Monkey Comfort

by Penelope Swales



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



all rights reserved
Track Name: How Good It Is
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.
Track Name: 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

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

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,


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,


To you so brave
We give you the name
Track Name: Natural World
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

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.


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.


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
Track Name: The Raven and the Phoenix
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


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

Track Name: Limestone
© Penelope Swales

Once I would have said
My love for you was
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
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
Track Name: Spit a Rat
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

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
Track Name: Monkey Comfort
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

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

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.