Thursday, July 16, 2009

Poem of the Day: "Ring on the Sill"

Sometimes it's that 1,001st listen that stands out and makes you really listen to a song, and so it is with "Ring on the Sill" for me, a Cowboy Junkies song that dates to 1993, one that I've loved without quite hearing for almost as long.

There are at least two kinds of ring in this poem -- the ring on a finger and the ring left by a glass -- but there are other small pairings, or unities, in the poem: smell, taste/tongue, breath/inhale, caress/brushes, neglected things, and more. These unities sharpen the tension between love and fear that dominates the wordless yet vivid scene.

Michael Timmins, "Ring on the Sill"

She placed her ring on the sill,
Dishes piled high.
She's on the front porch step
And the air smells like snow.
She's thinking of the siege to come
And how she'll miss those weekends
In the park with the sun on her face
And her book by her side and that
Lingering taste that he left on her tongue.

He lifts his glass from the table
It leaves a ring where it stood.
He sees the light from the window
Caress her like he knows he should.
He's remembering the first time he kissed her
And how he'd wake
And immediately he'd miss her,
Like a spell, with each breath,
He'd taste her breath like a haunting,
Irritating as hell.

Do you remember when you'd pray
To never see the day
When someone would make you feel this way.
'Cause you knew
They would cut right through you
And once inside, you were afraid they'd find
Nothing to hold on to.

He puts her ring on her finger,
She brushes back his hair.
He takes a sip from his glass,
She inhales the cold fall air.
And they're thinking of the long road ahead
And the strength that they will need
Just to reach the end.
And there in the silence they search for
The balance between this fear that they feel
And a love that has graced their lives.

Here's a video for the song that can't possibly be official -- I'll give it "evocative" since I'm feeling generous, but the point anyway is to listen:

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