You'll recall from the sagas, I hope, Grettis' last stand at Drangey
how his grip on the sword made his enemies cut off his hand
If he'd fled here instead and had tasted this terrible coffee
or read these letters you sent, he'd surrender and lay the blade down

And it's Halloween,
skinny ghosts dress like cowboys and rest
at the railing by my door
on their way from the Children's Ward

Bev Monroe and his Pembina Valley boys play at the party
and I practice my English on nurses, "Oh, that's a nice name"
And they may ask for mine, but the burns on my back from the x-rays
say I shouldn't show anyone anything ever again

In another year
I'll be buried or shivering here,
coughing at the grey spittoon
painted orange by the harvest moon

Pack up mother's clothes,
drive her down to the new Betel Home,
sell the boat to Arnison
and then go

Stand up straight
in the place you're longing for
and don't write to me anymore


Lyrics submitted by strakared, edited by HellionChild, Contaminator

Letter in Icelandic from the Ninette San song meanings
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    General CommentPretty self explanatory, once you realize that the 'Ninette San' refers to the Manitoba Ninette Sanatorium. Sanatoriums were basically places people went to be cured of (or die of) tuberculosis in the 1900s. All accounts I can find of the Ninette Sanatorium are quite positive, with many former patients going on to work there later.

    Drangey is an island in Iceland, and Grettir is an Icelandic folk hero.

    Anyway, it seems to me that the narrator is a recent immigrant from Iceland who has developed TB and now lives in the Sanatorium. He (or she, but I'll use he for simplicity) is writing to a sibling(?) about his life there, starting the letter off fairly positively, but unable to stop thinking about his illness. He tells his sibling to seize the day by leaving the people and things that weigh him/her down behind.
    craevnon March 08, 2012   Link

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