July 13, 2005

Great lyric: Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens. I think this may be my favorite song lyric so far this year; it is beautifully written with not a word out of place. I am actually not as big a fan of the song itself, which has a sort of sing-songy arrangement that is, I presume, supposed to be in contrast to the sad lyrics. While I can see he may not have wanted something maudlin, I think the music detracts. There have been some snipey messageboard comments about the Christianity in this song. That's total bullshit! He makes it very clear at the end that he is not a blind follower - that he questions the way in which God works. The title, btw, references a local holiday in Illinois.

Casimir Pulaski Day by Sufjan Stevens

Goldenrod and the 4-H stone
the things i brought you
when i found out that you had cancer of the bone
your father cried on the telephone
and he drove his car to the Navy yard
just to prove that he was sorry

in the morning through the window shade
when the light pressed up

against your shoulder blade
i could see what you were reading
all the glory that the Lord has made
and the complications you could do without
when i kissed you on the mouth

tuesday night at the bible study
we lift our hand and pray over your body
but nothing ever happens
i remember at Michael's house

in the living room when you kissed my neck
and i almost touched your blouse

in the morning at the top of the stairs
when your father found out what we did that night
and you told me you were scared
all the glory when you ran outside
with your shirt tucked in and your shoes untied
and you told me not to follow you

sunday night when i clean the house
i find the card where you wrote it out
and the pictures of your mother

on the floor, at the great divide
with my shirt tucked and my shoes untied
i am crying in the bathroom

in the morning when you finally go
and the nurse runs in with her head hung low
and the cardinal hits the window
in the morning, in the winter shade
in the first of march, on the holiday
i thought i saw you breathing

all the glory that the lord has made
and the complications when i see his face
in the morning in the window
all the glory when he took our place
but he took my shoulders, and he shook my face
and he takes and he takes and he takes

Sufjan Stevens will be appearing at the 9:30 Club in DC on September 27. Be there!

1 comment:

GerryK said...

Damn right it's a good lyric but it's also the case that, for me at least, much of the charm of the song resides in precisely the quality of contrast that you identify. I particularly like the (Flugel?) Horn section and the slightly cheesy, winsome backing vocals.