Thursday, February 7, 2013


Nick Drake still life*

From the morning,

pink moon reaches

for her golden crown

in the northern sky

Day is done,

river man and

his black-eyed dog

are making their way

to blue

Time has told me
you're a rare, rare find

I hope your ocean
will find its shore,

poor boy

*Titles and lyrics belong to Nick Drake (click on links for that song's video)


Nick Drake died in 1974 at the age of 26 from taking an overdose of anti-depressants. He wasn't famous while he lived. He is more famous now, in part because of a 1999 VW commercial in which his song "Pink Moon" was featured.

It's not clear whether Drake intended to kill himself or not. But more than any other artist, I have the sense that he was never wholly here to begin with. There is something so hauntingly alone about him. In songs like "From The Morning" and "Northern Sky," this etherealness breathes like sunshine. In other songs, like "Black-Eyed Dog" and "Way to Blue," he is buried so deep inside himself you have to climb back out after listening.

Yet for me, he evades tag words like "brooding" and "tragic" because his lyrics don't succumb to self-pity or despair-for-despair's sake. They're honest and unflinching, not manipulative.

I love the guy. I love his sexless fragility inside the iron-rod conviction of his lyrics and guitar licks. Hearing his music gives me the same feeling as reading Keats does. I probably reach for him more than any other singer/songwriter, especially in the winter.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.


the walking man said...

We all have one person in us that speaks to us over time and wonder. I am happy you know yours Sarah.

strugglingwriter said...

"I hope your ocean
will find its shore,poor boy"

I love this line.

I wasn't aware of his work, so I'll have to follow all the links you posted.


Charles Gramlich said...

"A river man and his black eyed dog." That is worth a story there. Very evocative.

Sarah Hina said...

Mark, me too. Thank you.

Paul, I hope you do. I've been listening to his music a lot lately, and felt sort of stymied yesterday, so I thought I'd fall back on his words.

Charles, I think "black eyed dog" might have been how Churchill described his attacks of depression. Incredibly evocative, no doubt.

Vesper said...

Oh, Sarah... I have to find a 'good' moment when to listen to his songs, I'm afraid of the beauty and mostly of the sadness. Yes, his poetry reaches deep inside us just as his interrupted youth. Thank you for letting me discover him.

Sarah Hina said...

I hope you like him, Vesper. Some of his songs are sad, but others are as light as a breeze. He doesn't depress me so much as make me feel connected to something that's larger than myself.

I just felt compelled, somehow, to share his music with souls like yourself who'd appreciate it.

Aniket Thakkar said...

Listening to his songs now. I'd not heard of him before.

A good line I read on Quora today, that is fitting here -

"Each person is a universe, and we barely get a glimpse of it. Unless, we get a chance to really know him." ~Alia

We'd probably never know what went on in his mind. We can surely take joy in what he left behind though.

As with everything else you endorse, I'm loving his songs.

May everyone should share their fav. playlist in Jenny's next party. :)

Sarah Hina said...

Seriously? I'm really happy you're liking his songs. It makes my little experiment worth it.

Aniket Thakkar said...

I listened to all that were on youtube.

But they were playing in the background while I was working, so I didn't listen to the lyrics all that much. Will listen more closely when I'm not working.

They are good songs to listen as you code though. Every song has an easy going melody, and doesn't have any harsh jarring fluctuations.