Sleeve Notes and Footnotes is a little book of my lyrics available only from my website. It focuses on those songs up to 2013 of which I am most proud. For some of them I have written some sleeve notes, for me a much missed format that more or less disappeared with the demise of the LP. This is one of them introducing my song - recorded on the Songsmith album - Walking the Wall
Just some time ago, I walked most of Hadrian’s Wall, the boundary that marked to the Roman mind, the edge between civilisation and order and the chaotic and barbarian – the wilderness, the wildness. With a raggle taggle group of companions the aim was to walk from gig to gig playing at the inns along the way such as the Twice Brewed, the Swan and the Angel. We started at the Ireby festival up amongst the green hills still tonsured with snow. The first couple of days were fine as we headed off though the lowlands alongside the well-named river Eden.
Later and higher it got greyer and colder up to the Sycamore Gap running parallel to the military road, to where the wall stands proudest and the going counts. This feels like the frontier still, you look south glimpse the reassuring sight of the road, an occasional slow moving vehicle, a cluster of dwellings. You look north, literally over the wall and there is a sense of yes; emptiness, mystery, threat perhaps but also potential, possibility, rough enticement.
You can live your life like this, walking the wall, between the two.
Walking the wall
Who am I, I ask myself, who am I to mourn
The words unrhymed, the notes unsigned
And from the pages torn?
The Vagabond of circumstance,
Still writing in the clouds,
A lonely man on the horizon's edge
Who talks to himself out loud
I look in the mirror
Remembering when I spoke so true
When through the arc of a summer’s day
I caught a glimpse of you.
There’s a hundred perfect reasons
To take the road again,
It’s just none of them make any sense,
When I picture you back then.
All my life, I’ve been walking the wall,
Been so afraid, I was going to fall,
I’ve been waiting for the sun to rise,
The shadows in my heart keep calling,
Slipping out from this compromise
All my life, walking the wall
All my life, walking the wall.
© Steve Carter 2013 to listen to Walking The Wall click here