David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 8 Sep 03 09:30
Ripple w: Hunter m: Garcia AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/ripple.html LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/RIPPLE.HTM
Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 8 Sep 03 20:49
Ripple Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Jerry Garcia Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung Would you hear my voice come through the music? Would you hold it near, as it were your own? It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken Perhaps they're better left unsung I don't know, don't really care Let there be songs to fill the air Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow Reach out your hand if your cup be empty If your cup is full may it be again Let it be known there is a fountain That was not made by the hands of man There is a road, no simple highway Between the dawn and the dark of night And if you go, no one may follow That path is for your steps alone Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow You who choose to lead must follow But if you fall, you fall alone If you should stand, then who's to guide you? If I knew the way, I would take you home
Mary Eisenhart (marye) Thu 11 Sep 03 16:16
This is the one that got me on the bus. Due to various factors, not least of which was being stuck in grad school in SoCal during the relevant period, I never heard any of the songs on American Beauty or Workingman's except for the singles that got played on the radio. So I'd never heard the song when I went to my first show, NYE 80/81. This followed shortly after the Warfield run, which I'd been interested in but failed to get tix, and so they played the acoustic set, more or less along the lines of Reckoning, which conveniently came out not much later. From where we were sitting, in the topmost right-hand corner at the back of the Oakland Aud, the spectacle was amazing if you weren't used to it--thousands of people wearing clothes the like of which I hadn't seen in ten years, surging and clapping in time along with Jer's singing in what, then and now, is the most compelling voice I've ever heard, precisely because of its lack of technical perfection, really. Like I say, I didn't know the song. I didn't know, and wasn't entirely comfortable about, the cultlike thing. But I could hear with perfect clarity the line "If I knew the way, i would take you home." Which was the perfect commentary on the whole situation and made me want to know more. And here I am. (Technically, one could say the Human Be-In was my first show, but we got there too late to see the Dead play.)
last fair deal in the country sweet susy (sumarcus) Thu 11 Sep 03 16:46
Ripple is my favorite song. When I was in college, lots of my friends played Ripple on the guitar. Now I play Ripple on the banjo while my buddy plays mandolin. It is very sweet. Ripple is simple harmonically, yet very compelling. It is a psalm. Also, I love any song in the key of G.
Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:24
Yes, Susie, you're right. It is a psalm. It's definitely in my spiritual canon.
porn and whiskey (noah) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:39
My father's favorite GD song as well. He was shocked when I told him who it was singing. he thought the Grateful Dead were a heavy metal band.
Lightning in a Box (unkljohn) Sun 14 Sep 03 08:10
Ripple is one of the most compelling tunes I know. There is a reverence about it that makes it very special. I feel the same way about Attics of My Life. I heard an interview with Weir once, and he said not many people know it but Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow is a haiku. Sure enough, it's 17 syllables.
Steven Solomon (ssol) Sun 14 Sep 03 11:48
That a bunch of young men came up with that ageless tune, quite apart from the tears (in recent years) and joy (always, even in the tears), is the most remarkable thing about it for me. It's also about the only tune I can sing remotely in tune. For this tin-ear, that fact has always caused me wonder. Oh, yeah, Wonder... add that to the tears and joy.
stella blue (artlife) Fri 26 Sep 03 14:49
it is my favorite gd song
David Gans (tnf) Thu 1 Jan 04 10:27
Greetings and happy new year! Last night I picked up "Amphigorey" for some eye candy before drifting off to sleep. It's been yearss since I looked at it ("The Gashlycrumb Tinies" is a classic). I was surprised to see that one of the books anthologized therein is called "Unstrung Harp, Or, Mr Earbrass Writes a Novel." Published in 1953. Various sources characterizez it as Gorey's first critical hit. I found this at http://www.thelibraryshop.org/unstrungharp.html On November 18th of alternate years Mr Earbrass begins writing 'his new novel.' "Weeks ago he chose its title at random from a list of them he keeps in a little green note-book. It being tea-time of the 17th, he is alarmed not to have thought of a plot to which The Unstrung Harp might apply, but his mind will keep reverting to the last biscuit on the plate." Thus begins the book the Times Literary Supplement called "a small masterpiece," that established Edward Gorey's critical reputation, originally published in 1953 and long out of print until this new edition. The Unstrung Harp is a look at the literary life and its attendant woes: isolation, writer's block, professional jealousy, and plain boredom. But, as with all of Edward Gorey's books, it's also about life in general, with its anguish, turnips, conjunctions, illness, defeat, string, parties, no parties, urns, desuetude, disaffection, claws, loss, trebizond, napkins, shame, stones, distance, fever, antipodes, mush, glaciers, incoherence, labels, miasma, amputation, tides, deceit, mourning, elsewards. And it's about Edward Gorey the writer, about Edward Gorey writing The Unstrung Harp. It's a cracked mirror of a book, dedicated to RDP -- Real Dear Person Some reader comments at http://www.poetry-reviews.com/The_Unstrung_Harp_0151004358.html - including this: > In the Unstrung Harp, Mr Earbrass boredom and inability to write are a > bizarre focus. Gorey finds so much humor and psychology in our > seemingly empty, drifting moments. Makes me realize that boredom really > is a thing in itself to appreciate. Mr. Earbrass, after all, gets more > from his "straying" than his actually writing, enjoying the "about to > happen" rather than the "happening". I don't know if there's any connection, but we can't rule it out. Surely Hunter and his pals were hip to Edward Gorey.
AZanimal (zepezauer) Fri 2 Jan 04 17:07
I have an extremely vague recollection of Jerry in some interview or other mentioning "The Nursery Frieze," the Gorey work consisting of a long series of animals of indeterminate species, each uttering a single, odd word, like "sphagnum" . . . "orrery" . . .
Robin Russell (rrussell8) Tue 24 Feb 04 07:10
"Ripple" is very special to me because it is central to my favourite recollection of my mother, who helped me work out the melody and the changes (she was a classically trained pianist). It was one of the first Dead tunes I worked on. Most of the lyrics came through clear, but there was one ambiguity that took me a while to unravel - I was not sure if it was the "harp unstrung" or the "heart unstrung", with its connotations of the heartstrings unravelled. That overtone still runs with the song for me and sometimes I find myself singing it that way as well. Happy Trails
David Dodd (ddodd) Tue 24 Feb 04 11:15
And then there's the Chris Hillman version, where he sings "heart of a strum." Always liked that...
David Dodd (ddodd) Tue 24 Feb 04 11:25
And apropos of the earlier, Gorey-centered exchange, here's a link to an image from Chris Van Allsburg's Mysteries of Harris Burdick: http://ancient.anguish.org/~greyson/allsburg/harp.shtml
Robin Russell (rrussell8) Tue 24 Feb 04 13:11
There is something about that format, very strong transport capabilities beyond those of just the words or the image alone, reminds me of the GD comix illustrated Hunter lyrics. Happy Trails
from CGRATTAN666 (tnf) Sun 31 Oct 04 00:04
Cgrattan666 writes: "Ripple in still water When there is no pebble tossed Nor wind to blow" One might consider this lyric in connection with a passage from The Yoga Sutras: "Yoga consists in the intentional stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind-stuff." There's a lovely discussion of this passage in Joseph Campbell's The Mythic Image: "It may be asked, why should anyone wish to bring about such a state? "The mind is likened, in reply, to the surface of a pond rippled by the wind. At the opening of the book of Genesis we read that "the Wind of God moved upon the face of the waters. "The wind (spiritus, pneuma, rauch) ruffled the waters, and that was the first act of creation. Only then did God say, "Let there be light." And there was light fluctuating on the waters. "The idea of yoga is to let the wind subside and let the waters return to rest. For when the wind blows and the waters stir, the waves break and distort both the light and its reflections, so that all that can be seen are colliding broken forms. Not until the waters have been stilled, cleansed of stirred-up sediments and made mirror-bright will the one reflected image appear that on the rippling waves had been broken: that of the clouds and pure sky above, the trees along the shore, and down deep in the still pure water itself, the sandy bottom and the fish. Then alone will that single image be known of which the wave-borne reflections are but fragments and distortions. And this single image can be likened to that of the Self realized in yoga. It is the Ultimatethe Form of Formsof which the phenomena of this world are but imperfectly seen, ephemeral distortions: the God-form, the Buddha-form, which is truly our own Knowledge-form, and with which it is the goal of yoga to unite us. And there are those who, once united, become so established in this knowledge of identity that the rippling field of secondary forms falls away. The body, as they say, drops off; or as others might say, those yogis die. But on the other hand, it is possible, also, to return to this world of continually breaking forms, open the eyes, let winds again blow, and enjoy the kaleidoscopic changes in knowledge that all these dancing forms are revelations of that one Form of forms of which each of us, in his won way is an incarnation. The Mythic Image IV: 4 The Wisdom Of The Yonder Shore
Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Sun 31 Oct 04 11:27
Yuhmmmm... <until the waters have been stilled, cleansed of stirred-up sediments and made mirror-bright>
David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Tue 2 Nov 04 16:49
In Korean Zen Buddhism, the metaphor of Still Water is very common, frequently used in the meditation-master's formal lectures (the type where he shouts loudly and pounds his Staff on the floor) -- this is adopted straight from original Tang-Dynasty Zen. The meditative or enlightened mind is likened to the ocean when it is perfectly calm -- it reflects the moon as it really is, a luminescent whole. When the wind takes up and the surface of the water is disturbed -- our ego-driven thoughts -- the reflection is broken into fragments and distorted. The deep ocean water -- our original Buddha-nature -- remains undisturbed however. If there is a ripple in the still water, we think it must be because of an outside agent disturbing -- the wind blowing or pebble tossed in. But as we meditate, we discover that the ripples are really generated by our own deluded ego, independently of outside causes. When we realize this deeply, we can maintain clarity -- reflecting reality just as it is -- no matter what the outside circumstances. I always did understand that line in this song in this way -- supposed that Hunter had borrowed the image directly from the Zen literature beloved by the Beatniks. The first time i heard a Korean Zen master lecture on this theme, i thought "yeah, I know just what he's talking about, very familiar image, from the Ripple song..." I must've heard lectures on that theme two dozen times since.
neil (nlg) Mon 15 Nov 04 13:22
The theme of still water is a theme common to most, if not all, Zen schools, and indeed most Buddhist schools. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is part of the imagery conveyed particularly to beginning students who are just learning the first stage of meditation -- shamatha, or peaceful abiding, which is at the start all about taming and calming the mind. And indeed, one of the most mind-blowing things about such practice for the beginner is to see just how easily the calm waters are disturbed (or, conversely, just how difficult it is to calm those waters, roiling as they are with discursive thoughts), and eventually, one can see perfectly that it is all coming from inside one's own mind. >No pebble tossed nor wind to blow. Thinking about the song in these terms, there is another line that conjures up to me a very Buddhist picture: >Reach out your hand if your cup be empty Brings to my mind a monk with an alms bowl. The homeless mendicant, quietly walking from home to home, accepting what is offered while asking for nothing, and taking no more than she or he needs for immediate sustenance. And more: each following the very challenging and difficult middle way on a path that is her or his own path to discover, and nobody else's: >There is a road, no simple highway >Between the dawn and the dark of night >And if you go, no one may follow >That path is for your steps alone
from Cgrattan666 (tnf) Mon 15 Nov 04 17:10
Cgrattan666 writes: There is a road, no simple highway Between the dawn and the dark of night And if you go, no one may follow That path is for your steps alone. And this where West meets East. Another point that Campbell was constantly making, especially in his later years: With Respect to The Quest Of The Holy Grail it opens with the knights of Arthurs court in the great dining hall, where Arthur will not let the meal be served until an adventure has occurred. Now, in those days adventures did occur, so no one thought he was going to go away without food the adventure, in this case, is that the Grail appears, carried by angelic messengers and covered with a veil, and it hovers above the company. Everyone sits here in rapture, and the grail is withdrawn. That is the call to adventure, and Gawaina name that is going to recur a great deal. Sir Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur, stands up and says, I propose a quest. I propose that we no should go in quest of that grail, each to behold it unveiled. There then occurs in the Old French text a passage that Malory, for some reason or another did not translate, but one that seems to me to epitomize the whole sense of the Grails symbology. they agreed that all would go on this quest, but they thought it would be a disgraceand thats the word usedto go forth in a group. Think of the group psychology that the Oriental tradition representsthey thought it would be a disgrace to go forth in a group, so each entered the forestthe forest of the adventureat a point that he, himself, had chosen, where it was darkest and there was no path. Now all of you who have had anything to do with Oriental gurus know that they have the path, and they know where you are on the path. Some of them will give you their picture to wear, so you know where you are to get to, instead of your own picture. This is the difference, and this is Europe. So the knights entered the forest at the point they had chosen, where there was no path. If there is a path, it is someone elses path, and you are not on the adventure .This is a wonderful story: that which we intend, that which is the journey, that which is the goal, is the fulfillment of something that was never on the earth beforenamely, your own potentiality. Every thumbprint is different from every other. Every cell and structure in your body is different from that of anyone who has ever been on earth before, so you have to work it out yourself, taking you clues from here and there. Transformations Of Myth Through Time Chapter 11: Where Ther Was No Patph.211-212
Christian Crumlish (xian) Sat 20 Nov 04 11:15
Just rented the first season of Xena, Warrior Princess and there is a scene in the third episode in which the ripple vs. the stillness on the surface of the water are used as metaphors in an interesting way. However, there *is* a pebble tossed in that scene.
David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Tue 23 Nov 04 01:50
But if there *hadn't* been, would Xena still be Hot? Meditate on that awhile, Grasshopper...
Christian Crumlish (xian) Sun 28 Nov 04 14:12
well, since i watch it with my SO, i must admire her as a strong feminine heroine and not as someone who looks good in a bustier
Gary Burnett (jera) Sun 28 Nov 04 15:18
As if there's a difference between the two ... At least sometimes!
Bill McKenney (gratefulwood) Thu 16 Dec 04 09:07
Hello all, After checking out David's Annotated site,I took his advice and joined the Well.This is my first post. "There is a road, no simple highway Between the dawn and the dark of night And if you go, no one may follow That path is for your steps alone." It seems a lot of people consider the dawn as birth and the dark as death,with the road in between as one's life. I always thought of the "road" as death (in the "twilight zone"?) When one leaves this world,"that path is for your steps alone" I really enjoy reading everybody's thought's and ideas about these songs. I brings to light things I never would have thought about on my own.
David Gans (tnf) Thu 16 Dec 04 09:43
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