Monday, July 26, 2010

The Annotated Wandering Daughter

So, one of my favorite songs is Wandering Daughter by Kimya Dawson. I thought I'd post the lyrics here with some commentary.

Wandering Daughter - Kimya Dawson

I am the wanderer's wandering daughter
wrestle the pestle for the sake of the mortar
i love as i breathe and leave as i live
my cast iron shield's a titanium sieve

Not a lot to say about this line. I think Kimya Dawson's strength in her lyrics and playing more so than her voice, but she does have a very distinct voice, and I couldn't imagine anyone else singing this song.

Capitalization here is taken from her website.

and a castle that's built on confusion and doubt
is a nickel within and a dollar without
just when the shoes seem so big i can't win
i fill my own sneakers and take off again

Again, I just like the poetry in these lines, and the idea of a sneaker clad mensch wandering the world and doing good deeds wherever she goes.

i am the wanderer's wandering daughter
take all my pain and i mix it with water
it's sunny it's sweet and i don't purple stuff it
one day by the way i met little miss muffet

i blew my mind with the stuff that i taught her
i am the wanderer's wandering daughter
i said if a spider should sit down beside you
tell him your name and then tell him the truth

a great hairy spider appeared there and then
and the holes in my soul started letting in wind

(I love that line)

i felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter
i am the wanderer's wandering daughter

She said I'm miss muffet i'm very afraid
but something inside me is making me stay
i know deep down that if i run away
i'll just meet more spiders and still feel the same

One of my favorite lines in any songs. It's been my email signature forever, and I've been telling it to Lily since she was just a newborn. I do have a tendency to avoid confrontations of any kind, and it's occasionally to my detriment. Eventually you wind up defining yourself through all these things you won't let yourself do and it seems like you can't go outside because you're afraid you'll meet more spiders. That's why I try to encourage Lily to face her fears. I let her know that I'll be right next to her when she does it, and I don't force it on her, but I try to explain that until she does, the objects of her fear will still be there and she'll still be afraid.

the spider he smiled and said how is this true
when i am so terribly smaller than you?
My web it just went in the way the wind blew
what i was in for i hadn't a clue

Another set of lines that I really like. We talk about this when we're around little animals and Lily understands that she's very big compared to them, and they might be scared, so she always has to use her gentle hands.

he touched her face gently with six of his legs
and licked from her chin a speck of curds and whey
when i was certain they'd both be okay
i tightened my laces and i walked away

There's those sneakers again :)

as i walked away i was feeling excluded
wishing my impulses weren't diluted
the muscle i hustle is real for my friends
but the muscle i keep for myself is pretend

One time, Jen and I were at a restaurant with her friend Karen (not giraffe-loving Karen, but a different Karen) and the waitress messed up some minor aspect of Jen's order. I can't remember if she didn't give her a straw or forgot the silverware, but something on that level. Karen spoke up on Jen's behalf, politely asking for the situation to be fixed. It was and Karen saying at that point in her life, she was uncomfortable asking for help for herself, but had no problem doing it for a friend. I have the same outlook. I find it much easier to ask for something for a friend than for myself.

i am the wanderer's wandering daughter
travel the land and i live like a martyr
the things that i do aren't the things that i teach
if i spend my time practicing when will i preach?

I do what i must as you do what you oughta
i am the wanderer's wandering daughter
take all my pain and mix it with water
i am the wanderer's wandering daughter

i'm lost and alone and i'm fair and i'm free
you am what you is and i are who i be
what i'm lacking in strength i make up for in smarts
you keep your stability i'll keep my heart

fear finds october emotions are juices
beat around bushes and make up excuses
go out for ceruleans come home with chartreuses
snip and cut bonsais and turn them to spruces

That's an awesome couple lines there. I can rarely find an album where I like all of the songs (exceptions: Graceland, Ixnay on the Hombre), but I love every single line in this song.

miss muffet called me and she said don't cry
real friends are friends until after they die
still i romanticize all this disorder
i am the wanderer's wandering daughter
hop the next bus and run for the border
i am the wanderer's wandering daughter
give you my life if you give me a quarter
i am the wanderer's wandering daughter

so long it's been good to know ya
so long it's been good to know ya
so long it's been good to know ya
i've got to be moving along

Then I usually add "cha cha cha", because that's how I conclude all my songs these days.

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