Sarah Bronagh’s River Song

What follows is a reaction from a fictional teen girl. It is a song, or the lyrics to one, composed by Sarah Bronagh.

These are her heart’s first, raw reactions to a track by the name of River, which, as of mid-June 2017, is celebrating a milestone of 10,000,000+ views on the official Bishop Briggs Vevo Channel.

In celebration of the continuing success of River, I’ve revisited Sarah Bronagh’s original response in October 2016.

Sarah’s lyrics are polished somewhat better now, refined by Sarah in her mind, worked and reworked, strumming and thumping at a battered six-string acoustic she plays in the haymow.

Sarah’s motto remains a simple one, and she retains her full faith in it:

For Love is My Armor.

Art is all. Hearing is believing.

For a young girl in the Midwest, stuck in a nowhere small town plagued by dust, drought, and derivative works, the sound of a River belted-out by a rising star shaped and spurred young Sarah as she sought her voice—even when she was alone, cherished friends lived in her ears.

Sarah’s reply is one of like kind, not of equal quality. She had endurance, grit, and drive… but for now, she remains quite green.

I’ve transcribed what she sang to me—or at least, I did as best I could.

Sarah Bronagh’s River Song

Don’t mind, don’t mind me—and, good morning,
I’m only warming at my edges,
Heating my heart
On a soaking stone while
Reptiles reach their basking rock ledges,
Eating the sun. 
Banished, darkness moans.

I have to cough the night out
Of my throat,
Spit-out the worst
Of the lingering beings,
       Refuse to breathe
The dark was full of choking, cedar smoke.
       Refuse to see
I’ll scream louder than the lark sings (soon)
       I refuse to be
Singing softly in the deeps of the hedges;
Pour out the pot, love—it will scald
Our last good night.
Help me find my voice
With your fingers.
Fumble through this ring
Of broken keys;
I’m into tuning, I’m piping
Hot as yoga now, and…

I’m setting fire to the light.
I’m setting fire, sitting fire,
I’m sitting by the fire,
I’m setting the seeing higher:
Later than the sun’s first
Last light.

I don’t mind; don’t mind me, love;
I’ve let-off my mourning,
You can find me here later;
Always hunting with your compound
String. You can find me later;
I’ll hide in the shapeless night
That hides from nothing: I’ll wear
Darkness but still I will burn
Twice as bright by night as I flame
By day, because darkness quails
And hushes nothing;
Darkness swells
All the quiet sounds
Yet darkness calls me.

This sad song is made only
From the easiest notes;
Before dawn I’m just
Another blackbird, bright beak
Tuning-up and straining black wings.
Sore and trembling, our throats ripple
With sound like swords:
Sing fast and leaner at
Light’s commanding word!

Jars of flaming color break
Plumage overhead,
And with my colors back,
Our voices go their ways;
Some in the hedge sing about heartlands
Or lost loves, the dead, and some sing
Of cracked hearts; some cry
For tomorrow’s yesterdays.

But don’t you mind—don’t find me, good morning!
I’m only warning about my edges,
I have to eat, I have to
Feed; I want to love you, but my needs eat
Through the holes in the dark sky’s soft
Light. With the sun gone, the stars
Are stabbing at the night, stabbing in the
Night, their knives gleaming
With what’s left of my life.

[ Fiction can, naturally, skimp on accompaniment, general rhythm and meter, and while Sarah would never cheat, I would, will, and have. As her present secretary, I am not above any given shortcut. ]

Tell me off here! @wsbradford

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W. Sheridan Bradford writes horror (All Hallows, The Buzzkill) the old west (Rimfires, Sevenfold), contemporary western fiction (Born Again), science fiction (The Wreck of the Molon Labe), and is the author of numerous short stories and poems. Usually found in: Colorado, New Mexico, or Texas.

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