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Yes – Close to the Edge Lyrics 3 years ago
@[SongMeaningGuy:23336] Thanks for your comments. I've completed a long essay fully interpreting the lyrics of "Close to the Edge," and another fully interpretating the lyrics to "The Revealing Science of God" on Tales from Topographic Oceans. Two of the most profound and meaningful songs ever wttten, shimmering with brilliant insights and truth from start to finish.

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Johnnyswim – Don't Let It Get You Down Lyrics 5 years ago
I love this song! Especially the refrain:

"Oh this could be the part of you
that you ain't never seen before.
Oh this could be the part, the part of you
you wanna be."

Being courageous, and acting with integrity, often takes us out of our comfort zone, and exposes us to danger. But such courage is the better part of our own selves. We learn to be courageous by taking risks and being truthful.


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Starcastle – Lady Of The Lake Lyrics 7 years ago
Some of you guys' lyrics are so far off! Are you sure you don't moonlight as lyrics transcribers for karaoke songs? ;-)

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Starcastle – Lady Of The Lake Lyrics 7 years ago
alcalaunit is exactly right. Those are the actual lyrics. I have the album, with the lyrics, and I've sung these lyrics out loud many times to this great song by this great band! The lyrics that are printed on the album are the same lyrics the band sings in the song.

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Yes – The Remembering (High the Memory) Lyrics 9 years ago
Quite right, dzdarragh. I made that correction and others to the lyric. Ah, the hazard of copying and pasting from websites!

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Yes – Close to the Edge Lyrics 10 years ago
Thanks for your wise, thought-provoking comments, erickerick, and the "source research" you've done by finding out what Jon Anderson himself has had to say about his production of the lyrics for CTTE.

Anderson's method of writing "in reverse" -- selecting beautiful sounding words, and then placing them in a context that seems to impart some kind of meaning, however mysterious, effective pierces the collective unconscious of those who listen attentively to Yes's music. We react emotionally to beauty of the whole package, lyrics and music, and cognition of "truth" naturall follows. As John Keats wrote in a poem that employs a similar method, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty; that is all/ Ye know on earth and all ye need to know."

I couldn't help but think about how this "sounds nice" first methodology probably reflects the way language developed in the first place. Our ancient ancestors liked the way certain utterances sounded in connection with certain objects/events/life experiences, and to the extent those utterances resonated for others as well, they stuck and became words imbued with meaning. Again, the beauty came first, and the semantic truth followed.

A lot of great art seems to be the product of such intuitive, subconscious processes. As you may discern, I'm a great fan of Emily Dickinson's poetry, and I perceive her creative processes following a course similar to Jon Anderson's. Here's a poem, for example, that reminds me of the way Yes's music meanders and flows, a kind of "chaos in order/ order in chaos":

Beauty be not caused, it is
Chase it and it ceases
Chase it not and it abides

Overtake the creases

In the meadow when the wind
Runs his fingers through it
Deity will see to it
That you never do it

The meaning, in other words, arises spontaneously from the beauty of the words, the lyrics, the language. There is no greater reassurance of the mysterious presence of God in our world and our lives.

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Yes – Close to the Edge Lyrics 10 years ago
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.
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INTERPRETATION

This final refrain recalls the cyclical nature of the spiritual journey, just as the refrain itself cycles back around in the song CTTE. It reiterates the daily round of life that continues from beginning to end, but this time with a difference: the cycle is shot through with enlightenment. Seasons continue to pass us by, but through it all our growth is clear to us, from “seed” to “sun,” from birth to true awakening, to acceptance of our essential wholeness. We end up knowing and accepting that the “seasons of man” are within us.

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Yes – Close to the Edge Lyrics 10 years ago
IV. 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.
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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.

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Yes – Close to the Edge Lyrics 12 years ago
Crossed 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.
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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."

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Yes – Close to the Edge Lyrics 16 years ago
I. 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.

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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."

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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.

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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....

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The Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin Lyrics 16 years ago
Justin Hayward wrote the song, but Graham Edge wrote the poem at the end ("Cold-hearted orb...).

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Yes – Close to the Edge Lyrics 16 years ago
I 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.

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Yes – Sound Chaser Lyrics 16 years ago
Nescient, what do you mean when you say "they introduce and then pale before some of the most incredibly blistering music...."

Is that that a typing mistake of some kind?

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Yes – I've Seen All Good People: Your Move/All Good People Lyrics 16 years ago
It's "Send an instant comet to me," not "comment" or "karma."

Also, it's "...she hasn't got time to make you a wife," not "...to make you wise."

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Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill Lyrics 16 years ago
This is a stirringly visceral and spiritual song. Whenever I hear it my eyes fill with tears of joy. Sometimes I think I would like this song to be played at my funeral. The idea being taken home at the height of a mystic vision is profoundly moving.

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Indigo Girls – Galileo Lyrics 16 years ago
What a cool song! Everytime I play it, I experience a soaring feeling in my soul!

This is about the soul's yearing for higher wisdom and fulfillment. The highest heights are attainable only through commitment to truth. The Indigo Girls know what they're singing about here!

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