Running From Mercy

I put a small video up on youtube yesterday.

It's me singing Running From Mercy by Rickie Lee Jones.

Why do I love that little song so much?

It has these simple nice words about kindness and love.

But it also says, "with no cross and no crown", which I have assumed means with no organized religion and no government/monarchy.

"Little acts of kindness, little words of love, make our earthly home just like Heaven above and there is no sorrow that Heaven can not heal, it abides in us with no cross and no crown."

What do you think?

I think she's saying that we don't need a government or a religion to tell us how to have a sense of love and morality.

It makes this little humble song more of a radical statement of anarchy...spiritual anarchy.

And I love the song for this reason and more.

The second verse says "oh these sacred places that set our souls afire...." and when I'm on tour and I'm standing in a bar or a coffee house or a theater or a church, the sacred place is where ever we are joined to honor the songs and the music together so this song is always right, is always correct. It's a great gift to have a song like this in your back pocket, whether you wrote it yourself or not.

And then the chorus, "running from mercy, hidden and coy, swim in our sleep down in oceans of joy, die in the arms of this natural life, waking our happiness drowning in light".

Isn't that delightful?

I have a penchant for inscrutable lyrics and these are among the best I think.

You get this overall impression of delight and wonder, but if you try to take the chorus apart phrase by phrase the overall impression fades and dissipates and all but disappears.

The sum is far greater than the parts here.

This chorus is like a hummingbird, so beautiful and such a delight, such a gift to the senses, and yet, when a hummingbird is dead it is made of little more than a few tiny bits of feathers and barely anything more than a thimble full of dust.

This is the beauty of song as well. What is it really? It's ephemeral like fairy dust, and yet it can mean so much and have so much power.

 

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