Kensington Skies (again)

Lyrics

Kensington Skies
Orange and crimson
As the light danced
For an audience of millions
We all sat there and stared
And watched on our phones
As they died

A terrible beauty
It crawled up the walls
Glared from the windows
And blew down the halls
We stood at the bottom
Powerless like children

And they speak with forked tongues
‘Bout the millions they saved
Maybe they’ll use it
To fill up the graves
Councillors, spokesmen
A hundred lost names
They don’t even know
What to write on the graves

Kensington Skies
A pillar of blackness
That reached for the sun
And fell back as ashes
As cameramen scrambled
To capture the view
As they died

24 stories
And 10 million reasons,
No inquest, no jury,
No legal malfeasance,
And they’ll dig up a Lord,
To tell us what happened

And they speak with forked tongues
‘Bout the millions they saved
Maybe they’ll use it
To fill up the graves
Councillors, spokesmen
A hundred lost names
They don’t even know
What to write on the graves

Notes

It should be obvious where this song sprang from – and I’ve already posted my first take once without notes. I feel a bit naked performing like this, but here we are.

I wrote it in one furious hour and since then have gone back to make the second verse hang together a bit more tightly, so hopefully now it works better as a piece (and performance, as I was a bit off-key first time around, with the melody not as settled in my head).

I don’t often write in response to things that are going on in the real world – my own private world provides quite enough material – but sometimes an event resonates in a way that reveals a greater truth about the world and you can’t evade it.

I’m not much a man for folk music, but I admire its honesty, accessibility and simple directness (even now Dylan’s Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol burns, and reveals how far we’ve come and yet how little we’ve moved). As I only had an acoustic guitar and some lyrics in my head as a starting point it’s perhaps no wonder that it fell into this idiom.

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