As I walked to Kendall Square
And crossed the river basin there
The Charles was black, the sky was blue
The view was old, the bridge was new
And past the flow's constricted mouth
Commercial lines flowed mostly south
Or east across a boundless sea
Where rising soon, the star would be
The tides are moved by sun and moon
The spring will last from March to June
The red line train will pass behind
As long as bridge joins stream and sky
And from that point where i did stand
I wondered at the works of man
I wondered how this walk began
Til red line train came round again
But it's not the time to ossify
It's not the end of wondering why
It's not in your faith or your apostasy
It's not the end of history
As I can take, so i could give
If I could shop where I could live
As I can read, so I'd write books
If I could eat where I could cook
Where talkers have a place to meet
Where walkers walk along the street
And subways travel paths well hid
But ferries take you off the grid
And it's not the time to ossify
It's not the end of wondering why
It's not in your faith or your apostasy
It's not the end of... predicatble waves of historicity
Nostalgia for gas-lit time I'll never see
Futurians manifest, internationalists
Connected are the promenades and waterways
The living waves of harbor nights and city days
And where is the builder?
Was there something missed?
Hidden in the plans to the bridge that started this?
But it's not the time to ossify
It's not the end of wondering why
It's not in your faith or your apostasy
It's not the end of history
As I walked on to Founders' Square
And crossed the river basin there,
The Passaic was grey, the sky was blue
The bridge was old, the view was new
And from that point where I did stand
I wondered at the builder's plan
I wondered how this walk will end
Til path train came around again
But it's not the time to ossify
It's not the end of wondering why
It's not in your faith or your apostasy
It's not the end of history


Lyrics submitted by knifefight

Bridges, Squares song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI believe in this song he is talking about the transition from the Carter to Reagan presidency. I could be mistaken.
    indierockrodgerson November 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentboston...
    likesoradicalon July 05, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsuch an awesome song. i was just in kendall square not too long ago.

    in case anyone was wondering: ossify - to make rigid and set into a conventional pattern. apostasy - Abandonment of one's religious faith, a political party, one's principles, or a cause.

    hey, i didn't know.
    weezerific:cutleryon September 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti live in cambridge near kendall square. <3 everyone see ted leo this december! he's playing 2 dates at the middle east. it'll be my 5th and 6th time seeing him. he is absoluitely amazing live. plus, matt pond PA is playing with him, and they are fabulous.
    xthestarslaughdxon October 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI actually read an interesting take on the album Hearts of Oak on Amazon.com, and that was that the entire album was a reaction to September 11th. With that in mind, I listened to the album, and that seemed to make some sense. This song fits in that as well. Its clearly about Boston, Cambridge specificially. I know that Ted lived in Cambridge for a while, and that's perhaps where he lived the day of the attacks. It seems like he is reflecting on the progress of humanity and how they bought such grand destruction in New York, but in the end, everything goes on. He goes on to stay "Its not the time to ossify, its not the end of wondering why, its not in your fath or your apostasy." These really seem like the words of a man reflecting on something huge. Ted is saying that the September 11th attacks may have appeared to be catestrophic beyond belief at the time, but this is not the end of the world. Life goes on. I don't know, the September 11th take on the whole album made sense to me. I mean, you've got "Building Skyscrapers in the Basement" which seems to be about a nervous father contemplating whether the world is safe for his daughter to grow up in, then you've got "I'm a Ghost," which seems to be about feeling helpless politically, then "High Party" which has the lyric "Or I'm looking for another way to process what happened on that birthday." and Ted's birthday is apparently 9-11. Then comes "Ballad of the Sin Eater," which is about a realization of the dangers of the world. The list goes on.
    george_gordonon December 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Ballad of the Sin Eater" is actually about "American guilt." Like, when you travel abroad, Americans are treated differently. Wherever he goes, he's mistreated--beaten and bloodied, for example--for being a "stupid American."
    bizarr3on February 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics alone are gorgeous.
    pumkinhedon December 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSpeaking of the lyrics, they seem to have something to do with human potential.
    pumkinhedon December 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe end of the song references places in New Jersey... The Passiac River and the PATH trains, for example.
    TimSPCon April 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"East across the boundless sea" could refer to Tennyson's Enoch Arden where he says "across the boundless east we drove"

    "End of History" is a reference to the Francis Fukyama work
    The words "ossify" and "apostasy" are as well. Both were used by Marx and by Fukuyama in his criticisms of Marx.
    vidro3on August 30, 2007   Link

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