on this one–through example and mimesis.
    My Uncle Dismas is a Deacon in the Catholic Church, in the neighborhood of Mckinley Park in Chicago. I played this song, Water, for him when we were on a road trip to southern Illinois. I was in a bad way–probably suicidal, probably homicidal–and he was seeing me through it. I played this in the car with him, flatland and cornfield all around and he saw right through it, “she’s describing a crisis of faith.”


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