Carthage - Amelie Andrezel

I have been thinking about writing this song for a while now and I was too tired today to do anything else.  It’s inspired by a lot of things—including the sack of Alexandria and the burning of the Great Library—but also three T. S. Eliot poems: The Waste Land, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, and Ash Wednesday.  

The following lines are from The Waste Land:

To Carthage then I came

Burning burning burning burning

O Lord Thou pluckest me out

O Lord Thou pluckest

burning. 

This is in reference to an excerpt from St. Augustine’s Confessions:

To Carthage then I came, where a cauldron of unholy loves sang all about mine ears.

Anyway, do enjoy.


Carthage

Music and Lyrics by Amelie Andrezel

I went to the librarian

He called me down to the sea

We watched the warships fan the fire

They thought would set them free

I don’t remember it as holy

I don’t remember it as bright

I think he said, “It’s only thunder”

I remember praying he was right…

Burning

Oh lord thou pluckest me out

Burning

I woke up on the hardwood

Got to sleep at 5 am

Dragged my body to the river

Just to dredge it up again

I swam upstream against the pilgrims

Shoulder to shoulder wading by

But blessed are angels, traveling salesmen

All creatures of the dark, sacred night

Burning

Oh lord thou pluckest me out

Burning

Princes and sailors

Mathematicians and knaves

A little blood spilled on the pages

Alleluia! We are saved

Burning

Oh lord thou pluckest me out

Burning

Oh my lady of the desert

If he sits beneath your tree

Spread your ashes across his forehead

Leave us singing, each to each…

Burning

Oh lord thou pluckest me out

Burning

But dry bones are fickle. They rattle and rustle and grow restless in the ground.
Ash Wednesday

II

Lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper-tree

In the cool of the day, having fed to satiety

On my legs my heart my liver and that which had been

contained

In the hollow round of my skull.  And God said

Shall these bones live? shall these

Bones live?  And that which had been contained 

In the bones (which were already dry) said chirping:

Because of the goodness of this Lady

And  because of her loveliness, and because

She honours the Virgin in meditation,

We shine with brightness.  And I who am here dissembled

Proffer my deeds to oblivion, and my love

To the posterity of the desert and the fruit of the gourd.

It is this which recovers

My guts the strings of my eyes and the indigestible portions

Which the leopards reject.  The Lady is withdrawn

In a white gown, to contemplation, in a white gown.

Let the whiteness of bones atone to forgetfullness.

There is no life in them.  As I am forgotten

And would be forgotten, so I would forget

Thus devoted, concentrated in purpose.  And God said

Prophesy to the wind, to the wind only for only

The wind will listen.  And the bones sang chirping

With the burden of the grasshopper, saying

Lady of silences

Calm and distressed

Torn and most whole

Rose of memory

Rose of forgetfulness

Exhausted and life-giving

Worried reposeful

The single Rose

Is now the Garden

Where all loves end 

Terminate torment

Of love unsatisfied

The greater torment

Of love satisfied

End of the endless

Journey to no end

Conclusion of all that

Is inconclusible

Speech without word and

Word of no speech

Grace to the Mother

For the Garden

Where all love ends.

Under a juniper-tree the bones sang, scattered and shining

We are glad to be scattered, we did little good to each other,

Under a tree in the cool of the day, with the blessing of sand,

Forgetting themselves and each other, united

In the quiet of the desert.  This is the land which ye

Shall divide by lot.  And neither division nor unity

Matters.  This is the land.  We have our inheritance.

-T. S. Eliot