Peter Hammill - A Louse Is Not A Home (chords)

Chord transcription by Jose Javier Glaria, 17/10/97. Comments and corrections welcome, though fast response not promised.

NOTATION: Modifications to the nominal chord by indication of the string (1 is high E) and fret. Examples: E(3-0) would be Em. Em(2-3) would be Em7.

Included also in square brackets some corrections to the lyrics from the lyric book.

One of the many PH's super songs. Most of it is quite clear and easy to play (less easy to sing) with some short stranger part.

A Louse Is Not A Home (PETER HAMMILL: The Silent Corner, The Empty Stage)

[structure 1:]
 A#  F    Gm    D#   D           A#  F    Gm    D#   D
Sometimes it's very scary here; sometimes it's very sad;

 D#  Gm   D#  F             Gm     D# F    Gm  D#     D
sometimes I think I'll disappear; be_times I think I have.

[struct 2:]
  D#       F     Gm     D#      D
There's a line snaking down my mirror:

  D#         F    Gm D#       D
splintered glass distorts my face,

D#    Gm     D# F                     Gm
and though the light is strong and strange

D#  F                    Gm    D#               D
it can't illuminate the musty corners of this place.

  D#        F                                     Gm  D# D
There is a lofty, lonely, Lohengrenic castle in the clouds -

  D#          F   Gm D#               D
[yes and ]I draw my  murky meanings there,

 D#  Gm           D#   F             Gm
but seven years' dark luck is just around the corner

D#           F           Gm    D#      D
and in the shadows lurks the spectre of Despair.

A cracked mirror mid the drapes of the landing:

split image, labored understanding -

A#                          A               Dm
I'm only trying to find a place to hide my home...

[trumpet-like:] Dm C Dm Dm C Dm Dm C D


( G Am C Am, G Am C D Am [twice, with different timings] ) x 2

[struct 4:]
G     Am       C              Am
I've lived in houses composed of glass

G     Am     C      D     Am
where every movement is charted,

G    Am      C              Am
but now the monitor screens are dark

G   Am               C     D          Am
and I can't tell if silent eyes are there.

[same as previous (struct 4)]
My words are spiders upon the page,
they spin out faith, hope and reason -     ... C     D
but are they meet and just, or only dust gathering about my

[struct 3:]
A#                   A
Sometimes I get the feeling that there's

someone else there :

The faceless watcher [he] makes me uneasy,

I can feel him through the floorboards, and His presence is
creepy -

A#                 A             Dm
He informs me that I shall be expelled...

What is that but out of and into :
[I] don't know the nature of the door that I'd go through,
[I] don't know the nature of the nature that I am inside...

[struct 4]
I've lived in houses of brick and lead
where all emotion is sacred,
and if you want to devour the fruit
you must first sniff at the fragrance

[struct 4 (same tune and chords, with more intermediate notes played)]
and lay your body before the shrine
with poems and posies and papers -
or, if you catch the ruse, you'll have to choose
to stay, a monk, or leave, a vagrant.

[struct 3]
What is this place you call home?
Is it a sermon or a confession?
Is it the chalice that you use for protection?
Is it really only somewhere you can stay?
Is it a rule-book or a lecture?
Is it a beating at the hands of your Protector?
Does the idol have feet of clay?

Home is what you make it, so my friends all say,

C                                           Bm
[(not:) but] [dont't you know] I rarely see their homes in these dark days.

Some of them are snails and carry houses on their backs;

C                          Bm
others live in monuments which, one day, will be racks -

Dm         C                              A#          (G A A#)
I keep my home in place with sellotape and tin-tacks,

A#                      Am                 Dm
but I still feel there's some other Force here:

F                        Em(4-0)
He who cracks the mirrors and moves the walls

keeps staring through the eye-slits of the portraits in my hall;

F                          Em(4-0)
He ravages my library and taps the telephone -

I've never actually seen Him,
but I know He's in my home

D#         F
and if he goes away,

Gm        D#      D
I can't stay here either.

D# F             Gm  D#                    D     D# ...
I believe - er - I think - well, I don't know...

[Here, I only catch notes, not the chords]
I only live in one room at a time,
but all of the walls are ears, [and] all the windows, eyes :
Everything else is foreign,
'Home' is my wordless chant:
Give it a chance!

[struct 4 (same tune and chords, but just notes played)]
I am surrounded by flesh and bone,
I am a temple of living,
I am a hermit, I am a drone,
and I am boning out a place to be.

[struct 4 (same tune and chords, but just notes played)]
With secret garlands about my head
unearthly silence is broken:
the room is growing dark, and in the stark light
I can see a face I know -

A#                 A              Dm
could this be the guy who never shows

the cracked mirror what he's feeling,

merely mumbles prayers to the ground where he's kneeling :

"Home is home is home is home is [(not:) home is]

     A                                   Dm
   [house is house is house is] home is me!"

All you people looking for your houses,

don't throw your weight around, you might break your glasses

A#                   A                  Dm
and if you do, you know you just can't see

and then how are you to find the dawning of the day?

C                         Bm
- Day is just a word I use to keep the dark at bay,

and people are imaginary, nothing else exists

except the room I'm sitting in,

and, of course, the all-pervading mist -

Dm           C                   A#       (Em C) Dm
sometimes I wonder if even that's real...

D#  F Em  D#       D
Maybe I should de-louse this place;

D#  F Em  D#                   D
Maybe I should de-place this louse;

D#  Gm D#    F              Gm
Maybe  I'll maybe my life away

D#      F       Gm       D#     D
in the confines of this silent house.

 D#  F   Gm D#          D          D#  F   Gm D#    D
Sometimes   it's very scary here; sometimes   it's very sad;

 D#  Gm   D#  F              Gm    D#  F    Gm  D# ... D
sometimes I think I'll disappear; sometimes I think...

[Worth/Ross-on-Wye, 1972]

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