Posted on January 26th, 2016 | by Leslie

0

Rolling of the Sea

Notes on Track 13

One of the earliest songs I ever wrote (at age 19) originally titled, “The Ghost.”  I remember feeling at the time the tune was right, the chords, the chorus, the core, but the full scope of the story wouldn’t settle.  I knew it was about walking into the ocean, going out to sea.  I could see the woman standing there barefoot beneath the moon, but I didn’t understand why she so desperately wanted to step into the waves.  I thought it was about suicide.

But no, it was a selkie I saw.  I had seen The Secret of Roan Inish and I had studied the selkie tradition at university, but I mistook the look in her eyes back then.  I misunderstood the roots of her regret and her longing.  The pull to resume her natural seal form and to remain with her human children, tearing her in two.

So to honour the woman who came to me decades ago, asking me to write her story, I rewrote the verses and kept the rest.  “The Ghost” was track 7 on my first solo album, Rebirth.  “Rolling of the Sea” is the final track on Volume Two and she finally feels at peace.  Sometimes a vision takes years to distill.  This one only took nineteen.

Inspiration

  • The selkie traditions of Ireland and the Celtic-speaking peoples
  • “The Ghost” track 7, Rebirth, produced by Simon Lebrun.  (HSC Project Studio: Hamilton, 1998).

Lyrics

The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Underneath the moon
I wandered to the shore
The waves lapped at my feet
I could not hear the beat
Of the heart that lies within me
In this mortal human breast

Where’s the time gone?

The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Stepping ankle-deep
I was bitten by the cold
I never used to feel
This skin is all too real
Now I have lived a life inside it
A life I have outgrown

Where’s the time gone?

The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Shouldering my fur
I gazed along the strand
My footprints will betray
Where I have gone to stay
For the wild and blue horizon
Requires that I return

And there’s the time gone!

The rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me

Oh, the rolling of the sea
Will be forever haunting me, me, me

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