Virtue (2011)

These roads, they lead as far as they can lead
That’s why they’re called the ways that make you feed
Cranes are lifting cargo to the sea
They are the size the dinosaurs would be.

Power station shivers, then it leaks
Bleeds onto the fields and kills the wheat
Harvest comes but will we ever eat?
Power station shivers, then it leaks.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe we will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But we will lead as far as we can lead

These days I watch the screen for what I need
I take my food on trays across my knee
Leaves are always falling from the trees
I think I see my future in the leaves.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe I will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But I will lead as far as I can lead

I think I see the future when I sleep
The sky splits like an almond under feet
Skin is peeling off of us in sheets
I think I see the future when I sleep

And power stations shiver and they leak
They bleed onto the fields and kill the wheat
A sea of clouds is billowing in heat
Oh, harvest comes and babies born with teeth.
And skin is peeling off of us in sheets
I think I see the future when I sleep.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe you will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But you will lead as far as you can lead.

And dinosaur sex led to nothing
And maybe you will lead to nothing
And dinosaur sex led to nothing
But you will lead as far as we can lead.

I know, I know that I could live
In whatever house you choose to build
And I will model myself on it,
And wait for you alone
While you are out making a life for us,
I will stay and watch the days go past
And I’ll see how the plants advance,
And they turn on what they know.

Now there is rosemary where previously
No rosemary was shown,
They have aerials they feed from me
And they grow and grow and grow.
Now I am turning into scenery,
Now the pipes are running bone,
And you might think I was a house
But I’m a woman, a woman.

Come back, come back just like you said,
Come back so you can see.
There are roses in the flowerbeds,
Where there never used to be.

And all my days are
Fading into these
Walls you made us
But I don’t want to be
The queen, in a century of sleep

I know, I know that I believe,
In whatever brings you joy from me,
But I’ve swept until I couldn’t sweep
And this house is still alive.
Now I have to find a dress,
Have to buy a dress
Have to sew it ‘til the pieces mesh,
And I don’t think I’m ready yet,
And I haven’t got the time.

Now there is rosemary where previously,
There was no rosemary.
They have aerials, they feed from me,
And they tease and tease and tease
Now I am shifting into greenery,
Now the pipes are running bleach and you might
Think I was a house,
But I’m a woman – a woman.

But you say don’t be afraid.
And you try to explain.
That the best that we can hope and hope to gain.
Is to love and then be loved
is to have and then to hold
‘Til we age and then grow old

And all my days are
Fading into these
Walls you made us
But I don’t want to be
And all my days are
Fading into these
Walls you made us
But I don’t want to be
The queen,
In a century of sleep
But I know that I believe
In whatever makes you pleased
In whatever brings you joy, from me.

There is a radiance, usually afforded to a source of light
Vomiting gradients,
Beaming all around you as you walk tonight
Tell me Iris –
What if the sight of you could take my eyes?

Princess Impermanent,
Princess Always Looking for the Next Result.
And when they serve you it,
Don’t you always wish that you had something else?
So indeterminate,
So unobtainable, it must be hell
That you should burn for it, and not exactly know its face,
But it’s something like a feeling.

And oh,
When you’re hoping to know
What you wanted to know
But oh,
But it comes and it goes
But it comes and it goes
I’ll help you find the word for it

And Iris –
Cancel all the things you had to do.
If you’re an island,
I will find some meaning in the waves for you.
Until the light coming out of the coves,
Coming out of the coves,
It falls like life,
Filling into the deep blue,
Don’t you know that I see you, now,
Like for the first time without eyelids?

And oh,
When you’re hoping to know
What you wanted to know
And oh
When it sticks in the throat,
But it sticks in the throat,
I’ll help you find a word for it,
I’ll give you something to believe in.
Cause there has to be a word for this,
Or it would only be a feeling.

Cassandra, keep it down.
I don’t think they can hear you now.
Don’t think they heard you first time round.
No they can’t hear you, no Cassandra,
Cassandra, it won’t make sense –
Not if you think and think again.
Although they do say life is forgiving,
And ends are partnered with beginnings.

And daily, you saw it come,
And you gave warning, but couldn’t run.
And so you watched ‘til it was broken,
And knew that foresight delays no motion.
I know it’s awful, I know it’s bruising,
I know you can’t see past the conclusion,
But still the world turns upon its axis,
And we make circles, so we can match it.
And read our lines, though we’ve had no practice.

Cassandra, keep it down
I don’t think they can hear you now
Don’t think they hear you first time round
No they can’t hear you, there’s no answer
And maybe, there’s something great
That gives us meaning, if we wait,
But still I’m human, and broken hearted,
To see your sundress, and your sunglasses,
And hear your question, and how you ask it –
“What use is love, if it always passes?”
“What use is love, if it always passes?”

And though they do say life is forgiving,
What use is life to those who aren’t living?

And though they do say life is forgiving,
What use is life to those who aren’t living?

And then the child becomes the worrier
And you’re the worrier, so worry over this –
What’s the thing that has you reaching out to grip it like a phantom limb?
And to the action comes a character
And he reveals a wish to see himself in ink
So you take a pen, you write a list called all the stages that the world begins

And then the years relay the seasons,
You fill the sky, you give him means to lift his chin;
And then the tides relay the oceans,
You give him reason for believing
That he’s in
Some
Creation.

To make him grow you give him barriers.
To make him grow you give him barriers to fell.
Now he wants to know if there’s a narrator;
You dry the riverbed, and so he builds a well.
And when the woman comes, he marries her,
And then the woman is another to himself.
Now she wants to know if there’s a narrator –
She wants to know if there’s a narrative to tell.

And then the years relay the seasons,
You fill the sky you give them means to lift their chins.
And then the tides relay the oceans,
You give them reason for believing –
And then the years relay the seasons,
You fill the sky you give her means to lift her chin
And then the tides relay the oceans,
You give her reason for believing
That she’s in
Some
Creation
Creation
Creation
Creation

If you’re all that you’re cracked up to be,
Sylvia, come and sit with me,
And hold my hand, for comfort’s sake.

If who you are eventually
Is all that forms your destiny –
If character equates to fate –
Then I’m not great,
But it’s not in me to complain.

Oh girl in white,
Come close to me.
Hold my hand,
Pass notes to me.
Unquestioning, in dormitories,
We string our beads,
And fill our plates,
The days recede and play again.

And time goes by so idly,
Writing in your diary,
And every line the same,

That if this is life, then why does it feel like I’m dreaming?
If this is life, then why does it feel like I’m far away?

Oh, and this is life,
But why does it feel like I’m dreaming?
If this is life,
Then why does it feel like I’m far away?
And if this is life –

Then Sylvia,
Arriving at the window like the milk,
All dressed in white,
Tell me what you are,
And tell me if my character is fate do I confine
Myself
Until I find a way to dream us all awake
It’s weird
Sometimes
I swear I don’t remember how you came
And girl in white
Tell me how I dream myself awake
Cause if this is life
Then I wouldn’t want to waste it all away
And if this is life
And if this is life
Then, Sylvia –

You’re not unlucky, you’re just not very smart.
These things will never leave you – they’re as close as you can get
To a blueprint for the future – but you can call it fate.
It’s like these days I have to write down almost every thought I’ve held,
So scared I am becoming of forgetting how it felt,
And these fears they will unravel me one day,
But still I am afraid.

But I’m blessed –
More or less,
More or less –
Standing in the afterglow of rapture with the words the rapture left.

Now you’re blessed amongst all women,
Now a man who’s very good,
He tells you how you feel until your life is understood,
And he leads you through it hand in hand as though
There was a map to guide the way.
And you write because you love him, and you write because he’s kind,
You write so much, you look up and you wrote myself behind,
And you’re standing in a labyrinth of paper and the map has been erased.

But you’re blessed –
More or less,
More or less –
Standing in the afterglow of rapture with the words the rapture left.
Are you blessed?
More or less, more or less?
Now you’re standing in the afterglow of rapture, but there is no rapture left.

Oh come, and we will celebrate the things that make us real
The things that break us open, the things that make us feel
Like these accidental meetings up and partings of the way
Are not so much our choice but in the blood of how we’re made
It’s like the way I have to write down almost everything I see
So that the record does obscure the thing the record used to be
And I know I’m not unlucky,
I was just born this way.

But I’m blessed.

Now a paper forest grows up in the supermarket aisles
Now the baby born with teeth looks at its mother and it smiles,
And we all fall down
Like wind blows through the paper forest.
Now a paper forest grows up in the supermarket aisles,
And the baby born with teeth looks at its mother and it smiles,
And we all fall down
Like wind blows through a paper forest.
And a paper forest grows up in the supermarket aisle
Alarm clock fingers turn they’re counting seconds like they’re miles
And you say, “Wake up now, ‘cause I can see no paper forest”

Somewhere there’s a country you remember from your youth,
On the surface of this country is the one they built on top of it,
The highway leads to everything except for what is buried underneath it,
There is a country made of tailcoats, and telegrams,
And nobody to grieve it

But when the sun is getting lower then the highway marks the graves,
And the taillights they circle like the roses of an infinite bouquet,
And everybody leaves,
Taillights for the grey
Ghosts of railways and candleholders.

There’s been an accident a mile away from here,
I heard the sound of sirens.
Then they turn back again and as they disappear,
I saw it trail behind them.

You say, “the wind is up, it’s out collecting lives.”
You say, “the wind is up, it’s out collecting lives.”

“An exit night, is coming through.”

Now the wind is up and moving like no wind I’ve ever known,
The page that I was reading was the first to have to go,
But still I kept on reading like the dead who have a memory of living.
Because the wind is here to take the thing I don’t think I am ready to be giving.

And Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thy Juliet?
She flew off of the table, out the window, now she’s mixing with the dead.
Won’t you make her go away, I am not ready for her yet.
Just make her go away, I am not ready, I’m not ready for her yet.

(Oh the wind is up it’s out collecting lives
the wind is up it’s out collecting lives)

An exit night, is coming through

An exit night,
Is coming through,
Exit night,
Come for you,
Oh exit light,
Exit moon,
Tell me why,
Why so soon?

I don’t know.
I don’t know.

And oh, go to sleep,
Tomorrow, the day will repeat
I will read till your memories
Fly away
There’s no need
To worry,
I will read
Until your memories
Leave your brain.

There’s a place where I’m gonna leave to, when all this questioning is through,
I’m gonna set my course to somewhere further north than my eyes could ever view.
And I know that the thought precedes me, I know that others seek it too,
But when I get where the needle leads me, I swear – and I swear –
You’ll never lead me away again.

And in the time when the peace of islands was first by human hand disturbed,
They built their houses and they said obedience was all the lives of men were worth,
And in the shadow of their temperance they laid boundaries in the dirt,
And when the door had a narrow entrance, with their hands to their shirts
They would pray for the non-believers.

And there’s a place called North, and they’re gathering there to sing,
And I knock three times and beg them, but they will not let me in,
OH my girl, they say, you’re the carrier to no gift,
But I’ll lay what I can
Somewhere north of the sand –
Would you turn me away again?

Do you know where the needle leads to? And when you get there will you change?
Out where the nights are soft,
I know you go because you think that paradise should be tamed.
And now you live as by a map of humanity,
And now you grip it, cause you think that it saves,
But I’ve seen what you see, it looks different to me,
I see lights to the shore, and all these hearts beating different rhythms.

Now they die to be born,
And all their mysteries are dying with them.

And there’s a place called North, and they’re gathering there to sing,
And I knock three times and beg you, but you will not let me in,
But oh, I loved so hard, now I’m carrier to this gift,
And I’ll lay what I can to the North of the sand –
Would you turn me away again?

Oh would these winds would lift, and they’d carry me to your door.
So I could knock three times and tell you, “I can’t help where I was born.”
But don’t I love enough? Isn’t holiness where it falls?
If I take what I can to the North –
Is there room on your piece of heaven?

So you propel yourself into the arms of God, and Christ and all the angels,
Now you’re high above the people
Who you used to call your equals.
I will stay behind and live this life
You left me, as the witness,
Who can tidy up your business
And record that someone lived here,
In the shade of Trelick Tower,
In the days of living gently,
Something holy used to touch me,
Something holy used to love me,
Then he heard a voice I couldn’t hear,
He’s gone to where it sent him,
And now I’m praying for this pain to clear,
He’s waiting on Ascension.

And now I’m praying but there’s still no change,
You’re high as Trelick Tower –
Throw your hair down won’t you let me
Spend my life trying to climb you?
And praying ‘til my knees don’t fold,
Praying ‘til my hands don’t close
Praying ‘til my fingers glow…

And you’ve propelled yourself into the arms of God, and Christ and all the saints,
Now I’ve been walking through our house like separation made it sacred,
I’ve been burying the books you left,
I treat them like they’re ancient,
And I think relics ache for when the saint had breath,
They miss the thing that changed them.

And I’m a relic and you’re still so high,
You’re high as Trelick Tower.
Throw your hair down won’t you let me
Spend my life trying to climb you.
And praying ‘til my knees don’t fold –
Praying ‘til my hands don’t close –
Praying ‘til my fingers glow…

And in the shade of Trelick Tower,
I spend a while trying to keep you,
Tell all the people moving on hey –
Hey, something holy used to live here,
Now I’m a relic of a love gone by
Kneeling to address the sky.
And I’ll keep praying ‘til the binds untie,
Praying, but I don’t know why.

And I’ll keep praying ‘til the language dies
Praying cause you’re so so high,

Can I
Spend my life trying to climb you?

The birds were falling limbless from the sky.
Falling in nobody’s eyes but mine.
The birds were closing in again I tried
To fight them back and find my way outside.
Squinting like a newborn in the light,
I walk for like an hour, maybe five,
You’re the only reason that I might find
My way out here tonight.

I came here when the road was very dry.
The road was dry as paper so I typed.
And in the accident of hands producing lines,
I hoped to clear the birds away and give them flight.
And when you clear the birds away you see the sky,
And when you see the sky you know which way to tread,
And I think you’re the only reason that I might, might, might,
Illuminate the text,
So I can see to where the grass is really bright, bright, bright.
Meet you there, and know which way to step.

Oh my love you’re always further than I’d like.
Always moving just ahead of me like time.
And it isn’t that I want to fall behind.
And it isn’t that I don’t know how to love.
But the world is made of paper so I type
I write but I can never write enough.
So I can see to where the grass is really bright, bright, bright,
But I don’t know if I’ll ever make it out.

And all the birds were falling limbless from the sky,
Falling in nobody’s eyes but mine.
Now I’m squinting like a newborn in the light.
Squinting like a newborn in the light
Of a paper forest starting to ignite.
Of a paper forest burning out of sight.
And I think you’re the only reason,
You’re the reason,
You’re the reason.

Let these paper forest burn and burn until they’re down,
Maybe then the birds will herd, emerge and lead you out.

Oh God of loneliness, oh my God, you’re doing well
You’ve got me home again, but I don’t remember how
You got here…
You got here…

So come and talk to me won’t you tell me why you’ve come
Tell me that life is hard but it’s hard for everyone
When you’re here…

Oh my god.
Oh my god.
Oh my god.
Oh my god.

So come and talk to me won’t you tell me why you’ve come
Tell me that life is hard but it’s hard for everyone
Tell me that you won’t leave without everything I love
Tell me that you won’t leave, but it’s hard for everyone
And you’re just something
To get used to
Aren’t you something?
I’ll get used to you.

Oh God of loneliness, have you got no face to show?
Am I alone in this? Will you stay? Will you go?
Are you here?

Oh my god
Oh my god
Oh my god
Oh my god

When there is No Way Home

When there is no way home
You will know it, you will know it
All of the doors are closed
All the windows are growing branches
Human voices underneath them
Human voices
Mouths filling up with leaves

And now there is no way home
Now the nights go on forever
Think that the wind will blow
‘Til you find him, if you ever
Really find him
When you’ve both covered so much road

There’s no way home
There’s no, no way back home

And think when the nights were cold
In the evening, in the evening
How one used to light the stove
And the other would be reading
Now the trees are here retrieving
First the bedroom then the ceiling
And the windows all have leaves in
Human voices underneath them
Human voices
And you’ve both covered so much road
Human voices
Sing why did you let him go
He is leaving
Oh why did you let him go?
He is leaving
And now there is no way home

Here I am I thought I’d get to sleep
I reckoned without her
She is the thought that only lives as long as me
She isn’t seen she isn’t heard
But I can summon her in words
Or memories
Of Emily…Emily…

And who knows if there’s any left of you
Than a line between a date, and a date
And who knows when the night is coming through
What the night will take?
Tonight I was awake
Enough to think I make
Out a threnody
For Emily

Oh Emily…
Emily….
Emily…