SONG: The Waves Around the Women


“The Waves Around the Women.” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on “Scientists have discovered nature’s newest strongest material“, Washington Post, 18 February 2015,as used in the post “Stronger than spider silk”.

Two things happened that went into this. First, Allison said, “Can we have one about limpet teeth?” I don’t know just how far her tongue was in her cheek about that, but who cares? Limpet teeth are great! They’re as strong as growing things get!

The other thing that happened was I threw my hat into the ring for a Game of Bands thing as a lyricist for what was supposed to be an Asian song. I decided to write a lyric for that in the form of an old Chinese poem called a gushi… a set number of syllables per line (seven), five lines per verse, and each verse subtly changing the semantics of a couple of lines… so that things seemed to build or shrink or grow old or fade while still doing the same kinds of things in the same kind of order. Like life does, you know?

Anyway, writing that was so much fun, I decided to do it again, only with a thing that’s obliquely about limpet teeth. It’s sort of modeled after this very, very old poem, and this one, too, which scholars think were probably based on even older folk songs.

The music is just a shoegazer-ish drone, because that’s what you want when clinging to rocks in the pounding surf, wearing them away with your super-hard teeth.


The waves around the women
The rocks rest under their feet
They shine with a borrowed spark
The beating sun leaves its mark
In darkness, their hardness grows

The waves can’t drown the women
The rocks clinging to their feet
They shine with another’s spark
The gleaming teeth leave their mark
In darkness, their hardness grows

The waves above the women
The rocks give way to their feet
They shine with a diamond’s spark
The steely green carves its mark
In darkness, their hardness grows