Songs:
-- False River --
San Francisco - 24 August 2016


Found on:

Bone On Bone (2017)
Lyrics:

on the coastline
where the trees shine
in the unexpected rain
there's the carcass
of a tanker
in the centre of a stain
and the waves of
dead sea things
slide slick on to the stones
and the flux
thicker than water
from the planet's pierced bones

in a jeweler's
armoured window
you can just cast your eyes on
a diamond-crusted
pendant
in the shape of Bart Simpson
through mirrored
cops in armour
and the drift of gas clouds
drones the
size of horseflies
scrutinizing the crowds
and the horsemen
on a high ridge
they wheel and they ride
their work all
done for them
by the turgid black tide

false river, dark flow
how far do we have to go?
torrent tumbles to the sea
this ain't the way it's supposed to be
false river

life blood
of the land
consort of our earth
pulse to the
pull of moonrise
can you tally what it's worth?
we can spend it
till we end it
while the heat climbs up the graph
till we're panting
like a salmon
with its gill hooked on a gaff
and the dark blood
keeps flowing
like a hemorrhage from the womb
that birthed us
gave us substance
on our own heads be our doom

false river, dark flow
how far do we have to go?
torrent tumbles to the sea
this ain't the way it's supposed to be
false river




Musicians
Bruce Cockburn - Guitar, Harmonica and Vocal
Roberto Occhipinti - Upright Bass
Gary Craig - Drums & Percussion
John Aaron Cockburn - Accordian
Colin Linden - Electric Guitar
Brandon Robert Young & The San Francisco Lighthouse Chorus - Vocals



  • From the Bone On Bone press release:

    The environmental warning "False River” came about at the invitation of Yvonne Bloomer, the poet laureate of Victoria, British Columbia. Bloomer was seeking a poem about the controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline. "Pipelines have their own perils that we’re all aware of,” says Cockburn, "so I started writing what was meant to be a spoken-word piece with a rhythm to it. But it evolved very quickly into a song.”



    Editors Note:

    This song is included in the book Refugium Poems for the Pacific which was compiled by Yvonne Bloomer.




    Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:


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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.