I'm worried about the world lately. I thought about why, and for how long I've had this sad feeling about what we're doing to it. I remember a movie we saw way back in grade school where a kid sends his toy canoe with a little "Indian" dude in it and it floats all through the Great Lakes, called "Paddle to the Sea". It was a mesmerizing little film, with parts that were scary to me as a little guy. And I think I have it conflated with the Keep America Beautiful ad from the same time frame, with an Indian dude in a canoe, and the guy crying at seeing all the pollution.

I often sing a song I call "only one world" at the Skunk open mic that's not recorded or really finished, so it's different every week with improvised parts that are usually pleas to care about our planet and each other. It's sort of a combination of "only four words" and "want need give". It's certainly not my only song in this vein. In fact, the darker, more despondent feeling of this song is on my mind today --perhaps because of the POTUS pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

This goes back to early May 1986, when I was living for 6 months in London, as I've written about a few times before. I wrote on the page perpendicular to the lyrics a maxim from somewhere that echoes in my "only one world" wailing: "if you think there's nothing you can do, you're wrong. Caring for the planet is the very first step and caring for each other is the next".

Recorded in Cranbury Road Studios, London, UK on 2 May 1986. Started with electric guitar with a 222ms delay, then an overdub of swelling electric guitars with a 444ms delay, then a live mic on chimes and chopsticks with 222ms echoes, then pan pipes with a 222ms delay, and finally the vocals with a long 888ms echo. Released on the album noodle stranger.


look at what a mess
we made of our Mother
there's no place to escape to
no protective cover
let's regain some control
stop the violent spiral
to change the world
change the way
you see the world inside you

there was a time
when that river was clean
you could kneel on the bank
cup your hands
without any fear 
    of poison
        in the water
    poison everywhere

there was a time
when the air was pure
you could breathe in deep
fill your lungs
without any fear
    of poison
        in the water
    poison everywhere

words and music by Andy Wyatt on 2 May 1986
©1986 by The Andy Band
posted on 2017.06.01

download: poison.mp3