-- The Rose Above The Sky --
August 1979. Ottawa.

Found on:

Humans (1980)

Rumours of Glory (1985) [compilation album]

Something jewelled slips away
Round the next bend with a splash
Laughing at the hands I hold out
Only air within their grasp
All you can do is praise the razor
For the fineness of the slash

'Til the Rose above the sky
And the light behind the sun
Takes all

Gutless arrogance and rage
Burn apart the best of tries
You carry the weight of inherited sorrow
From your first day till you die
Toward that hilltop where the road
Forever becomes one with the sky

'Til the Rose above the sky
And the light behind the sun
Takes all

Ozone on the midnight wind
Got me thinking of the sea
And the mercies of the currents that brought
Me to you and you to me
And in the silence at the heart of things
Where all true meetings come to be

I see the Rose above the sky
And the light behind the sun
Takes all

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

  • Circa 1981 - Commenting on the background of the songs on Humans:
    "It's been a heavy year personally. I was on tour in Italy and Japan and Canada, and travelling like that is always very intense. On top of that, my wife and I separated. Two of the songs, How I Spent My Fall Vacation and Tokyo, are basically impressions of my travels. Three songs - You Get Bigger as You Go, What About the Bond and Fascist Architecture - deal specifically with the separation. But I think enough people go through stuff like that, so the songs have a fairly universal application. The whole album deals with a lot of pain and death - a lot of the ugliness that I've encountered around me. But I hope it comes across that even in the face of it, there's still ground for hope. Songs like Rumours of Glory and The Rose Above the Sky are about moving from downness into something that opens up, although what that something is is not really spelled out."

    [....he continues, later in the interview....]

    "A lot of the songs on Humans came out of my realization that I needed other people," he says, smiling. "I've always been a loner and kept a distance between myself and even those I've regarded as friends. But all of a sudden when I was getting kicked around and battered, all these people were right there - they came through in a way I never would have expected."

    -- from "Bruce Cockburn's Quiet Optimism", High Fidelity, 1981, by Stephen Holden.

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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.