"Close to the Edge" as written by Sacha Skarbek, James Bryan Mccollum and Lisa Marie Presley....
A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace,
And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace,
And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar,
Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour
And assessing points to nowhere, leading every single one
A dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun,
And take away the plain in which we move,
And choose the course you're running

Down at the edge, round by the corner,
Not right away, not right away
Close to the edge, down by a river,
Not right away, not right away

Crossed the line around the changes of the summer,
Reaching out to call the color of the sky
Passed around a moment clothed in mornings faster than we see
Getting over all the time I had to worry,
Leaving all the changes far from far behind
We relieve the tension only to find out the master's name

Down at the end, round by the corner
Close to the edge, just by a river
Seasons will pass you by
I get up, I get down
Now that it's all over and done,
Now that you find, now that you're whole

My eyes convinced, eclipsed with the younger moon attained with love
It changed as almost strained amidst clear manna from above
I crucified my hate and held the word within my hand
There's you, the time, the logic, or the reasons we don't understand

Sad courage claimed the victims standing still for all to see,
As armored movers took approached to overlook the sea
There since the cord, the license, or the reasons we understood will be

Down at the edge, close by a river
Close to the edge, round by the corner
Close to the end, down by the corner
Down at the edge, round by the river

Sudden call shouldn't take away the startled memory
All in all, the journey takes you all the way
As apart from any reality that you've ever seen and known
Guessing problems only to deceive the mention,
Passing paths that climb halfway into the void
As we cross from side to side, we hear the total mass retain

Down at the edge, round by the corner
Close to the end, down by a river
Seasons will pass you by
I get up, I get down

In her white lace, you could clearly see the lady sadly looking
Saying that she'd take the blame
For the crucifixion of her own domain

I get up,
I get down,
I get up,
I get down

Two million people barely satisfy
Two hundred women watch one woman cry, too late
The eyes of honesty can achieve
How many millions do we deceive each day?
I get up, I get down
I get up, I get down

In charge of who is there in charge of me
Do I look on blindly and say I see the way?
The truth is written all along the page
How old will I be before I come of age for you?
I get up, I get down
I get up, I get down
I get up, I get down

The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes
A constant vogue of triumphs dislocate man, it seems
And space between the focus shape ascend knowledge of love
As song and chance develop time, lost social temperance rules above
Ah, ah

Then according to the man who showed his outstretched arm to space,
He turned around and pointed, revealing all the human race
I shook my head and smiled a whisper, knowing all about the place
On the hill we viewed the silence of the valley,
Called to witness cycles only of the past
And we reach all this with movements in between the said remark

Close to the edge, down by the river
Down at the end, round by the corner
Seasons will pass you by,
Now that it's all over and done,
Called to the seed, right to the sun
Now that you find, now that you're whole
Seasons will pass you by,
I get up, I get down
I get up, I get down
I get up, I get down
I get up


Lyrics submitted by yesfan86

"Close To the Edge" as written by Steve James Howe Jon Anderson

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Close to the Edge song meanings
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  • +9
    General CommentEven before I knew the actual lyrics to this song, the way it builds up to the part that goes "I get up, I get down" almost brings a tear of joy to my eye every freakin' time just because of the emotional and musical set-up. In terms of musical technical ability and lyrics and emotion, Yes is probably the best band I've ever heard. This song is pure genius in every aspect through and through; almost all of their songs are. This song is 18 minutes long and I couldn't find a spot where I wanted to stop listening.
    paranoidandroidheadon August 28, 2002   Link
  • +7
    Song MeaningIV. Seasons Of Man

    The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes.
    A constant vogue of triumphs dislocate man, so it seems.
    And space between the focus shape ascend knowledge of love.
    As song and chance develop time, lost social temperance rules above.
    Ah, ah.

    Then according to the man who showed his outstretched arm to space,
    He turned around and pointed, revealing all the human race.
    I shook my head and smiled a whisper, knowing all about the place.

    On the hill we viewed the silence of the valley,
    Called to witness cycles only of the past.
    And we reach all this with movements in between the said remark.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    INTERPRETATION

    These climactic concluding verses are, for me, among the most philosophically profound in all modern music.

    The first verse alludes to mundane life punctuated by transcendent moments, the life each of us actually lives. “The time between the notes relates the color to the scenes.” The “notes” are the instances of insight and understanding, but they are flanked before and after by mundane “time,” the daily grind of our lives. Yet how else could such moments stand out as profound? This is the genius of life itself, made up long intervals of the mundane followed by moments of rapture and insight, immanence and transcendence. This movement is mirrored by the movement of the Yes’s music itself, right here in CTTE: strong, ecstatic “notes” that jump out, sometimes astonishingly, from varying tempos of melody. Only with such variation can the song paint the beautiful picture it does, as it “relates the color to scenes.” What emerges is an authentic reproduction of the spiritual tempo of life itself

    “A constant vogue of triumphs dislocate man so it seems.” What a resonating line! If life were a series of triumphant moments, rather than the interweaving of happiness and sadness, insight and confusion, confidence and insecurity (“I get up, I get down . . .”) that it actually is, we would be “dislocated” from what is meaningful and important, caught up in false, this-worldly values, whatever is in “vogue.” As an ironic side-note, I think Yes itself later became “dislocated” from the genius of CTTE, Tales from Topographic Oceans, and Relayer, producing relatively shallow and tin-pan material that recalls the warning of this great line from CTTE. “The Ladder” seems shallow to me in this sense, notwithstanding all the hullaballoo surrounding its release. By I digress . . . .

    “And space between the focus shape ascend knowledge of love.” Wow. What a powerful vision of what love is, what function it serves. We go through life searching for meaning, trying to get things in focus, but, again, those moments of insight are few and far between. It is when we’re in confusion, unclear about what it all means, that we truly understand and experience the importance of love, of compassion. When we are weak, confused, depressed, uncertain, vulnerable — that’s when the love of others means more to us than anything. And it goes both ways: by giving love to others in their time of need, we experience spiritual meaning even during times of uncertainty and darkness. Love makes the “space between the focus shape” not only endurable, but profoundly meaningful and important.

    “As song and chance develop time loss social temperance rules above.” This is a wide-eyed, sober view of the social oppression true artists and dreams must expect in this life. Pursuit of meaning through the course of the mundane puts the dreamer/artist at odds with social expectations. From society’s viewpoint, art is a waste of time, and the artist is a threat to the social order. This line makes me think of a disturbing passage in Plato’s “Republic,” where Socrates himself disavows the role of the artist in the well-ordered republic. Jon Anderson seems to be acknowledging the same fundamental tension, the awareness that the path of truth and beauty is one that attracts society’s wrath. It is the way of the cross (“I crucified my hate and held the word within my hand/ There’s you, the time, the logic or the reasons we don’t understand”).

    That next few lines are more straight-forward: “Then according to the man who showed his outstretched arm to space/ He turned around and pointed, revealing all the human race/ I shook my head and smiled a whisper, knowing all about the place.” Every sage arrives at the same destination, realizing that the spiritual path is the one all of are on, whether we realize it or not. Anderson humbly acknowledges that he has discovered the same thing. That “outstretched arm to space” again reminds me of the crucifixion. And the whole lyric here reminds me of a poem by Emily Dickinson “Better than music, for I who heard it,” about the ecstatic vision, which she analogizes to the most exquisite music, and ends her poem: “Let me not spill its smallest cadence/ Humming, for promise, when alone/ Humming, until my faint rehearsal/ Drop into tune around the throne.”

    Then the final ascendant verse: “On a hill we viewed the silence of the valley/ Called to witness cycles only of the past/ And we reach all this with movements in between the said remark.” What a powerful summing-up of the description of the spiritual journey that came before! The ultimate revelation is simply making final sense of life’s entire journey, pitfalls and all. All that has come before is revealed as prelude for where it all leads, where we all end up. And, again, there’s the mystic’s speechlessness, the paradox of “the said remark” — the song lyrics themselves — as having been arrived at through “movements” through silence, “the time between the notes,” etc. Incredible insight here. Again I think of Dickinson: “It is the ultimate of talk/ The impotence to tell.”

    As you can tell, this amazing song, CTTE, and especially these last verses, have held powerful meaning for me for over three decades. When I hear people say they think the lyrics are meaningless, I can’t help but “shake my head and smile a whisper, knowing all about the place.” For me, the song maps out the journey my life actually seems to be on. And the way it ends fills me with incredible hope and wonder.
    SongMeaningGuyon March 20, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI continue to play this song occasionally, as I did in 1976, and it never fails to send chills up my spine. I consider this to be the greatest single piece of music in the Rock genre ever written. Bar none. It transcends rockand roll. In fact, for the genre, it is worthy of being put into the same category as some of the best pieces by the Classical masters. Awaken is similar in its greatness. Given the fact that these guys were in their 20s when they put masterpieces like this together is just mind-blowing. There have been times when I was tempted to email Jon Anderson to ask him about the meanings, but I think that would ruin it for me. The lyrics allow me to relate at a personal level. At different times in my life different lines and movements have jumped out at me. From lyrics to song, this is the ultimate piece of music for me. It's going on 30 years and nothing has yet surpassed.
    heartofthesunon June 25, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI. The Solid Time Of Change

    A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace,
    And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace,
    And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar,
    Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour.

    --------------------

    INTERPRETATION:

    Every seeker of truth on the journey through life needs a guru or spiritual teacher, "a seasoned witch" who can point the way out from "the depths of your disgrace." Concrete changes in one's lifestyle -- to "rearrange your liver" (evocative of freedom from alcoholism, drug addiction, food addiction, etc.) -- must take place if one is to attain "the solid mental grace."

    Yes music itself can be the guru/spiritual teacher, this profound, powerful "music that came quickly from afar," bearing the "fruits of man recorded" for us to taste as we venture toward health, wholeness, and meaning. But to be on this spiritual is to enter a timeless dimension, which our unenlightened, time-obsessed society necessarily will regard as a waste of time, a "losing all against the hour."

    -----------------------------------

    And assessing points to nowhere, leading ev'ry single one.
    A dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun,
    And take away the plane in which we move,
    And choose the course you're running.

    Down at the edge, round by the corner,
    Not right away, not right away.
    Close to the edge, down by a river,
    Not right away, not right away.

    --------------------

    INTERPRETATION:

    The soul's journey through a timeless dimension appears from the outside to be "asssessing points to nowhere," that is, directionless and goalless. Yet this beckoning toward meaningless is "leading every single one" of us, whether we are conscious of this spiritual journey or not. To the extent we become conscious of the soul's journey, we will be inspired by what might otherwise seem the smallest, most insignificant of nature's wonders, the "dewdrop" that "can exalt us like the music of the sun."

    But to remain consciously on this spiritual journey, each of us must "take away the plane in which we move and choose the course you're running." That is, we must risk nonconformity, we must march to the beath of a different drummer (Bill Bruford, preferably!), we must consciously reject the temporal values of conventional society that prevent us from experiencing the depths and wonders of our own souls' journey toward truth and enlightenment.

    As we do this, we will know ourselves to be outcasts, experiencing life at the margins of mainstream society, living our lives "down by the corner" and "close to the edge." We also will encounter internal resistance to such radical spirituality, a voice inside that protests "not right away, not right away."

    MORE TO COME....
    SongMeaningGuyon June 26, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI just went on a Yes experience, as I used to find them the weakest of the prog giants. How foolish I was. Fragile is now one of ten masterpieces for me, and CTTE and the Yes Album are giving me good vibes. Tales unimpressed me, and Relayer I need to listen to again.

    As a response to Camel Fan, they do mean something, but it would be incredibly difficult to figure it out unless you were Jon Anderson. Very spiritual, that's for sure.

    The first four minutes are the best. As is the next part. And the ending of the song has a power to rival the ending of Genesis's Supper's Ready.
    inpraiseoffollyon December 13, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti bought the album a few weeks ago. i love the sound effects at the beginning. did anyone else notice how 'crufixtion' is mentioned several times on the album? i think it has to do with enlightenment by getting rid of old prejudices.
    findsomepeaceon December 06, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentYes, inpraiseoffolly, you're wright, and in these 4 months since my last review I've been understanding these song more, more and more. Nowadays, it is my favourite piece of lyrics, and I see many wonderful things in this song about the seek for enlightment, wholeness and plenitude. Of course I don't necessarily see it exactly as Jon Anderson meant, but it's the most marvelous thing about Yes lyrics: they're so vague that the way you regard depends equally on the lyrics themselves and on you.
    Camel fanon January 23, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentCrossed a line around the changes of the summer,
    Reaching to call the color of the sky.
    Passed around a moment clothed in mornings faster than we see.
    Getting over all the time I had to worry,
    Leaving all the changes far from far behind.
    We relieve the tension only to find out the master's name.

    Down at the end, round by the corner.
    Close to the edge, just by a river.
    Seasons will pass you by.
    I get up, I get down.
    Now that it's all over and done,
    Now that you find, now that you're whole.
    -------------------------------------------------

    INTERPRETATION

    The soul's journey transcends the physical world and pierces through to a universe of timelessness and pure forms. In this state of bliss, our worries fall away and we come to know God: "We relieve the tension only to find out the master's name."
    SongMeaningGuyon April 11, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think liverdude is wrong is saying Yes's lyrics are meaningless.

    In my view, Yes's lyrics are incredibly deep and meaningful, evocative of great truth, beauty, and insight.

    I'll post some of my interpretations in a bit. But for now, can you imagine anyone writing a song called "The Revealing Science of God" (a great Yes song that I just requested be added) without endowing the song with meaning? Maybe there are some artists as cynical as that, but Jon Anderson of Yes isn't one of them.
    SongMeaningGuyon June 10, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyes, well he crucified his hate and held the word within his hand ;) thats probably a reference to forgiving and loving your enemies as Jesus told us to do.
    spacepirateon December 12, 2005   Link

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