Between Light and Dark

by Penelope Swales

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03:42
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05:02
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03:34
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03:35
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07:41
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04:49
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13.
05:21

about

Originally released independently, Between Light and Dark was one of the first independent albums in Australia to be released on the new CD format. Later re-released by Black Market Music.

credits

released September 11, 1993

Tracks 5,6,8 & 12 recorded by Dynamic Recorders at Radio 3CR, Melbourne.
Engineered by Trish Anderson
Produced by Penelope Swales

All other tracks recorded by Rabbit Recording
Engineered by Robert Russell
Produced by Penelope Swales
Rhythm tracks for no's 1,2,13 recorded at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute.

tags

license

all rights reserved
Track Name: Doin' the Right Thing
Doin’ the Right Thing
© Penelope Swales 1993

Chorus:
Well my life feels like a necklace breakin’
My days are slipping away like beads off a string
Ohh-hoa, my mind’s eye, can’t see for the smoke o’ my bridges burnin’
Hope I’m doing the right thing, Yeah, well

My friend said to me – oh, you’re so young!
You’re just a baby. Your life has just begun
Well maybe I was taking big steps at an age when she was just taking little ones,
But sometime I’ve gotta wonder what I’ve done. Ho--ho

Chorus

The girls I went to school with, they’ll all be secretaries
Or maybe at university, or unemployed, or married
But if you ask me what the date is, the chance is I don’t know
But when I lift my head I’m amazed at how fast the weeks go, ho-o-a-hoa,

Chorus

Yeah, I hope I’m doing the right thing
Hope I’m doing the right thing
Hope I’m doing the right thing
Hope I’m doing the right thing
Ooh – hoo…

Chorus

Oh, my friend said to me – you know it never goes away
This old age barrier. I still get the same today
She said I’m 35, 40 doesn’t even know that I’m alive
And my days are drowned in a routine and I hope I’m doing the right thing, she said

Chorus

My life – ugh!
Haa…..
My mind’s eye can’t see for the smoke of my bridges burning under me
Hope I’m doing the right thing
Yeah, well my love, says all he wants is peace and tranquillity
But you know he’ll never reach the end of the road, no
Not while he’s travelling with me
In my life.
Track Name: Mother Song
Come now, let us not be starry-eyed!
If we look around us, we cannot pretend
That mankind has never set its foot here
But still – it is so beautiful

There is peace and tranquility here
Even with the ravages that we have made
In this state forest, in this urban park,
On this wind-swept beach, in this inner-city backyard

Look how tolerant your mother is
Look how far she can be pushed and yet provide
See how well she covers her scars
See how she hides her cancers and ulcers
Look Child! Look and understand
Because on her we all depend for our survival.

I look at her back and her side as she bends
I look at her and I cannot pretend
That her man has never set his foot here
But still, she is so beautiful

There is love and acceptance here
Even with the ravages that he has made
In the doctor’s waiting room , in the supermarket shelves
In the principal’s office, in her secret self

Look how tolerant your mother is
Look how far she can be pushed and yet provide
See how well she covers her scars
See how she hides her cancers and ulcers
Look Child! Look and understand
Because on her you will depend for your survival.

For 10 years, the warning has been imminent
The roof is dissolving over our heads
It’s all been affected, it’s all going wrong
And it will affect you before too much longer

There’s nowhere to go there nowhere you can hide
From the depths of the ocean to the deep blue sky
It’s more than just poison, it’s more than just heat
The ground is strangling under our feet
But there’s still time to make ends meet
Even with the ravages that we have made
In this eroded pasture, in this urban sprawl
In this beach-front sewer, in this inner-city backyard
In this logged-out forest, in this choked city air
In this sterile carpark, in your TV chair
I beg of you

Look how tolerant your mother is
But how much further can we push and yet survive?
See how well she covers her scars
But we’re the ones, we’re the cancers, the ulcers
Look Child! Look and understand
Because on her we all depend for our survival.
Track Name: Lost and Found
Lost and Found
© Penelope Swales 1993

I must admit in hindsight that you took me by surprise
I never thought I’d like you so much so fast
And through the braids and makeup, heavy lids that hide your eyes
I caught a glimpse of that old horror in your past
In your past.

I met you on the breadline, you were feeling pretty down
Fighting off the deadline, I was new in town
I made sure in the daytime that we ate and got around
And in the night you took me to the lost and found
The lost and found

I find these places garish, there was a name band on the door
Half the crowd were flying, the rest were out to score
I was cool to be there so I allowed myself the time
Ah, but you were in your element, hanging out,
Hanging out to find a line.

And hey, my little cocaine queen
Where are you now?
Did word that you were homeless get around?
Did you take the last step backwards
To the hammer-beaten track?
Did you fly so high you’re never coming back?

You seemed to be a regular, they all knew your face
I’m not the sort of person that they’re used to in this place
In your eyes, it’s a wonderland and you sure get around
But to me it just looks like the lost and found
The lost and found.

Morning finds us sleeping till the afternoons is sweet
Evening finds me singing for our supper in the street
Nighttime finds us waiting for our chance to hang around
In the early hours in the lost and found
The lost and found.

And although you didn’t seem to mind being accosted every day
I could have spend all my time trying to keep the vultures at bay
My protective and possessiveness was just my heart trying to say
That I think I fell in love with you
In a funny kind of way

And hey, my little cocaine queen
Where are you now?
Did word that you were homeless get around?
Did you take the last step backwards
To the hammer-beaten track?
Did you fall so low you’re never coming back?

They said you looked just like a junkie in your leather and your black
I felt just like a bodyguard trying to keep them off your back
We did well surviving, as a team we had the knack
Oh, yes, but one night in the Cross I turned around
And found that I’d lost track
Of you, I’d lost track

Well it tried so hard to find you, but I couldn’t hang around
You can stay here only so long before your senses start to drown
But if come the weekend I’m still living in this town
I’ll be looking for you in the lost and found
The lost and found.

And hey, my little cocaine queen
Where are you now?
Did word that you were homeless get around?
Did you take the last step backwards
To the hammer-beaten track?
Did you go so far you’re never coming back

Hey hey, my little cocaine queen
Where are you now?
Did word that you were homeless get around?
If come the weekend I’m still living in this town
I’ll be looking for you in the lost and found
The lost and found.
Track Name: Promises
Promises
© Penelope Swales 1993

What does it say
When there’s cobwebs on my worktable?
And if I ask you for a reason, can you blame me?
Send out a lifeline, but don’t take to long

Coz while I’m hanging on, there’s still time
But I’m tired, so tired and the longer that you leave it
The weaker I get, I’m not asking for a guarantee
I just wanna know, that you’ll try to reassure me

But I’ve got to the stage
Where I don’t take too much notice what you say
And if you’re leaving, or if you wanna stay
I know you’ll get over it either way

So don’t sing me a story of your promises
Ah, promise me you’ll make me no more promises
Coz just right now, I don’t have much faith in promises
But never made, never broken

Your story always changes
But it always stays the same
And oscillation is the only certainty
Uncertainty the only rules of the game

So run me off a list of all you promises
Add just one more, that you’ll make me no more promises
Coz just right now I don’t have much faith in promises
But never made, never broken

So don’t sing me a story of your promises
I promise you, I’ll make you no more promises
But don’t worry, oh, just coz I don’t believe in promises
I might not stay, but I might not be going
Never made, never broken

Never made, never made, never made, never made
Never made, never made, never made, never made
Track Name: Legacy
Legacy (1991 version)
© Penelope Swales 1991

I wake into the morning,
I find no joy in waking
Coz with waking comes remembrance
With remembrance, recognition
Recognition, comprehension
Comprehension, obligation
in the frailness of the morning
To find the strength to shift a nation, Ohh

And what will be my legacy?
One of the luckiest people in the world

Young and free, young and healthy,
Young and wealthy, young and white
Our poorest are still among the affluent
Running water, food and shelter
Can be yours without a fight
Living in the Lucky Country
By some strange twist of fate

The suffering of millions
Is too big to get a grip on
If defies all explanation
It’s beyond our comprehension
But I reflect on my mortality
Reflect on its finality
I have it on authority
That my own death is a certainty, And

What will have been my legacy?
One of the few with the time to change the world

Young and free, young and healthy,
Young and wealthy, young and white
Our poorest are still among the affluent
While our brothers and our sisters shiver huddled in their tents
Drinking water tainted with their excrement

So I went into the street
Yes we were voting with our feet
Surprised to see how quickly
It cost us all our respectability
Being rough-housed by policemen
Give you some indication
Just a little comprehension
Of life beneath oppression, and

People on their lunchbreak say
“What those wierdos bitching ‘bout today?”
And the ask me “Just what do you think you’re doing with your life?
You should straighten up and realise your potential
Young and free, young and healthy,
Young and wealthy, young and white
You should be thinking of your future, my girl!”

The machinery of nations
Offers up no explanations
About why its machinations
Must be oiled with exploitation
While politicians ramble,
Words like security, economy
Equality, leave it to me
Stay meshed in your complacency, and

What will have been our legacy?
Riding bloated on the back of the great pacific bully
While the Penan, Irian Jayan, Bouganvillian, Timorese
Have their homes and lands destroyed to feed our factories
Lose their culture, lose their courage
And are beaten to their knees
Silenced by fear for their families

Young and healthy, young and wealthy,
Young and free and young and white
Our poorest are still among the affluent
Running water, food and shelter
Can be yours without a fight
Living in the Lucky Country
By some strange twist of fate

While Palestinians, Panamanians
South Africans, Burmese
And out own home-grown oppressed,
The Aborigines
And the refugees of Kurdistan
Lie huddled in their tents
Drinking water tainted with our excrement
Track Name: Seacargo
Seacargo
© Penelope Swales 1993

Driving through the early grey and grimy city streets
Loving you with loving on my conscience
Down through the dockyards,
Through the mist and the anonymous cars
With all these contradictions
Dangling in the air
Like my ratty hair hangs wet around my shoulders
Like the tatters of my good intentions
Ohhh

When he let down his defences
I didn’t trust my senses
But still my craving drew me in
When I dared to recognise
The same compulsion in his eyes
Was tightening the drawstring
Well, I knew what light you’d see it in

But how bloody stupid would you feel
If you know the deal
To have the chance and let it slip away? Ahhh

Oh, Seacargo, won’t you take me with you when you go?
Just one small container load – Ohh

Don’t tell me you can lay the blame
On who should hang their head in shame,
And say my right to choose can’t be defended
I know that you did your best
Yeah, you know that I did the rest
And stayed on when staying should have ended

But how bloody stupid would you feel
If you know the deal
To have the chance and let it slip away? Ahhh

Oh and anyway, makes no difference what you say
Coz there’s no chance I could have stayed away

So I’m driving through the early grey and grimy city streets
Loving you with loving on my conscience
Down through the dockyards,
Through the mist and the anonymous cars
With all these contradictions
Dangling in the air
Like my ratty hair hangs wet around my shoulders
Like the tatters of my good intentions, ohhh
Oh, Seacargo, won’t you take me with you when you go?
Just one small container load – Ohh
Track Name: Black Carrie
Black Carrie
© Penelope Swales 1993

When I first met Black Carrie
I met her in passing, here and there
And one day she turned and spoke to me
With words that cut the air

Her clothing was silk and purple
And bought at a market stall
And she sparkled at me darkly
Small and ample
Her eyes were black and bright
Like a swallow
Ohh…

She said to me “I mourn every day
Everywhere I go, in every way
Everything I see speaks to me
Of struggling and dying, silently

And I mourn for the trees and for the sky
I mourn for remnant grasslands and oceans wide
I mourn because I fear I won’t survive
And I mourn because I love my life

I go along to these demonstrations
Where the issue is frustrated and is lost
By revolution-heads with chips on their shoulders
And media vultures
Too busy counting confrontation to count the cost

And I mourn for the potential of the cause
To reunite us and set us back on course
I mourn for all of those who might have joined us
If only they hadn’t thought
That protesting was violent

When I’m alone I hear the earth crying
I hear it in my belly, deep and sore
And that’s why I’ll avoid going up country sometimes
Coz every time I go I hear it more

And the cacophony of buses and of streets
Deafens my ears to the keening and the pleas
My senses are dulled by subtle poisons,
In the subway, I’m not aware that I’m underground
Coz there is no ground to see

And every weed speaks out its life to me
Every seagull’s sacred and profane
Each Styrofoam container a blasphemy
And sparrows, although feral, remind me

That sparrows are
And sparrows are not to blame for what they are
And we’re like sparrows
But sparrows are not to blame for what we are

And I know that hope is crucial
But hope sometimes deals me a strange hand
So I must find this first rally in myself
Make this first most fundamental stand

So I smile for the springtime and the light
Smile for the sunshine stirring life
I try not to think too closely of the strife that’s pending
And I smile because I love my life

Mourn for the trees mourn for the sky
I mourn before the onslaught of poisonous sunlight
I mourn because this is the springtime of my life
And coz so much has already died
And I mourn because I love my life”

Black Carrie
Black Carrie loves her life
And I love Black Carrie
Oh, coz Black Carrie loves her life

Fight for the trees, fight for the sky
Fight for remnant grasslands and oceans wide
Fight coz if you don’t, we won’t survive
Fight, fight if you love
Your life, fight if you love
Your life.
Track Name: Corporation Lane
Corporation Lane
© Penelope Swales 1993

Slippin’ through the shadows
Straight down Corporation Lane
I’m a-lookin’ for a job
I’m tryin’ to find a way in I can get out of again
Trying not to be lost forever in the mob

Gotta get on my feet again
I’m past caring
But I know there’ll be a time when
I’ll be daring
To start out on my own again

I’m tired, now it’s hard,
But I can’t turn back now that I’ve come this far
Now that I’ve come this far

Hidin’ from the horror
In the streets and in my mind
Knowing things will never be the same
Fighting off the emptiness your passing left behind
I was fighting to track him down before it came

Just to have warm arms to fall into
Just to have warm life to cling to
While the wave broke, while I wrangled
With my grief and my despair
Just to have somebody there,
So not to be alone

Hideously alone
With the knowledge
Of your passing and your pain
What a time to have him let me down again

I was cryin’ for him
Coz you were gone
Cryin’ I need help to carry on
I was crying sore

The death of a friend I’m crying or
Was it the death of a friendship?
I’m not sure
Which I was crying for
Which one I was crying for more

Could I ever be content
In Corporation Lane?
Could I ever fit into the mould?
I’m practising my special art of staying insane
And I’m tryin’ to suss is out
Before I get too old

Gotta get on my feet again
I’m past caring
But I know there’ll be a time when
I’ll be daring
To start out on my own again

I’m confused now,
It’s unclear
How could I be so far,
When I thought I was so near?
I thought I was so near

Too tired to think straight
About Corporation Lane
Too tired to think straight
About Corporation Lane
Too tired to think straight
About Corporation, Corporation, Corporation
Lane------.
Track Name: Said So
Said So
© Penelope Swales 1993

Underneath me I can feel
The turning of the wheels
In front of me these fields
Open up to my eyes
Inside my head I hear the words
I never should have heard
It all seems so absurd
But it comes as no surprise

He said – it’s best for you
Can’t I decide that too?
I don’t care if it’s true
But y’know, y’know, he said so
Y’know, y’know, he said so

I guess it’s time for me to make a break
You’re making a mistake
But I’ll do what it takes
I’m allowed no backward glance
He’s given up the one who cares
For the one who isn’t there
Coz he won’t dare to take this simple chance

Ohh – won’t you hold me
Please don’t scold me
If anyone else had told me
I wouldn’t believe it but you said so
And oh, because you said so

I’ll go – oh-ho, goodbye!
Oh, I never would have tried
If you
Hadn’t asked me to
Coz right deep down inside
I’ve always known it wasn’t right
Ohhh-----

Underneath me I did feel
The capsizing of the keel
The crashing of my wheels
My ship of dreams and dread
Hanging from my seatbelt,
Hit the deck
I nearly broke my neck
And looking at the wreck
I later wished that I’d been dead

All washed around me
Let nothing else astound me
And when the police found me
I only moved because they said so
Mutely coz they said so

Ah-----

And still some nights, my dreams
Are bursting at the seams
With echoes of my screams
And all the voices that said so
All the voices said so

I hate the fact that you still cross my mind
Wish I could leave behind
But one thing I did find,
There’s no refuge in miles
Be you near or be you far
No matter where you are
I still bear the scars
Though I hide them well with smiles

And suddenly I’m home
And you’re talking on the phone
I say, I’d rather be alone
And you know, because I said so
You know, because I said so
You know, because I said so
Track Name: Letters to the Dead
Letters to the Dead
© 1993 Penelope Swales

I sit here swimming in a sea of smoke
I’m burnin’ candles, burnin’ incense
I’m igniting my memories
I’m looking at a lock of your hair hanging on the wall

Death from a distance
Is such a strange thing
You always were a strange man
Holding you was like hugging a hurricane
I could have been sunburned by your smile
Frostbitten by your eyes
I’m writing letters to the dead

And you would argue
At the drop of a hat
Argue ‘bout anything
This way or that
Yeah, argue with anyone
Even with me
The times I tried to avoid that
But you’d always find a way

And you’d go to bed
At the drop of a hat
On one condition,
That no-one loved you and that was flat
Oh, yeah almost with anyone
Even with me
At the time I had to avoid that
I had other commitments,
But now I wish I’d found a way

And now I’m staring at a lock of that glorious mane
I’m singin’ to your smile
I’m holdin’ congress with the dead

And now I’m staring at a lock of that glorious mane
I’m singin’ to your smile
I’m jammin’ solo with the dead

Death from a distance
Is such a strange thing
You always were a strange man
Your acquaintance with that side of things
Made me feel naïve and
I didn’t like that, now I’m
Burnin’ candles, burnin’ incense, burnin’ other things
Partaking with the dead
(Burnin’ bridges, burning wildfire)
I’m building a pyre of all of my memories
(In the crematorium’s flames)
I remember sharing
Your first taste for a couple of years with you
(Oooh…)
And I remember thinking at the time
That it wasn’t such a good move
(You’re such an all-or-nothing character)
I’m writin’ letters to the dead
(Sunburned by your smile, frostbitten by your eyes)
I’m holdin’ congress with the dead
(Staring at a lock of that glorious mane,
I’m singin’ to your smile)
I’m burnin’ letters to the dead.
Track Name: Strange Hands
Strange Hands
© Penelope Swales 1993

Don’t take me on your journey
If you’re not gonna travel
If you’re only taking a day-trip
If you’re not gonna unravel
Oh, the mystery
Of what is you and what is me
Don’t let me feel it
If you’re gonna take it back
Coz I don’t wanna move in circles on
Yet another lover’s well-worn track

You gotta let those strange hands touch you
Ohh, you gotta let them break the concrete away
And they take you from your casing
All soft and pink and new
Oh, you gotta let those strange hands run all over you
You’re not alive if the sensation’s not unbearable
And you say you wanna stay
But a window isn’t good enough
You’d have to break free
Of the prison of your play

You want to visit, but you can’t live there
Has it crossed your mind that you’re being unfair?
You want to pretend that it’s all flowing through you
And then go back to your complacency
And you want me to go back there, too
And you want me to go back there, too
And though you seem to think
That everything is as it should
Somewhere here, one of us
Has been misunderstood

You gotta let those strange hands touch you
Ohh, you gotta let them break the concrete away
As they take you from your casing
All soft and pink and new
Oh, won’t you let these strange hands run all over you?
You’re not alive if the sensation’s not unbearable
And you know I wanna stay
But a window isn’t good enough
You’d have to break free
Of the prison of your play

And y’know, I can’t go through it again
I’m not prepared to pay let’s pretend
And I know it seems like the easy way out
But my dial is on another setting
And we both know how that came about
And maybe I’m the poorer
Maybe you’re right now,
Maybe I’m the poorer
For not taking what I can
But don’t you see, I’m livin’
On the other side of deadpan

Coz I let those strange hands touch me
Ohh, and the concrete’s slowly breaking away
As I stand here in my nakedness
All soft and pink and new
Oh, won’t you let your strange hands run all over me
I know I’m alive coz the sensation’s almost unbearable
And you say you wanna stay
But a window isn’t good enough
You’d have to break free
Of the prison of your play

You gotta let those strange hands touch you
Ohh, You gotta let those strange hands touch you
Track Name: Footprints in your Flesh
Footprints in your Flesh
© Penelope Swales 1993

Wurunjeri people
Do you hear me callin’?
Do you hear me talkin’?
Can you feel me walkin’?
In this land
This land is your land
My feet are on foreign soil and I feel it
In my bones and on my pale, pale skin

Wurundjeri people
Can you hear me talkin’?
Can you feel me walkin’?
Do my footprints leave their imprint on your flesh?
Is that your breath
I can feel on my skin?
Or is it just the wind?
But isn’t that the same thing

I’m standing
In the valley
Beside the river
And arcing above me is the aching sky
Before me
I can see the city
See its towers rising from its maze
See it nestled in the haze
Of Melbourne’s temperature inversion days

Koori
I can see the city
Spread out before me
But what I see
Is not what I find in my memory
Koori,
Please believe me
Many gentle people of my race have died
In this mad, mad scramble for empires

Sumerian, Acadian
Babylonian, Median
Chaldean, Darien
Alexandrian
Ptolemaic,
Roman Byzantine
Sassanid, Charlemagne
Holy Roman, Napoleonic
And now, ladies and gentlemen of Gondwanaland
Ladies and gentlemen of the great Southern land
We proudly present
In conjunction with the East India Company
Will you welcome please
The British Empire!
Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves
Britons never, never, never
Will be slaves….

Wurundjeri people
Do you hear me callin’?
Do you feel me walkin’?
Do my footprints leave their imprint on your flesh?
Track Name: Back to Me
Back to Me  1992 Penelope Swales


Word got back to me
Gives me some indication of what you thought of my request
Well, It got me thinkin’
Find it’s much what I expected though always hoping for the best
This suite of songs
This spate of songs dedicated to one I love
Well, they’ve got me thinkin’
Hasn’t done me too much good
Maybe I should dedicate one to myself

This song is dedicated to my capacity to survive
This song is dedicated to my love of being alive
It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine
I know there’s other hearts like mine
And other hearts like thine

Passion is a curse
You may fly higher but you fall lower
And noone ever knows what you’re talking about
Satisfaction
Satisfaction will flee before you just like leaves before the wind
Gratification – whoo! Forget it!
You may scream and cry and shout
And they’ll never know what you’re talking about
Compensation
Learn the read the signs and take in stride and take some pride and learn to shout

This song is dedicated to my capacity to survive
This song is dedicated to my love of being alive
It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine
I know there’s other hearts like mine
Lovin’ other hearts like thine

Word got back to me
Somethin’ someone said about somethin’ that you had somethin’ to say about
People question me
Wanting simple answers watin to betold just what to think about it
Some of themtesting me, teasing me
What’s this I hear ‘bout da-de-da-de-da-de-da-de-da-da-da”
Whoa – the complexity
Is beyond a loving heart so why should I pander to that spite

This process is frustrating, but I have the capacity to survive
This pain is compensated by my love of being alive
It’s compensated by other hearts like mine
By having the love of other heart like mine
So, if word gets back to you
If you feel you’re implicated in any of the songs I write
Well – no, it isn’t true
On this occasion, something else was on my mind

This song is dedicated to my capacity to survive
This song is dedicated to my love of being alive
It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine
And if you’ve got a heart like mine

This song is dedicated to your capacity to survive
This song is dedicated to your love of being alive
It’s dedicated to other hearts like mine
I’m dedicated to other hearts like mine