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Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)

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harpmolly 29 Sep 06 - 03:14 PM
harpmolly 29 Sep 06 - 03:58 PM
Joe Offer 30 Sep 06 - 01:45 AM
harpmolly 30 Sep 06 - 02:55 AM
GUEST 23 Jul 12 - 06:13 PM
GUEST 12 Feb 13 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Backwoodsmman 13 Feb 13 - 02:02 AM
GUEST 22 Jul 14 - 12:54 PM
GUEST 22 Jul 14 - 01:33 PM
bubblyrat 23 Jul 14 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,will keyworth 06 Nov 14 - 08:45 PM
GUEST,Templar 26 Jul 16 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Harmani 14 Mar 18 - 02:04 PM
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Subject: Folklore: On A Sea of Fleur De Lis (Shindell)
From: harpmolly
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:14 PM

Hey all...I did a search for this topic and didn't find anything, so thought I'd take the plunge and start a thread of my very own. ;)

Solas does a rollicking version of it on their excellent "Waiting for an Echo" album. I simply love the imagery, and the melody, but I would like to hear other people's thoughts about the meaning behind it all. Here is a link to the lyrics:

On A Sea of Fleur De Lis


The stream-of-consciousness feel to the lyrics is (to me) what gives the song its impact, but in some ways it also muddies the waters for me a bit. All I know about the song is that it was (he claims) the first song Richard Shindell ever wrote, while he was in seminary to become a Jesuit priest. The "would you change me back to a witch" is supposedly a reference to a version of "Barbara Allen", where the beloved of Barbara Allen is a witch boy who makes a deal with a "conjure man" to turn him human for a year so he can be with her (I'm a little fuzzy on the details). Very "Little Mermaid"-esque (in the Hans Christian Andersen sense, not the Disney sense ;)).

Anyway (focus, girl!) the latter part of the song almost seems to be written from a female perspective. I almost feel as though it's Mary herself (even though the last verse still begins, "I adore Thee, Mother Mary...", because he seems to make reference to the Immaculate Conception. Or perhaps I'm misreading it.

Anyway, I probably shouldn't even try to analyze the song--its surreal beauty is what I love about it. But I just can't help myself. Any takers?

Cheers,

Molly


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Subject: RE: Folklore: On A Sea of Fleur De Lis (Shindell)
From: harpmolly
Date: 29 Sep 06 - 03:58 PM

P.S. Not sure why I categorized this as "Folklore"...

P.P.S. And before anyone says anything, I know "the beloved of Barbara Allen" is sort of backward. But you know what I'm getting at. ;)

M
    Category changed.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: ON A SEA OF FLEUR-DE-LIS (R Shindell)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 01:45 AM

For the sake of discussion, here are the lyrics, from Richard Schindell's Website. I'm not familiar with the song, so I don't have anything in particular to add to the discussion. I believe the Fleur-de-Lis is sometimes used as a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
-Joe Offer-

On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis

(Richard Shindell)
from the album Sparrows Point

I adore thee Mother Mary
But would you change me back to a witch
And let me live in the arms of a sorry old elm
Give the gypsy moths a realm of their own
For a postman's fee would I work for Thee
From that tree would I swoop down and leave
A billion blue eggs of eternity
And in no time you'd have your own See

Don't just stare
I mean it, really
Hear my prayer
I give it freely
Are you there Fleur-de-Lis?

I adore thee Mother Mary
But would you change me back to a witch
And let me live in the arms of willow
And fly around not wearing a stitch
For so long has this room been so hollow
We wait at the gate for an echo
In the flesh of your newly cleaned frescoes
Where Jesus holds John to his breast

Wrapped around
And rocking slowly
No one bound
To be so holy
In your gown of fleur-de-lis

I adore thee Mother Mary
But would you change me back to a witch
As a witch would I love you more than any man
So give a wink, give a nod, but give a damn
Be a sport, Mary, and don't tell Dad
He need never know how He's been had
And never you mind about those seven seals
Daddy was a one shot deal

One, two, three
It could be that easy
There we'd be
I with my baby
On a sea of fleur-de-lis

Do-re-mi
It could be that easy
There we'd be
I with my baby
On a sea of fleur-de-lis


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Subject: RE: On A Sea of Fleur De Lis (Shindell)
From: harpmolly
Date: 30 Sep 06 - 02:55 AM

Thanks, Joe!

In the interview where he talked about writing the song, Shindell said he wasn't actually familiar with the Virgin Mary associations at the time. Quite a coincidence, really...

Also, thanks fo re-categorizing!

Molly


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jul 12 - 06:13 PM

Well, for me this song evokes something so deep and strange and ancient, I do not know what to call it. Solas does a wonderful version on their live "Reunion" CD (2006) with the 4 part harmony on the choruses. The harmony and arrangment add considerably to the mystery for me, avoiding easy chordal and harmonic cliches and using instead various suspensions and ambiguous musical resolutions. It's possible that just the right combination of simple sound spectrum vibrations can evoke tremendously complicated and powerful emotions. Less complicated songs do this all the time, for better or worse and that's leaving aside the odd, magical lyrics.

But what I hear, possibly, is a teenage girl, pregnant or soon to be, ("I, and my baby") praying to a stone statue of Mary, mother of Jesus ("give a wink, give a nod, give a damn", things that statues generally will not do). This teenage girl, though young, also seems wise and wild and seems to be inviting Mary back to her pagan roots in the old Mother Goddess religion. She seems to be inviting Mary to celebrate Mary's original incarnation as a goddess of fertility ("million blue eggs of eternity") and just walk away from the doctrine and delusion of Catholicism, just to walk back home ("it could be so easy") and leave behind the Pope and become goddess of her own church ("You'd have your own See" - i.e., Holy See). Also, to leave behind God the Father ("Daddy was a one shot deal").

Underneath all this analytical stuff, which I admit could be rubbish, there is something else about this song that I can't quite grasp. It's like a window into something utterly strange and utterly familiar at the same time, a lush summer meadow but in late afternoon light, a fleeting world locked up in our imagination, that art like this allows us to see, but circumstance prevents us from inhabiting... or does it?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Feb 13 - 10:15 PM

From http://www.nytimes.com/1998/05/17/nyregion/valhalla-singer-in-joan-baez-tour.html
"Mr. Shindell said he wrote his first song, ''On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis'' -- ''a prayer for creativity,'' he called it -- while studying at the Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan in 1987. ''When I finished it,'' he said, ''I stepped back, and the place where I had ended up was far removed from what I understood about myself or songwriting."

Wish he had elaborated more! This song haunts me...

What I hear in it is someone processing the loss of their faith, and yearning for their pagan roots. I'm probably just projecting though :)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST,Backwoodsmman
Date: 13 Feb 13 - 02:02 AM

How odd! I read an article some time ago in which Richard was quoted as saying that the inspiration for the song was a play, 'Dark of Night' that he was involved in a production of. The play is about a young boy-witch, who enters into a pact to become human so that he can woo a human girl, with tragic results.

It's a beautiful song, which I have in my set-list from time to time. I play in DADGAD, the dissonances of the tuning giving a nice modal, ethereal feel that goes well with the lyrics. Richard does it in DADGAD and, sometimes, DADGBE, I believe.

Richard's website is the place to find his lyrics, which he is kind enough to put up on there. Another alternative is to buy his CDs - he's a professional musician and it's right and proper to at least pay the price of a CD for songs we appropriate, IMHO!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 12:54 PM

Fleur de lis = the beauty, status of mother Mary....
Someone showing their adoration towards her and what she is and what she stands for.

It seems someone of one background, and has been converted, wishes to strike a deal, (in a most reverent and matter of fact way) an idea for Mary, to consider as a plausible prayer to answer (shows that there are so many religions, - why not one of their own), one that would adore mother Mary, and give the one in prayer to her something they are in long mourning over, a lost love, a child, family, friend etc. ...

Daddy was a one-shot deal, meaning the creator, who we named god (the father- daddy) was indeed a one-shot deal, we are created by him and shall always be him, and shall always go to him in any form, so .... The prayer states, that we know not to worry, there is no "seven seals" coming to do us in and flank us out into darkness. We came from love, the song is of love, so we return to love.... So until then mother Mary, let us work in communion with each other, this is my heart's desire, and it is good... Knowing you can never fully return to your 1st belief system, and that your 1st belief system will not give you back your baby (lost your powers of your 1st belief system when you converted), then might as well try what one may with the new belief system to reach your greatest wish/unanswered prayer...savy...???


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jul 14 - 01:33 PM

Think like any innocent or child like minded, you lost your baby(love, friend, child), you cant go back, your magic has been zapped when you came into the new world (in this case, another religion), and since you cant go back, and you can't get what you most want with the new world/way or religion.
then ask, or make a plea to the warm woman-MARY-, who you only know to look to as a soft, mother figure.
You so much want something(like a child would want something), that you are being honest, and pleading to Mary, to work together , and make your own new world, one where she will be sincerely adored and honored, one where you and your baby will be back together...
it is poetry on longing....longing for what you love, longing for a world where you once had what is now gone(a loved one, religion,a happier world you once knew..etc),

You are not tryig to hurt anyone, or use or undermine, you just want back so badly, something that is now goe from you, and you are willing to put whatever work in it takes to get it, and a prayer is sorta lie a wish, where one may try to hope ......


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: bubblyrat
Date: 23 Jul 14 - 09:44 AM

Interestingly, whilst most people say " Fleur-de LEE " , in Heraldic blazon, that is to describe in detail an heraldic acievement of arms, one would pronounce "lis" as LISS . But I expect that you all new that already !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST,will keyworth
Date: 06 Nov 14 - 08:45 PM

this is by far the best explanation i have heard, or the explanation that best fits my take on the meaning of this song.

[quote]Well, for me this song evokes something so deep and strange and ancient, I do not know what to call it. Solas does a wonderful version on their live "Reunion" CD (2006) with the 4 part harmony on the choruses. The harmony and arrangment add considerably to the mystery for me, avoiding easy chordal and harmonic cliches and using instead various suspensions and ambiguous musical resolutions. It's possible that just the right combination of simple sound spectrum vibrations can evoke tremendously complicated and powerful emotions. Less complicated songs do this all the time, for better or worse and that's leaving aside the odd, magical lyrics.

But what I hear, possibly, is a teenage girl, pregnant or soon to be, ("I, and my baby") praying to a stone statue of Mary, mother of Jesus ("give a wink, give a nod, give a damn", things that statues generally will not do). This teenage girl, though young, also seems wise and wild and seems to be inviting Mary back to her pagan roots in the old Mother Goddess religion. She seems to be inviting Mary to celebrate Mary's original incarnation as a goddess of fertility ("million blue eggs of eternity") and just walk away from the doctrine and delusion of Catholicism, just to walk back home ("it could be so easy") and leave behind the Pope and become goddess of her own church ("You'd have your own See" - i.e., Holy See). Also, to leave behind God the Father ("Daddy was a one shot deal").

Underneath all this analytical stuff, which I admit could be rubbish, there is something else about this song that I can't quite grasp. It's like a window into something utterly strange and utterly familiar at the same time, a lush summer meadow but in late afternoon light, a fleeting world locked up in our imagination, that art like this allows us to see, but circumstance prevents us from inhabiting... or does it?[/quote]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST,Templar
Date: 26 Jul 16 - 05:25 PM

The "Fleur-de-lis" is a reference to the theological premiss that is re-visited in aspects of Dan Brown and other writers fairly recent writings which borrow from a theory that Jesus was married, ( requirement for being a "Jewish teacher" at that time ), to Mary M. Mary would have been his wife and a teacher as well, giving her elevated status amongst the other disciples. French history refers to the a line of kings that claim to be descendants of Jesus and Mary as it was thought that the pregnant Mary M. escaped the Holy Land to France after the crucifixion . This is something which was lost to common history but has been around for at least several hundred yrs. Da Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper" clearly shows a woman at the right hand of Christ ( JOHN ), this is in Dan Brown's book and movie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: On a Sea of Fleur-de-Lis (R Shindell)
From: GUEST,Harmani
Date: 14 Mar 18 - 02:04 PM

I feel it is Mary (read Richard) at a "to Cross or not to Cross road"


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