Blessed to be a witness

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Thursday, June 30th

Reservoir redux

A few weeks ago, the team leader of the Reservoir Dogs spoke at the nightly meeting. He said there was a girl who had been working with them for a long time who had written a song about the project, and would we mind if she played it. I inwardly groaned - I had heard another song about Phi Phi, and it was knuckle-gnawingly dreadful. Thus when a girl sat on the sand with her guitar, eschewing a chair, saying "I don't think people need to see me", I steeled myself to cringe.

The song she played astonished me. In context it meant a hell of a lot, of course, but it was so good that I suspect it would be worthy of general release. Her voice was beautiful and strong, the tune gorgeous, and the words pure poetry. I have emailed her, and she has given me permission to reprint the lyrics of a song that manages somehow to locate the beauty hidden in digging and sweating and breaking rocks up to your waist in stinking, stagnant water, in a place that was recently filled with corpses.


We're all going to live
If we keep drinking water
Up from Reggae Mountain
You'll see the water's still there.

Five tides have passed through here
Sky's mirror's long broken
It's the shit now that's left
Hope you find what you need.

Because they won't come down
Until the last pool has dried up
Until these rivers feed lotus
And there's no stink of the dead.

My arms will grow spades
I've shivers just walking
Won't you come down to see
The reservoir I've been in.

I've been up to my head
Digging deep with my aching bones
And though I couldn't save you
You're not in there alone.

Some said it's for glory
That I'm fighting this mud
And others say they'll just doze it
And dig it on a billion dollar budget
When the deal's been made.

So I pray for a strong second wind
To break these dams
With sweat and blood to build the road
'Cause back there there's more water
And it's red and it's raining and I've got to go.

You'll be up to your head
Digging deep with your aching bones
And though I couldn't save you
You won't be in there alone.

Kirsten Gear

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