"Columbus" as written by and Winston Rodney....
Better keep your distance from this whale
Better keep your boat from going astray
Find yourself a partner and treat them well
Try to give them shelter night and day
'cause here in this blue light
Far away from the fireside
Things can get twisted and crazy and crowded
You can't even feel right

So you dream of columbus
Ever time the panic starts
You dream of columbus
With your maps and your beautiful charts
You dream of columbus
With an ache in your travelling heart

See how the cormorant swoops and dives
Must be some thrill to go that deep
Down to the basement of this life
Down to where the mermaid gently sleeps
Not like here in this blue light
Far away from the fireside
Where things can get twisted and haunted and crowded
You can't even feel alright


And as tide must ebb and flow
I am dragged down under
And I wait the livelong day
For an end to my hunger

So I dream of columbus
Every time that the panic starts
I dream of columbus
With my maps and my beautiful charts
I dream of columbus
And there's peace in a traveling heart
I dream of columbus

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"Columbus" as written by Winston Rodney


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Columbus song meanings
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    My InterpretationThe danger of using lyrical images that are too personal is that one runs the risk of being too obscure to the understood. The amazing trick, when it happens, occurs when the lyrics are obscure yet touch something within that passes along an emotion even without an explicit understanding. This latter is how this song strikes me.

    As one of the First Peoples (yes, I really am Cheyenne), I could toss in political comments about Christopher Columbus. In these lyrics, however, I feel that it's more about the sense of dreaming of finding that fabled New Land, a place where all that is known (and, perhaps, causes pain) can be left behind, giving one a new start, new hope. The "traveling heart" is the one that is too restless, too injured, to stay with the known pain of its surroundings -- the "blue light" (literal or figurative) "away from the fireside" (without warmth, without the camaraderie of others gathered there). The world is crowded, twisted, haunted, crazy -- filled with old ghosts that can't be exorcised... so we dream of the journey to take us to a new world, dreaming of our plans (maps and beautiful charts) that may not ever happen.

    The verses are obscure yet touch something deep in me.The "whale" could be a reference to Moby Dick (obsession with revenge), or it could be simply a huge emotional turmoil, or even a person whose personality is has crowded and overwhelmed, one whom you're better off without. The combination of images results in the same advice: Don't go there, don't let your boat (self) become lost. Find your way with a good partner who will steer your (both of you) boat safely.

    A cormorant is a seaside-dwelling bird that feeds on fish and eels. They dive underwater, propelling themselves with wings and webbed feet, to depths as far as 45 meters. Perhaps an allusion to another new world, one where a creature made for the air pushes far into the water for sustenance? The mermaid -- mythical, magical female sought by sailors over the centuries -- can only be found in the depths where air-breathers cannot survive, unless (as Shakespeare put it) he risk and hazard all he hath.

    I have known the aching hunger, this desperate need for the love of a true other. That is what the song touches in me, with few changes needed in its images to reflect images of my own life. It is a song that touches my traveling, ever-seeking heart, and I gaze at my own maps and charts through a haze of cleansing tears.
    CheyenneWolfon December 22, 2017   Link

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