"What embitters the world is not excess of criticism, but an absence of self-criticism." - G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Child of Dust — Thrice

Dear prodigal, you are my son and I
Supplied you not your spirit, but your shape.
All Eden's wealth arrayed before your eyes;
I fathomed not you wanted to escape.

And though I only ever gave you love,
like every child you’ve chosen to rebel;
uprooted flowers and filled the holes with blood;
ask not for whom they toll the solemn bells.

A child of dust to mother now return;
for every seed must die before it grows.
and though above the world may toil and turn,
no prying spade will find you here below.

Now safe beneath their wisdom and their feet,
Here i will teach you truly how to sleep.

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Blogger Alex said...

One of the contributors at songmeantings.net takes a stab at the meaning of this song. He/she says:

"The earth is disappointed in us."

Heh, songmeanings.net is fun when it comes to Thrice songs.

11:34 AM

Blogger Linda said...

Hi Alex,

Great lyrics! Deep, indeed! Can I take a crack at what it says to me?

God shaped Adam out of clay
And gave us everything we could hope for
But we decided that was not enough
And chose to run away from unconditional love... out of rebellion
We dug the holes where our flesh must be buried
Along with Christ whose blood was shed for us
The last four lines, I’m not sure if they are speaking of actual physical death, or if it’s symbolic.
Either way, I think it’s speaking of peace and/or life that comes through death.

10:20 AM

Blogger Alex said...

Hey Linda,
I think you are fairly close to what the song is driving at.

Thrice is an interesting band as the lead singer and sole song writer (Dustin Kensrue) is an unapologetic Christian, though the other members of the group don't necessarily profess as much. (They are quite mum actually. The only thing I've heard is that they don't agree with Dustin "100%.") The don't at all fly under the banner of "Christian music." You'll never see them at a "Christian" festival. At the same time though, Dustin's faith often lyrically manifests itself in ways that are quite unambiguous to the thoughtful Christian. Yet, for those who are not familiar with Christianity or it's thought patterns they seem to have a hard time "figuring out" what Dustin is writing about. (Hence, "the earth is disappointed in us." comment)

Personally, the artistic excellence of their work combined with the resonance that Dustin's writing has with my own life puts Thrice up there as my favoritist band ever.

8:02 AM

Blogger Rev. Dr. Incitatus said...

Well, the iambic pentameter could certainly use some work, but it's a worthy nod to ol' Bill's sonnet form nonetheless! ;)

8:45 AM

Blogger Alex said...

Theater geek.

8:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

theres a story in the bible.not quite to sure what chapter.
back in bible terms they belived that the oldest of the sons got all of what the father had when he passed away.the youngest soon of 2 asked for his early. his father granted his wish and so in return the sun rebeled and spent it all on righteous living. sometime later he was found on the street with nothing begging for money.

8:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to anonymous, the youngest son then came back to his home and was received with open arms by his father. They had a feast and threw a big party. This enraged the oldest son who had always been faithful. The father told the oldest son that they should be glad because "thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found." Luke 15:11-32 It's a really interesting parable from the Bible.

5:48 PM

Blogger Erik said...

first of let me state i'm not religious, and that ive been listening to thrice for many many years, Dustin's lyrics have always made me think, in that even to me it seems like he links a lot of his song lyrics to, i guess what all of you are saying, is Christianity. But even knowing that, and listening to the song, the end, the last 4 lines and the turn the music takes, to me, it makes the song about something else, but i still cant get a grasp on it. Linda and Alex you both helped me understand this song more however, and i thank you both.

5:07 AM

Blogger Alex said...

Hey Erik,
Thanks for the comment. I've also puzzled over those last couple lines. In the verse:

"Now safe beneath their wisdom and their feet"

we apparently have death with with an emphasis on being separated from the world of humanity and its "wisdom."

But then we have:

"Here i will teach you truly how to sleep"

If we are taking this in a theistic light, then the "I" here is likely God. But then what is this talk of teaching one (who is apparently dead) how to truly sleep?

The best I can make of this theologically is that Dustin is speaking of the hope of an ongoing relationship with God after death where we will be taught to rest truly in him.

Is that what Dustin is driving at? I dunno, but it makes some amount of sense for me.

6:11 AM


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