We're All Leaving

from by Karine Polwart

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Charles Darwin lost his eldest daughter Annie at the age of ten, whilst the two were traveling together in The Malverns. I try to imagine not only the impact of her death upon him as a father, but its resonance for him as a scientist developing the notion of natural selection, and as a thinker questioning the religious mainstream of his times. Thanks to my co-writer Dave Gunning for salvaging the sliver of a duet from which this song emerged and for prodding us into writing by email exchange. Thanks also to both Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton and Shrewsbury Folk Festival for the writing retreats that made this possible. Find out more about The Darwin Song Project (www.darwinsongproject.com)



There is thunder on the skyline
And it tears her breath away
Like the twilight steals the day

A father’s kind hand could not command her
To return to him once more
Like a soldier from the war

We’re all leaving
Even the ones who stay behind
We’re all leaving
in our own time

Each night surrenders to a morning
And beneath the April skies
He can hear an endless cry
On smiling fields there's a battle raging
And for every bloom he knows
Another flower never grows

And he has no Ark to bear him from this flood
Just a broken vessel wrought in flesh and blood
And though the riptides pull him under
He will not cease to wonder
At the beauty
The beauty
The beauty
The beauty

He takes her mother to the church door
And while she prays for what will come
He walks those woods alone

And there he builds his own cathedrals
And on every whirring wing
He can hear the whole world sing


from TRACES, released August 13, 2012
Written by Karine Polwart (Bay Songs Ltd) /Dave Gunning (SOCAN)



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Karine Polwart UK

One of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain" The Guardian

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