Lyrics for The Mermaid

by Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel

LYRICS FOR The Mermaid

“Some people feel their loneliness more than others. They seem to be anchored in an undertow which repels anything vaguely familiar so that their only contact is with the unpredictable and the unexpected. When they come into contact with these things, they are hurled like sparks from a volcano. The emptier and lonelier they feel the greater the possibility that they will disintegrate instantly or attain fulfillment and find their determination and yes even happiness.

I’d like to tell you about this so that you can shoulder the burden when the days seem dark and unbearable and when the minutes last forever. Close your eyes and follow me.

In the beginning all was everything and everything was all. Everything was together in its entirety and was still one. Everything was permeated with itself and all was connected to the whole. Everything had endless ways of transforming itself. Everything was free in form, colour and being.

Mountains spat out fire, a fire that was so strong and bright straight from the heart of hot earth, where even today everything glows red. It was sheer bliss watching these flames. They had their own driving force. They looked around and on discovering water, they were irresistibly drawn towards it diving into it and sinking. The flames were not extinguished because the elements had not yet begun to fight with each other. There was no such thing as winner or loser.
These flames merged with the water and from this union were born the various kinds of mermaids, sea- nymphs, sirens and other water-life; their parents were Fire and Water. I would like to tell you about one particular member of the mermaid kind.
Her childhood resembled a wild entangled chain of pearls with knots made of dreams, images, and fantasy. Lying on her favorite seashell daydreaming, she let these pearls slip through her fingers. Was what she saw as her eyes twinkled in the light reality or was it a dream or was it some intimate dance of the two? The tide of symphonic existence pulsed through her and flooded her with contentment She even had a friend. The Dolphin. He sought her company. She sought his. It was wonderful.
Because of this friendship, she was never really taken seriously by the other mermaids and sea-nymphs. She did not belong to them. One day she noticed something especially strange going on. There was a lot of whispering and there were meaningful glances, and now and then she caught the sound of the word “leg? She observed how a sea nymph tore herself away from the crowd and swam towards the seawitch’s cave.
Burning with curiosity the mermaid followed her She swam for miles but suddenly the sea nymph had disappeared and all she could hear was the sound of her voice pleading: “please give me legs, oh please!” The answer was strange for it seemed to come from within the mermaid herself saying.
“If I do, then every step will cause you pain. You will be struck speechless and within the year will have to marry.”

All this was much too much for our little mermaid. She did not understand. Everything grew dark in front of her eyes and she floated through the currents like a drifting piece of seaweed. She had disappeared for quite some time and no one could have been happier than the Dolphin when he finally found her. He poked and nudged her until she smiled again and soon they were swimming together in familiar waters. He noticed she had changed He sensed she was keeping a secret but he felt sure that one day she would confide in him for there was no one else she could turn to and above all he was her friend. But that was exactly the trouble. She dreaded getting him involved and instead she went first to an elderly sea-nymph who she knew only by sight As casually as she could she asked as if in passing: “Hello, um, by the way, aahh, what is legs?” The sea-nymph who was busy sorting out her shell necklaces for the next festivities turned abruptly around. Her eyes grew as round as saucers and her brow developed a hard”