Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winter

"Winter"
by Tori Amos
from Little Earthquakes (1992)

Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens,
Wipe my nose, get my new boots on.
I get a little warm in my heart
When I think of winter.
I put my hand in my father's glove.

I run off where the drifts get deeper,
Sleeping Beauty trips me with a frown.
I hear a voice,
"You must learn to stand up for yourself
Cause I can't always be around."

He says ...
"When you gonna make up your mind?
When you gonna love you as much as I do?
When you gonna make up your mind?
Cause things are gonna change so fast,
All the white horses are still in bed.
I tell you that I'll always want you near,
You say that things change, my dear."

Boys get discovered as winter melts,
Flowers competing for the sun.
Years go by and I'm here still waiting,
Withering where some snowman was.

Mirror, mirror, where's the crystal palace?
But I only can see myself.
Skating around the truth who I am,
But I know, Dad, the ice is getting thin.

Hair is grey and the fires are burning,
So many dreams on the shelf.
You say I wanted you to be proud of me,
I always wanted that myself.

He says ...
"When you gonna make up your mind?
When you gonna love you as much as I do?
When you gonna make up your mind?
Cause things are gonna change so fast,
All the white horses have gone ahead.
I tell you that I'll always want you near,
You say that things change, my dear."

It took me a while to discover Tori Amos.  In fact, it was quite some time after the 1992 release of her first studio album, Little Earthquakes.  The first time I listened to the album, I was entranced by her breathy, folksy tone, that could swell in a moment into full-throated joy or pain, accompanied at times by a simple piano line or developing into full orchestration.  "Winter" is by far my favorite track.  These lyrics represent one of the characteristics that I most respect - SIMPLICITY.  It is compact yet laser-sighted STRAIGHT to the heart.  I also ADORE the ever-so-slight change in the lyrics of the chorus ... "all the white horses are still in bed" to "all the white horses have gone ahead."

This song was the first one I heard today in my car as I was out running errands while listening to the "Most Favorites" playlist on my phone.  As you'll discover, I've always been drawn to lyrics, plays, novels, and stories that deal with the relationship between a character and his or her father.  Combine that with the evocative images of growth ("winter melts" and "flowers competing for the sun"), aging ("so many dreams on the shelf"), and most of all the anthem of self-acceptance that runs throughout, and it's DEFINITELY one of my all-time favorite lyrics.

2 comments:

  1. I shall give her a listen! Do you suggest I start WITH LITTLE EARTHQUAKES?

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  2. Definitely ... I actually find some of her later stuff a little hard to get a handle on ...

    ReplyDelete