Folkklassieker du jour: Real Death

Phil Elverum schreef het album A Crow Looked At Me nadat zijn vrouw, Geneviève Castrée, op 36-jarige leeftijd overleed aan alvleesklierkanker. Elverum bleef achter met een dochter die nog slechts een paar maanden oud was. Het album is geen poging enige ‘zin’ te geven aan haar dood: in het aangezicht van de dood is ook kunst betekenisloos. Swallowed into a silence that is bottomless and real.

Elverum in een interview:

Profound thoughts and profound experiences get revealed to be tricks that we play on ourselves, and poetry gets revealed to be just, like, some dumb words that somebody put in an interesting order. All the books on my shelves, when I would go to them to look for help with my anguish, they all just seemed so crass. They didn’t get it. Those books don’t understand. Nobody understands. [Laughs.] The universe, nobody understands my agony, or my questioning, and it’s this shift in what in the world around us could possibly be meaningful or helpful. It’s like a closing-down of openness. I became less receptive to help and inspiration.

[Verse 1]
Death is real
Someone’s there and then they’re not
And it’s not for singing about
It’s not for making into art
When real death enters the house, all poetry is dumb
When I walk into the room where you were
And look into the emptiness instead
All fails

My knees fail
My brain fails
Words fail

[Verse 2]
Crusted with tears, catatonic and raw
I go downstairs and outside and you still get mail
A week after you died a package with your name on it came
And inside was a gift for our daughter you had ordered in secret
And, collapsed there on the front steps, I wailed
A backpack for when she goes to school a couple years from now
You were thinking ahead to a future you must have known deep down would not include you
Though you clawed at the cliff you were sliding down
Being swallowed into a silence that is bottomless and real

It’s dumb
And I don’t want to learn anything from this
I love you