Monkey Comfort

by Penelope Swales

How good it is © Penelope Swales How good it is To walk away To free myself from all that pain How good it was To finally hear you say What it was about me that Got in your way You spent so much time Trying to be so nice Sometimes it’s better Just to spill your guts To be real Bout how you really feel Even if it comes out Sounding a little rough You were so full Of brave ideals About the things that we could be But you can’t impose these things from above The tree doesn’t grow from the leaf And it’s a fine thing To wanna lift your game But when things get tough It’s the part of us that’s lame That decides what will be And what can’t be I spent so much time Time in my life Trying to be something That I wasn’t quite So much time Time and energy Trying to tell other people What they could be Yeah, well I still try I try to get it right But I know there’ll always be A discrepancy ‘Tween how we wanna be And how we’re gonna be And in the end you just gotta Work with what’s real There’s a love In my life Who understands these things And I’ve so much yet to learn From that gentle heart ‘Bout the relief that acceptance brings I tried so hard To do right by you But if you won’t talk to me There’s only so much that I can do Coz I’m the kind Who needs to understand What you need from me And what I need from you And it’s all very well To huff up and say That grown-ups shouldn’t Feel this way But the point is that we do We do How good it is To walk away To free myself from all that pain How good it was To finally hear you say What it was about me that Got in your face I spat the dummy You spat chips Your opinion finally Passed your lips We were both wrong About a lot of things But at least I finally know What you really think And that’s something that I can work with Knowledge isn’t kindness And theories are not wisdom It’s good to have ideals But the human heart It’s a messy thing It learns like a dog Like a beaten child It don’t always listen to your mind You can try and tell it It’ll be alright But that might just take a little time Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lionhearts 03:46
Lionhearts © Dale Jones Though these days One power reigns There’s you who will find What the truth is To you so brave We give you the name Lionhearts They’re heavy days, these Without the chance To find out what is real And these illusions Appear before us Being all we see There’s voices in the distance But it’s getting Hard to hear them Through the smokescreens The sounds are the pleading Of those with lives in bondage Wrongly suffering Though these days One power reigns There’s you who will find What the truth is To you so brave We give you the name Lionhearts A noble cause Yes, defenders of a system True and just To keep the white world rich The third world’s fight For freedom Must be crushed Now if the tales were told What secrets would unfold No-one can know No-one but those Who live for knowing, Knowing Chorus What finer way Than TV screens Foe keeping people Deaf and blind A shadow world Lies behind the trivia The news headlines Now if the tales were told What secrets would unfold No-one can know No-one but those Who live for knowing, Knowing Chorus To you so brave We give you the name Lionhearts
Natural World © 2003 Penelope Swales People, It seems to me That the myths we love the most can be The most dangerous The most insidious We talk as if we just strayed From the Garden of Eden Everything would be okay If we could just find our way back again But our forebears had their reasons Oh, now people I’m not saying We did anything right the right way We are products of a beautiful but brutal world The world was wild so we tamed it To help us survive, yeah we boxed up and trained it And those who’ve never known danger scorn what was done. Ah, but people, it seems to me This was done out of love originally An attempt to protect our community So not so many of us would die or grieve ‘Coz people act best in adversity When we help each other and give and receive When we’re faced with danger, we pull together But when we get the numbers we start pushing and shoving And having fought so savagely To make the world our sanctuary These outdated instincts remain unchecked and free CHORUS: And we have the powers of gods in the hands of children Genetic engineering, reinventing the atom We unleash disasters that may well become The creation myths of the next millennium. People like to idolise the natural world I love the natural world Even though it’s such a dangerous place People talk about the right to be safe, But what animal has ever been safe? Safety is an illusion That belongs to the top of the food chain And that’s what it means to be human Is, we create a new chain. On the streets or in the corporate game We’re preying on each other just the same And you and I are the plankton That the multinationals graze upon You and I at the bottom, Bill Gates at the top People like to idolise the natural world, But the natural world is just as savage as the human race Males do get aggressive, Females do get submissive Chimpanzees practice incest, infanticide, rape. Packs of dogs devour their own weakest Grazing animals cut down by the sleekest Predators – we’ve only been trying to escape We’ve only, we’ve only It’s survival of the fittest and nothing is safe Sweetheart the world is a dangerous place It may be miraculous but let’s just get that straight. CHORUS Too much perspective is a bad thing Observe my cynicism and take warning Protect your passion and your motivation Coz it’s the most precious thing you own We must consciously take control of our evolution Ha! Now that’s going to take some idealism! We thought we’d be safe if we tamed the world But the greatest task is to tame ourselves. ‘Coz all the things that worked for us in the wild Are now working against us honeychild All that aggression, all that competition. CHORUS CHORUS 2 In my opinion the big bang was sparked By some celestial child Some precocious brat Who’d been playing with matches While the science teacher had turned her back. People like to idolise the natural world But the natural world is just as savage as the human race People idolise the natural world While forgetting why we tried to tame it in the first place People imitate the natural world, Create a new jungle Become predators, become prey We’re terrified about the state of the world But it’s inevitable Coz it’s in our DNA People like to idolise the natural world I love the natural world myself
The Raven and the Phoenix © Penelope Swales The Raven and the Phoenix Lived together side by side One lived inside the other Till the birthing of the child One curled around the other And the tiny Phoenix grew To become the fiery child We all knew The Raven and the Phoenix Traveled together here and there Festivals and parties Desert lands and mountain air Phoenix learned to walk and totter Eat and drink from many hands Charmed the hearts Of many souls In many lands La-da-da-da The Raven and the Phoenix Lived together on the hill In the sunshine and the moonlight In the windy and the still One fine day it happened Raven heard the cries and came To find her pretty Phoenix Running towards her all in flames Life was forever changed When life changes suddenly An amputation or a death An accident, am injury In the spacing of a breath You stand on the other side Of a line you can’t re-cross You look across at your life as it was Like a severed end inside you You can’t join it up again You can’t slip that familiar Life on again Like the coat That still bears the warmth The imprint of your body Colder now You must travel on The Raven and the Phoenix Lived together in the ward Realisation in the corridor Crying together on the floor The anguish of the mother Late at night her demons come The anguish of the daughter “Mummy where did this Pain come from?” We anticipate the scarring We shake our heads and sigh But maybe there’s More dangerous scars Hidden in behind many eyes Many worse things can mar childhood Unwelcome hands can pry Bruises fade and hidden tearings Are not noticed by and by If one thing the Phoenix saw We loved her and we came And many stood around her bed Wishing we could bear that pain Hardship testing friendship Is such a telling time Raven, I wish I could do more To prove the strength of mine The Raven and the Phoenix Went back home to the hill Life is forever different Yet maybe they’ll be stronger still Many long months yet to pass To heal the impact of the flame And yet the finest steel Passes through the fire Again and again and again Ooh, the circle of seasons Ooh, this time next year Ooh, the circle f seasons Ooh, this time next year We’ll still be here La-da-da-da
Tell Me Now 03:56
Limestone 04:07
Limestone © Penelope Swales Once I would have said My love for you was Solid Like a rock Like a ridge Immovable and permanent But these days of silence One by one Like drops of water On a stone Have made their mark on me Depressions deep And cavities Do you recall that Limestone ridge Out the back of Weird New England? We could have Lost ourselves in its Labyrinth But were loath to disturb It occupants The tears running Through my heart have leached Away all that was soluble Leaving me honeycombed And in the dark, Bizarre formations Twist and curl Stalactites and cavities Take the shape Of words and melodies People crowd around to see What suffering has done for me What strange thoughts Like bats emerge Crevices hide The mud-nests of birds But I would rather be happy Water in my soul And earth in yours Once brought an Abundant garden forth But you flewb Between those clouds And I became earthbound And like some ancient legend Once told round The fire, I have Sunk into the ground See that limestone ridge? She once was a woman Struck down
Grevillea 06:29
Spit a Rat 05:37
Spit a Rat © Penelope Swales Trust is a mixture of respect and grace It can’t be forced And it can’t be faked But you don’t need To trust someone to love them Love gets mistaken for desire and need Gets confused with lust And confused with greed But you don’t need To need someone to want them And you cried “Why oh why Didn’t you crave me The way I crave to be craved The way I ache to be longed for?” You didn’t want Your tried and true companion You wanted a new obsession Something exciting, heart-racing But that’s not what you said to me At the time You said you wanted To stick with me Betrayals’ mute Like a stone in the heart You can talk all day and never Put your finger on the part That really, really, really cut you But grief is noisy Man, it’s loud You can be stoic And you can be proud You can shut your mouth But it still roars all around you It’s not always easy To tell the difference Between irrational fear And a gut feeling But darling, There ain’t no doubt in My guts now And you cried “Why oh why Don’t you trust me?” You were so indignant So angry Implying there was Something wrong with me But now it all Seems so clear to me I must have known That you weren’t trustworthy Honesty is a leap of faith Did you bend the truth? Did the truth break? Did you find some way To save your face In your own mind, anyhow? Maybe it’s more important To admit the facts Than to score the points To be on the level Than to have that Moral high ground A broken heart’s Like a broken bone It might get better On it’s own But if it don’t heal straight Might have to break Again to be set right And your counsellor Whom you pay To hear you bitch About your day Well did you Find some way To restore her faith Like you never Restored mine? Courage is the acid test Are you brave enough To confess All those things that Eat you up quietly And if you really Don’ t have the guts To spit it out Are you such a klutz As to blame your partner For your chicken-hearted Silence Faint heart never won no lady Not that I’d call myself a lady But hell, I ain’t chopped liver either So much mess Could have been avoided If you’d just got to the point Instead of trying to make Your feelings fit your fiction Are you hearing me? I’m trying to tell you That you should have told me Trust is a mixture of respect and grace Can’t be forced Can’t be faked And I’m not gonna tell ya That I trust you Are you hearing that? Not as far As I could spit a rat
Monkey Comfort © Penelope Swales Some people seek comfort in religion Some use money Some like power Others prefer intoxication Adrenalin, oblivion A whisky sour But the analgesic of my preference Would have to be my own insignifigance And I’ll tell you how My world is magnified I’m wrapped around you in the night And I’m terrified, terrified Of losing you Your bones so breakable Your flesh so bruisable Your skull so crushable Your precious fingers so losable The mysterious, curious Workings of your interior, all The things that could go wrong in there Devour you from within, yeah Your old age so unstoppable Each day tricklin’ away And I’m knowing That you will die And take your place in eternity Just one more monkey that lived On a rock where 10 billion monkeys lived No more important No less essential Than any other snake, bird, Insect or bacteria And when you go Oh, it’ll be just a handful Of us monkeys that grieve Oooh. And so what if more noticed? What if the death of you or I Was lamented with the same hue and cry As Elvis, or Lennon Or Princess Di? Just a few more eddies and swirls In a race intent on destroying itself On the third rock from some star in some Infinite universe Can you see, my friends Why I don’t find my insignifigance frightening? Oh, no! I find it comforting It steadies me When I’m hounded by fear, grief or loss Frightened by my death or yours It grants me some serenity Coz I’m knowing That I will die And take my place in eternity Ah, just one more monkey that lived On a rock where 10 trillion monkeys lived No more important Nor less essential Than any other Bat, Bear, sea-lion Or Monsteria And when I go, it’ll be A compliment to me If some other monkeys grieve Ohhhhh Some people seek comfort in religion Some use money Some like power Others prefer intoxication Adrenalin, oblivion A whisky sour So if to dwell on my own insignifigance Might seem like a strange preference Well it don[t seem any stranger to me Than the other monkeys around here Other monkeys around here Lotta other monkeys around here Pretty strange monkeys around here.
King Monkey 03:31
Antarctica 04:00
20 Summers 06:23
Safe Home 06:46


released July 7, 2003

All songs by Penelope Swales except "Lionhearts" by Dale Jones, "Tell Me Now" by Melanie Shanahan and "Antarctica" by Penelope Swales and Dale Jones.

Guitars made by Jack Spira except blackwod guitar on "Spit a Rat" made by Joe Gallacher, 12-string on "Antarctica" made by Lowden.

Recorded at Metropolis Studio in Melbourne


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Penelope Swales Emerald, Australia

Penelope Swales has been articulating the human condition with passion and humour for 30+ years. She sings about politics, love, friendship, the unbreakable bond between us and dogs and the impact of the Internet on society. She won the 2019 Alistair Hulett Songs for Social Justice Award with “Cambridge Analytica”. “The Ides of March in Christchurch" was short-listed for the same award in 2020. ... more

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