Peter Hammill - X My Heart 1996

  1. A Better Time (Acapella)
  2. Amnesiac
  3. Ram Origami
  4. A Forest Of Pronouns
  5. Earthbound
  6. Narcissus (Bar & Grill)
  7. Material Possession
  8. Come Clean
  9. A Better Time


    A Better Time (Acapella)

    As surely as the countdown begins our time is not our own
    already there's the breath of the wind which bleaches bare the bones
    of the deadlines we set, of the jokes we don't get
    and forgetfulness that furrows the brow...
    no I'll never find a better time
    to be alive than now.
    
    So I wake up, to remainder the dream
    of personality and posture and face
    for nothing can remain as it seems
    in some perfect state of pure grace....
    all we prize and protect only cause and effect
    but I suspect the furrow may be guiding the plough
    and I'll never find a better time
    to be alive than now.
    
    No better, no worse, much the same,
    we wait on the why and the when;
    no question but we'll go as we came
    with no shift in the shape of the zen
    and it is as it is and we take as we find
    always next season's buds on the bough...
    but I'll never find a better time
    hard though it is to allow
    I'll never find a better time
    to be alive than now.
    
    This is the life and we've only time
    to be alive right now.

    Amnesiac

    I can't think of anything I did or was doing
    I can't seem to get a hold on what's come to pass
    here with half a mind on something else
    and half a finger in the glass,
    since you ask.
    
    I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be going
    in the end every journey's only pawing in the ground
    and I've half a mind just to jack it in,
    but for this torn-off ticket stub I just found.
    Since you ask about the shape I'm in
    I'll try my best to pull myself around.
    
    Amnesiac if you say it's so
    amnesiac what happened long ago?
    Oh, now I just don't know.
    
    I can't think of anyone that I'd rather be with
    but I don't know why you should want to stick here with me
    when I can't find what was on my mind
    for all the holes punched in my memory:
    it's a wasteland, and I'm terrified
    to admit, to let go, to accept I don't know
    all those blanks won't be filled
    I'll be found by the chill
    of the glacier run
    of what I might have done
    since you last asked about the state I'm in
    it seems I've lost all grip on where I'm coming from......
    
    Amnesiac does it so plainly show?
    Amnesiac as if I didn't know,
    Amnesiac oh say it isn't so....
    
    Amnesiac,
    amnesiac,
    amnesiac,
    black-out, K.O.

    Ram Origami

    Here's the lost boy with the brittle smile,
    plastered panstick on his face,
    making himself up; for a little while
    all the fragments will remain in place.
    We are only what we manage to retrieve
    
    out of memory
    (Who do you think you are?)
    
    Inside, it's a hailstorm visibility
    transformed by outer confidence and charm
    step up to take responsibility,
    step down to keep the pieces of identity calm
    and the moment we believe that we got it all in place
    is the very moment when the cup overflows
    
    out of memory.
    
    (Who do you think you are?
    Where did you say you'd been?
    What did you think you were?
    How did it seem?
    How does it seem?)
    
    There goes the who, the what, the why and wherefore
    all folded up in origami stuff:
    people and places we once cared for...
    we remember, but not vividly enough
    and it's all blank paper when we finally open up
    with not even watermarks as messages to trace
    only folds in the floe of the frozen face
    out of memory.

    A Forest Of Pronouns

    Yes, questions
    coming up on the autocue
    and I'm open to suggestion
    but can I say the same for you?
    So lost in the forest of pronouns
    that I can't see the wood for the trees....
    Got to face up to the showdown
    between you, me and him, which is we?
    
    Strange language fills my head:
    (It isn't written, you can take it as read
    if you dare to believe it
    the buts stop where the arrow's sped,
    this is the main chance,
    take it or leave it.)
    It isn't written but still I take it as read.
    
    I heard the grass growing under my feet -
    oh, princess, what might have been?
    Once your kisses were so bittersweet
    that I got caught in the in-between.
    
    Strange voices came and went
    (It isn't certain, but it's 90%, yeah, you'd better believe it.
    The buck stops when the arrow's spent, this is the get-out,
    take it or leave it.)
    If I'm uncertain still I leave it unsaid.
    
    I can't take it, can't leave it.
    
    Yes, questions - though responses remain unsure;
    still I stay open for suggestions - for this there's no simple cure.
    And I got lost in the forest of pronouns
    so I can't see the wood for the trees.
    
    Strange language floods my head...
    (It isn't certain, but it's 90%, yeah, you'd better believe it.
    The butts stop where the arrow's sped, this is the get-out,
    take it or leave it.)
    It isn't written...do I take it as read?
    
    I can't take it, can't leave it.

    Earthbound

    My heart flew in my mouth
    the moment that your eyes locked mine.
    I blurted something out
    along these lines:
    We're earthbound
    but we all long for flight..._
    
    My heart's worn on my sleeve:
    I'd offer all I could contrive
    if only you'd believe
    you flood my mind.
    We're earthbound
    but you spring my heart alive.
    
    My heart's stopped in its tracks - 
    what train of thought has just arrived
    while gravity's cruel tax
    drags me to ground?
    We're earthbound
    but you spring my heart to life.
    We spin around,
    we're earthbound
    but you spring me free to flight.
    
    Eathbound,
    we're earthbound,
    all earthbound...
    but we all long for flight.
    
    Heartbreak the anagram:
    (But hero Dan had no brute boar hunted;
    doubt he ran but heard no burned oath;
    undo breath, do burn hate, be hard unto
    burned oath, undo breath...)
    
    Earthbound.

    Narcissus (Bar & Grill)

    It's a private club, so exclusive that the membership is one,
    you can walk right in, can be sure your face is always welcome here.
    Drink up your fill: this is the Narcissus bar & grill
    so you can do what you will to reveal who you are.
    
    You can settle down, select your entertainment -
    on reflection you'll be there in every surface;
    you can take your time, there's no need to have a reservation here.
    Drink up your fill in the Narcissus bar & grill.
    Sweet daffodil, what a fascination you are.
    Ooh, what a thrill: you can be your own lucky star.
    
    Falling in love with your reflection,
    I guess you've found your blind spot.
    (Don't fall in love with your reflection,
    no heart could handle the rejection:
    you're going to dive deep into the well.)
    You had a name once but it seems that now you've lost it,
    you had a name but you've forgotten it now.
    
    Classic lessons to be learned, just a word of caution,
    self-absorption doesn't guarantee respect:
    what you'll get you'll earn...eye on the main chance,
    this is not what you desire or expect,
    drowning in the watering-hole....
    and don't imagine that you're one of the elect
    Pay up your bill: in the Narcissus bar & grill
    there's time left to kill, better start to see who you are.
    Think good or ill of the Narcissus bar & grill
    it's all grist to the mill, it's all kissing that scars.
    Go on and drink up your fill,
    do what you will, it won't reveal what you are.
    Drink up your fill, it's time to pay up your bill.
    
    Falling in love with your reflection,
    I guess you've found your blind spot:
    you're going to dive deep into the well.
    (Don't fall in love with your reflection,
    no heart could handle the rejection:
    of getting lost in introspection....)
    You had a name once but it seems that you forgot it;
    you had a name but it seems that now you've lost it;
    you had a name but, baby, you've not got it now.

    Material Possession

    Every loss a legacy
    every gain ill-gotten,
    the golden apples on the tree are all potentially rotten.
    Pluck the fruit and bear no mind,
    so the poison bloom advances - 
    the hand that clasps too tight will never grasp its chances.
    
    All the things that you've got will not be worth a lot
    if the owning becomes an obsession
    meaning nothing more than mere material possession.
    
    Broken, lost, the precious thing,
    does that make your life so empty?
    stars shine alike upon the ditch and on the land of Plenty.
    the thing that's gone was always going to be gone,
    what's left is some remembered pleasure - 
    only their loss confirms the things we ever learned to treasure.
    
    And the things that you claim are only ever yours in name - 
    do you think that they'll leave an impression?
    Only flesh and bone are the true material possessions.
    
    Your lighter's worth a watch, your watch would buy a car,
    your car is worth a house with rooms to rattle round in.
    Try to make the house a home that's yours and yours alone:
    you dredge a lake of dreams to fill with tears and drown in.
    Now the flame will soon be dowsed and time is running out,
    the wheel will turn full circle, then we'll all be foundlings.
    
    And all the things that we own are never ours alone,
    no, they just pass through our hands in succession - 
    shake the spirit, shake the blood, shake the flesh and shake the bone
    shake free from material possession.
    
    Every loss is treasure trove, every gain is faded,
    every taste and every touch will finally be jaded.
    When in the end all life is spent,
    what we bought was mere digression:
    the price we pay shaking free from material possession.

    Come Clean

    There's no getting back to how it started
    and the next few pages are uncharted,
    there's no secret passage, no speedy getaway - 
    what do you say now?
    We could talk about this in a calmer state
    but if we wait it won't get any easier.
    So we're damned if we do and damned if we don't,
    we can't deny what each action means:
    come clean.
    
    Everything you've done is carried with you
    and no-one's ever going to forgive you
    if you won't come to terms with where and who you've been:
    look at the screen now.
    Stir up the ghosts of your own forgetfulness,
    don't pack up your troubles in the sleeping bag.
    Don't ignore what you saw but believe how it seems,
    you can try to make a brand new start.
    We can only do our best, with an open heart
    come clean,
    wipe the slate clean,
    come clean.
    
    The slates clean but there's something that you never forget:
    though it's hidden in your most secret place
    it's still written in the memories that you've buried - worse yet
    it's restructured in the lines of your face... come clean.
    
    No spooling on to how it's ending
    and the next few pages are mindbending:
    the territory's minefield and the needle's in the red.
    Let's put it to bed now,
    cook up a cover story for our given lots,
    be do or damned, stand by the forget-me-not.
    there'll be no blame for the stain that a lived-in life leaves,
    no shame in what might have been.
    We can only do our best but our lives'll never be pristine - 
    come clean, the slate's clean, come clean.
    
    Maybe what I mean's this is as clean as it ever gets.....

    A Better Time

    As surely as the countdown begins our time is not our own
    already there's the breath of the wind which bleaches bare the bones
    of the deadlines we set, of the jokes we don't get
    and forgetfulness that furrows the brow...
    no I'll never find a better time
    to be alive than now.
    
    So I wake up, to remainder the dream
    of personality and posture and face
    for nothing can remain as it seems
    in some perfect state of pure grace....
    all we prize and protect only cause and effect
    but I suspect the furrow may be guiding the plough
    and I'll never find a better time
    to be alive than now.
    
    No better, no worse, much the same,
    we wait on the why and the when;
    no question but we'll go as we came
    with no shift in the shape of the zen
    and it is as it is and we take as we find
    always next season's buds on the bough...
    but I'll never find a better time
    hard though it is to allow
    I'll never find a better time
    to be alive than now.
    
    This is the life and we've only time
    to be alive right now.
    


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