Pete Atkin sings
History and Geography

by Clive James and Pete Atkin,
from The Lakeside Sessions, Vol.1

[Much more at]


The history and geography
          of feeling less than wonderful is known to me
The dates of broken bubbles
          and the whereabouts of every lost belief
And from the Point of Tears I see
          how far away across the Sea of Troubles
The Pinnacles of Happiness
          are halfway hidden in the Clouds of Grief.

My common sense can tell me
          all it likes to count myself among the lucky
For pity's sake to draw a breath
          and take a look around me and compare
But all I seem to see and hear
          is something I'm unable to remember
The flowing speech that stuttered out,
          the pretty song that faded on the air.

When the jet returns me half awake
          and half asleep to what I call my homeland
I look down into the midnight city
          through the empty inkwell of the sky
And in that kit of instruments
          laid out across a velvet-covered table
I know that nothing lives which doesn't
          hold its place more worthily than I.

Without a home, without a name,
          a girl of whom to say 'this is my sister'
For I am all the daughters
          of my father's house and all the brothers too
I comb the rubble of a shattered world
          to find the bright face of an angel
And say again and say again
          that I have written this - this is for you.

The history and geography
          of feeling less than wonderful is known to me
When sunsets are unlovely
          and the dawns are coldly calculated light
And from the Heights of Arrogance
          across the steps that later I regretted
I see those angel faces
          flame their last and flicker out into the night.