Islands 2 of 5 Songs with Meaning 6

Day 2 ‘Islands’ King Crimson – Islands

This is a round robin where people choose 5 meaningful songs posted 1 a day.

It goes like this….

Sue Vincent: music-that-means-something-day-1-leonard-cohen


Sally Cronin: music-that-means-something-challenge-day-1-younger-than-springtime-south-pacific/

who nominated me…  No link necessary. You’re reading it.

Earth, stream and tree encircled by sea
Waves sweep the sand from my island.
My sunsets fade.
Field and glade wait only for rain
Grain after grain love erodes my
High weathered walls which fend off the tide
Cradle the wind
to my island.

Gaunt granite climbs where gulls wheel and glide
Mournfully glide o’er my island.
My dawn bride’s veil, damp and pale,
Dissolves in the sun.
Love’s web is spun – cats prowl, mice run
Wreathe snatch-hand briars where owls know my eyes
Violet skies
Touch my island,
Touch me.

Beneath the wind turned wave
Infinite peace
Islands join hands
‘Neathe heaven’s sea.

Dark harbour quays like fingers of stone
Hungrily reach from my island.
Clutch sailor’s words – pearls and gourds
Are strewn on my shore.
Equal in love, bound in circles.
Earth, stream and tree return to the sea
Waves sweep sand from my island,
from me.


King Crimson – Islands

John Dunn the metaphysical poet said, ‘No man is an island’.

I beg to differ.

We are born alone.

We die alone.

We are islands.

But that does not mean we cannot join hands ‘neath heaven’s sea.

I took my old personal cassette player on every Mediterranean holiday. Year after year I listened to this song and Formentera Lady on endless boat trips. Once I travelled from Ibiza Town Harbour to Formentera, following the long-cold hippie trail. Close your eyes and see with me.

Houses iced in whitewash guard a pale shore-line

Cornered by the cactus and the pine.

Here I wander where sweet sage and strange herbs grow

Down a sun-baked crumpled stony road.


Dusty wheels leaning rusting in the sun;

Snuff brown walls where Spanish lizards run.

Here I’m shadowed by a dragon fig tree’s fan

Ringed by ants and musing over man.


Lamplights glows on old guitars the travellers strum;

Incense children dance to an Indian drum.

Here Odysseus charmed for dark Circe fell,

Still her perfume lingers,

Still her spell.



Lyrics are by Peter Sinfield, who wrote the words to Greg Lake’s ‘I Believe in Father Christmas’They said there’ll be snow at christmas. They said there’ll be peace on earth. Instead it just kept on raining, a veil of tears for the virgin birth.

Music is by Robert Fripp, guitarist extordinaire, who featured on many Peter Gabriel and David Bowie songs.

At the time Fripp and Sinfield’s King Crimson was augmented by the free jazz musicians of the Keith Tippet Group.

‘Islands’ features a restrained Keith Tippet on piano, while its haunting theme is played by Mark Charig on cornet.

Tippet’s freewheeling jazz glissandos are heard to much better effect on Bolero from King Crimson’s Lizard. Here Robin Miller, principal oboist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, on cor anglais (tenor oboe) sandwiches a frenetic burst of free jazz that climaxes with a chilling imperfect cadence from the horns.

Mark Charig on cornet and Nick Evans on trombone complained Fripp confined them to playing only a bar or two at a time; surely making it the most constrained free jazz ever.

The sumptuous Lizard cover reminiscent of illuminated Gospels was created by 19 year old Gini Barris. It took her 3 months to complete.


Tonight I nominate fantasy author Rachael Ritchley.

6 thoughts on “Islands 2 of 5 Songs with Meaning

  1. Reply Sally Cronin Apr 14,2017 9:26 am

    Brilliant Paul.. King Crimson were unlike anything in the charts at the time but I had a boyfriend who took it upon himself to educate me…I was a Rolling Stones rock chic… it obviously played a huge part of your life …

  2. Reply Shehanne Moore Apr 14,2017 12:15 am

    Paul, love your choices. Very original x

  3. Reply Sue Vincent Apr 13,2017 7:37 am

    Good grief, I haven’t heard any King Crimson for years, Paul!I may have to go music shopping 😉

Leave a Reply




%d bloggers like this: