Thorns

by Unwoman

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I forced myself (with some encouragement from folks on Twitter) to finish this song a week ago after many chunks of it had been kicking around in my mind for a while.

Fake history lesson:

There once was a queen in a peaceful land. Widowed and childless, paranoid about losing power, she focuses on defenses against invisible hordes, which conveniently means letting roses grow wild all around the castle. She ignores the starvation of her staff, who eventually flee. The villagers rule themselves and only a few still send tribute. She has one withered old companion who has stayed out of pity. He devotes himself to fashioning adornments for her out of roses but is constantly pricking himself. The people in the village eventually forget her and she dies alone enthroned and ensconced and wrapped in dried roses. The old companion lives to be like 200, eventually dies too while piling more and more flowers atop her desiccated corpse.

lyrics

All around the castle the queen once sent men
To dig up the vines that choke and starve the garden
But the prickliest hedges yield the sweetest scent
So she decreed the roses were her protection

“I have every right to be here
And this place is mine alone
If you leave me the gods will keep and feed me:
I will stay on my throne”

Cold and forgotten she remains with just one
Pity or loyalty, or a twisted kind of love
Impassable hedges enclose mossy stone
And rise over towers and block out the sun

Now she declares all the roses were made just for this:
Pick them and strip them, adorn her for worship

Let the thorns grow for the promise of a rose
But roses grew thorns so we wouldn’t disturb the flowers
Command all you want beasts men and gods
Green growing things obey only their own laws

(And the pretty ones get to keep their thorns
But the prickly ones have beauty all their own)

“I have every right to be here
And this place is mine alone
If you leave me the gods will keep and feed me:
I will stay on my throne”

“Oh curse this broken ground
bones and thorns and dust
who will dig them out —
the histories of us?”

credits

released August 24, 2020

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Unwoman San Francisco

Unwoman is a San Francisco-based cellist-singer-songwriter. Layered with skillful cello, rich vocals, and electronically arranged beats, her solo music is a futuristic homage to her classical training. Unwoman has been featured at steampunk, goth, and sci-fi-related events all over North America and has performed with Abney Park, Rasputina, Voltaire, Amanda Palmer, Stripmall Architecture... ... more

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