My Life Down

 

 

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…I shall lie

I’ve been preoccupied with the loss, care and protection of innocence lately. It’s not time the tale were told here, but I’ve found a lot of comfort in spending time with my cousins, and in music. So I thought I’d dedicate this song to all of us.

Morrissey often mourns the loss of innocence and desires to protect it, and the theme informs much of his work, especially with The Smiths. Below is one of my favorites. A lullaby for the child he once was, the innocence he once possessed and lost, but also a wish — fervently expressed — to save a another from the pain he knew. Sung to the jangling chime of guitar with the sonorous cello of his voice.

Listen here.

“The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”

Please don’t cry
For the ghost and the storm outside
Will not invade this sacred shrine
Nor infiltrate your mind
My life down I shall lie
If the bogey-man should try
To play tricks on your sacred mind
To tease, torment, and tantalise
Wavering shadows loom
A piano plays in an empty room
There’ll be blood on the cleaver tonight
And when darknesss lifts and the room is bright
I’ll still be by your side
For you are all that matters
And I’ll love you to till the day I die
There never need be longing in your eyes
As long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine
Ceiling shadows shimmy by
And when the wardrobe towers like a beast of prey
There’s sadness in your beautiful eyes
Oh, your untouched, unsoiled, wonderous eyes
My life down I shall lie
Should restless spirits try
To play tricks on your sacred mind
I once had a child, and it saved my life
And I never even asked his name
I just looked into his wondrous eyes
And said: “never never never again”
And all too soon I did return
Just like a moth to a flame
So rattle my bones all over the stones
I’m only a beggar-man whom nobody owns
Oh, see how words as old as sin
Fit me like a glove
I’m here and here I’ll stay
Together we lie, together we pray
There never need be longing in your eyes
As long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine
As long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine
Mine
Climb up on my knee, sonny boy
Although you’re only three, sonny boy
You’re – you’re mine
And your mother she just never knew
Oh, your mother…
As long… as long… as long
I did my best for her
I did my best for her
As long… as long… as long as… as long
I did my best for her
I did my best for her
Oh…
From The Smiths, The Smiths, 1984
Photo credit: Nelleke Stallings, 2016

About JLakis

Jessica Lakis - Writer/screenwriter. Conqueror of the Useless. Super nerd. Vae Victus. View all posts by JLakis

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