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Me Myself

The Sword and the Pen

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Don't let me out of this kiss

Don't let me say what I say

The things that scare us today

what if they happen someday

Don't let me out of your arms

For now

What if the sword kills the pen

What if the god kills the man

And if he does it with love

Well then it's death from above

And death from above is still a death

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live

I don't want to live

Without you

For those who still can recall

The desperate colors of fall

The sweet caresses of May

Only in poems remain

No one recites them these days

For the shame

So what if nothing is safe

So what if no one is saved

No matter how sweet

No matter how brave

What if each to his own lonely grave

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live

I don't want to live

Without you

I only recently listened to "Sword & Pen" for the first time, and I was caught off guard. "Far" has rounded out to be Spektor's most critical (and ambitious) album to date, especially with the non-album tracks taken into consideration.

I believe that "Sword & Pen" must be related to "Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori." Both songs use the symbolism of the kiss to represent contact with God and deal with the problems of religious faith.

In "Dulce Et Decorum": "You can't spend your whole life waiting for God to kiss you back"

In "Sword & Pen": "Don't let me out of this kiss...I don't want to live without you."

Both songs are about religious faith. "Dulce Et Decorum" is rugged and pragmatic, suggesting that one should not wait for a mighty hand to come out of the clouds and make life bearable--life will always be difficult. This centers around the homage to Wilfred Owen ("Dulce Et Decorum Est"), a poet who criticized the martial-patriotic spirit in the face of the carnage of WWI.

"Sword & Pen," on the other hand, poses the question what if the sword finally defeats the pen?

"The things that scare us today,

what if they happen some day?"

What if the divine interruption is death? And then, the most poignant lines of the song:

"and if He does it with love

well then it's death from above

and death from above is still a death"

That is, though we reconcile the death of people with some background of spiritual order or justice, it is still death--by nature the worst thing in the world.

However, life and all the possibilities we can imagine are terrifying:

"What if nothing is safe,

What if no one is saved,

no matter how sweet,

no matter how brave?"

So humanity is always compelled to religious faith--how else to make light of these things and avoid despair and loneliness? The chorus "I don't want to live without you" alternates with the increasingly bleak "what if?" scenarios. Is "Dulce Et Decorum" an answer to "Sword & Pen," or are there more complications than are apparent to the insipid conclusion that "it's hard to live"?

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Don't let me out of this kiss

Don't let me say what I say

The things that scare us today

what if they happen someday

Don't let me out of your arms

For now

What if the sword kills the pen

What if the god kills the man

And if he does it with love

Well then it's death from above

And death from above is still a death

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live

I don't want to live

Without you

For those who still can recall

The desperate colors of fall

The sweet caresses of May

Only in poems remain

No one recites them these days

For the shame

So what if nothing is safe

So what if no one is saved

No matter how sweet

No matter how brave

What if each to his own lonely grave

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live

I don't want to live

Without you

I only recently listened to "Sword & Pen" for the first time, and I was caught off guard. "Far" has rounded out to be Spektor's most critical (and ambitious) album to date, especially with the non-album tracks taken into consideration.

I believe that "Sword & Pen" must be related to "Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori." Both songs use the symbolism of the kiss to represent contact with God and deal with the problems of religious faith.

In "Dulce Et Decorum": "You can't spend your whole life waiting for God to kiss you back"

In "Sword & Pen": "Don't let me out of this kiss...I don't want to live without you."

Both songs are about religious faith. "Dulce Et Decorum" is rugged and pragmatic, suggesting that one should not wait for a mighty hand to come out of the clouds and make life bearable--life will always be difficult. This centers around the homage to Wilfred Owen ("Dulce Et Decorum Est"), a poet who criticized the martial-patriotic spirit in the face of the carnage of WWI.

"Sword & Pen," on the other hand, poses the question what if the sword finally defeats the pen?

"The things that scare us today,

what if they happen some day?"

What if the divine interruption is death? And then, the most poignant lines of the song:

"and if He does it with love

well then it's death from above

and death from above is still a death"

That is, though we reconcile the death of people with some background of spiritual order or justice, it is still death--by nature the worst thing in the world.

However, life and all the possibilities we can imagine are terrifying:

"What if nothing is safe,

What if no one is saved,

no matter how sweet,

no matter how brave?"

So humanity is always compelled to religious faith--how else to make light of these things and avoid despair and loneliness? The chorus "I don't want to live without you" alternates with the increasingly bleak "what if?" scenarios. Is "Dulce Et Decorum" an answer to "Sword & Pen," or are there more complications than are apparent to the insipid conclusion that "it's hard to live"?

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quote:
Originally posted by Me Myself:

I only recently listened to "Sword & Pen" for the first time, and I was caught off guard. "Far" has rounded out to be Spektor's most critical (and ambitious) album to date, especially with the non-album tracks taken into consideration.

I believe that "Sword & Pen" must be related to "Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori." Both songs use the symbolism of the kiss to represent contact with God and deal with the problems of religious faith.

In "Dulce Et Decorum": "You can't spend your whole life waiting for God to kiss you back"

In "Sword & Pen": "Don't let me out of this kiss...I don't want to live without you."

Both songs are about religious faith. "Dulce Et Decorum" is rugged and pragmatic, suggesting that one should not wait for a mighty hand to come out of the clouds and make life bearable--life will always be difficult. This centers around the homage to Wilfred Owen ("Dulce Et Decorum Est"), a poet who criticized the martial-patriotic spirit in the face of the carnage of WWI.

"Sword & Pen," on the other hand, poses the question what if the sword finally defeats the pen?

"The things that scare us today,

what if they happen some day?"

What if the divine interruption is death? And then, the most poignant lines of the song:

"and if He does it with love

well then it's death from above

and death from above is still a death"

That is, though we reconcile the death of people with some background of spiritual order or justice, it is still death--by nature the worst thing in the world.

However, life and all the possibilities we can imagine are terrifying:

"What if nothing is safe,

What if no one is saved,

no matter how sweet,

no matter how brave?"

So humanity is always compelled to religious faith--how else to make light of these things and avoid despair and loneliness? The chorus "I don't want to live without you" alternates with the increasingly bleak "what if?" scenarios. Is "Dulce Et Decorum" an answer to "Sword & Pen," or are there more complications than are apparent to the insipid conclusion that "it's hard to live"?

wooow! such a good post!!! Really clever!

I was having trouble with connecting the "don't let me out of this kiss" and "I don't wanna live without you" -parts with the rest of the song. But if you consider Dulce it makes sense again... I need to listen some more. I love it when you discover possible "pairs" of songs.

I think "the kiss" is the way the narrators life is for the moment. It's good. all is going well. But yet she is worried something will happen and destroy the peace and happiness "she" is experiencing now. "don't let me say what I say" implies that she is a bit pessimistic and worries and can't live in the present as much as she would like to.

but do you think the "I don't wanna live without 'you'"-you is God? or life? or faith?

I always thought it was a real person. That was supposed to shelter her. But now I'm thinking it's Hope.

...?

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quote:
Originally posted by sweetness in my lungs:

I love it when you discover possible "pairs" of songs.

I agree; when you have a body of lyrics as diverse as Spektor's, understanding the uniting themes that the artist returns to (assuming they exist) can be difficult.

quote:

I think "the kiss" is the way the narrators life is for the moment. It's good. all is going well. But yet she is worried something will happen and destroy the peace and happiness "she" is experiencing now. "don't let me say what I say" implies that she is a bit pessimistic and worries and can't live in the present as much as she would like to.

but do you think the "I don't wanna live without 'you'"-you is God? or life? or faith?

I always thought it was a real person. That was supposed to shelter her. But now I'm thinking it's Hope.

...?

That's a very good question. I was taking the cue from "Dulce Et Decorum" which specifically deals with God, and also from the new album's heavy focus on God and religious faith. However, the song could deal with something as general as hope--indeed, it makes sense in context. And hope would be included in the notion of continual reliance on God--the question, then, is whether or not you think there is enough evidence for taking it in the more narrow sense of hope in God.

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brilliant! hats off to you!

i always assumed this was sung to a lover. the narrarator, as you said, is a bit pessimistic, or at least prone to worry. This song is her pleading to her partner not to leave her to her own POV and mind, because it questions everything that comforts her (haha, sounds like Dulce-brilliant connection!)

the only thing that makes me think that this is likely not directed at God is the, "and if /he/ does it with love, well then it's death from above"... "you do it for love" fits the rhythm of the line just as well, but she said "he", so it's safe to assume that was addressing another person.

again, that was a well-thought out interpretation. good job!

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Its a great song, I think reginaoverdose is big on this song.

The far bonus tracks, especially Riot Gear. Are superb! I would say are better than BTH's.

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quote:
Originally posted by Be like the water,

the only thing that makes me think that this is likely not directed at God is the, "and if /he/ does it with love, well then it's death from above"... "you do it for love" fits the rhythm of the line just as well, but she said "he", so it's safe to assume that was addressing another person.

But I think it's God in that sentence! "what if God kills the man? And if he does it with love, well then it's death from above..."

cuz that's something I've been questioning myself. In the old testament God keeps on killing people imo. just because they're "heathens". And it doesn't fit with my view of god as being loving and giving. so I think the narrator is questioning the contradictions in that matter. Ok, he does it with love cuz he was on the jews' side but hey it's still persons who died.

Maybe this questions the narrators view of and faith in God. She keeps clinging onto it anyways based on "I don't wanna live without you", so to Me Myself: I think it could be "hope in God" and not just hope.

The song is filled with anxiety and doubt to me, when listening to it.

so, briana, the thing that makes you think it's not addressed to God is the main thing why I think it could be :P

strange.

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so you think that the rest of the song is directed at god (i don't wanna live without you), but that line is directed at a third person about god? not sure i understand your post (i'm not running on much sleep here, sorry!)

i agree: faith in god fits quite well with the tone of the song, and even the album

i think, though, that the "death from above", since it's done with love, is actually the death of people who follow god, not the "heathens"... i think the narrarator is questioning the deaths of "good people" in general; if there's a god, and someone has done nothing to "deserve" to die, why does he choose to take their life?

P.S. abt the old-testament killings: the problem was that they were against god's people, and therefore god himself. they would absolutely not turn away from this, and that's why they were killed. That's not unloving; if those who have placed their lives into your hands are threatened by an enemy that will fight to the death, what else are you to do?

the preferreable option there would be for the heathens to follow god's law. but that wasn't happening...

anyhoo, that's just my two cents. not really what we're discussing here!

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quote:
Originally posted by Be like the water, people.:

so you think that the rest of the song is directed at god (i don't wanna live without you), but that line is directed at a third person about god? not sure i understand your post (i'm not running on much sleep here, sorry!)

addressed to me? I think the line is about God...?

quote:
P.S. abt the old-testament killings: the problem was that they were against god's people, and therefore god himself. they would absolutely not turn away from this, and that's why they were killed. That's not unloving; if those who have placed their lives into your hands are threatened by an enemy that will fight to the death, what else are you to do?

the preferreable option there would be for the heathens to follow god's law. but that wasn't happening...

anyhoo, that's just my two cents. not really what we're discussing here!

ooooh. this could really get me going right now... it won't fit in this thread. arrgh. what to do what to do...? hm. I'll post a shortie Smiler

that's not unloving?

Not to god's people, but to the others! I mean...if God created all humans, and love every single one of them unconditionally... then how can he decide to kill some of them and favor just one people? sometimes I feel like it doesn't fit with the picture of god from the new testament. that's all. and if I was as talented as reg I would probably put some of those thoughts into a song Smiler

since god is almighty, I don't know, he could create a wall that the enemy couldn't climb or make the jews invisible or something... idk. killing just seems unnecessary.

so that's why I thought of this when I first heard The Sword and The Pen.

(see how I wrapped it up there in the end? Wink on-topic. yey!)

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quote:
Originally posted by Brady:

Its a great song, I think reginaoverdose is big on this song.

CORRECT! Smiler

There is some really good convo going on about this. I have recently looked passed the beauty of the song and tune and tried to look at its meaning. I've dont really ever thoroughly decode Regina's songs but I felt this one speak to me.

****I think for me it is a simple story of true love that is about to be taken away by a terminal disease.*****

Don't let me out of this kiss

(She doesn't want to ever let him go. When will his last day be?)

Don't let me say what I say

(She wants to stay positive with her words, hopeful)

The things that scare us today

what if they happen someday

(The ultimate fear of death, the proposed number of days left for the patient)

Don't let me out of your arms

For now

(Doesn't want to leave his embrace. And as "For now" I think right now she believes in the after life and that if he does leave her she will return to his arms one day)

What if the sword kills the pen

What if the god kills the man

And if he does it with love

Well then it's death from above

And death from above is still a death

(Questions are raised about why this death is happening to someone she loves so dearly. Even if God is in control and things happen for a reason, he doesn't deserve it and neither does she. A death is still a death.... sent from God or not)

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live

I don't want to live

Without you

(This is pretty clear)

For those who still can recall

The desperate colors of fall

The sweet caresses of May

Only in poems remain

No one recites them these days

For the shame

(I think this might be after he dies. She can recall how desperate she was for a cure. She remembers the love they had and how she knew that God could never take him away from her and how she put her trust in him and now that he is gone she is ashamed that she was so hopeful and trustful in God.)

So what if nothing is safe

So what if no one is saved

No matter how sweet

No matter how brave

What if each to his own lonely grave

(She is saying to herself in an upset tone, SO WHAT if there isn't a God?! SO WHAT if no one is saved! He was so brave fighting through he illness an their love was so sweet. What if no one can be saved and we all end up in our lonely graves with no hope in an afterlife)

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live without you

I don't want to live

I don't want to live

Without you

(But maybe, just maybe there is hope? maybe if there is an after life she can live with him, in love again. But if not, she doesn't want to live)

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