Joanna Newsom’s Astounding Masterpiece: “Sapokanikan”

Music • Views: 16,507

YouTube

I believe I posted this video once before, but I just rediscovered this incredible song’s powerful, inventive arrangement, and its intense, deep lyrics. The video brings Joanna Newsom’s poetry to life in a very beautiful and ultimately sad way.

You don’t have to be a former English lit major to get all the references, but it probably helps. For the rest of us there’s Google and it’s worth the keystrokes.

Track from Joanna Newsom LP/CASS/CD “Divers”, available on October 23, 2015 on Drag City.
Order now at: dragcity.com

iTunes: apple.co
Apple Music: apple.co

VIDEO
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Produced by Sara Murphy, Albert Chi, Erica Frauman
Edited by Andy Jurgensen

Camera: Adam Kimmel, Aaron Tichenor
Telecine Colorist: Gregg Garvin
Production Company: Ghoulardi Film Company

Crew:
Jeff Kunkel, Robert Ellenberg, Aly Migliori, Louis Matta, Christian Gagnier, Nigel S. Clayton, Zander Fife, Dylan Tichenor, Cassandra Kulukundis

MUSIC
Joanna Newsom: Piano, Schiedmayer Celesta, Vocals
Neal Morgan: Drums and Percussion
Ryan Francesconi: Guitar, Bass Guitar, Bouzouki, Baglama
Judith Linsenberg: Recorder
Andy Strain: Trombone

Produced & Mixed by Joanna Newsom & Noah Georgeson
Recorded by Steve Albini & Noah Georgeson
Written by Joanna Newsom

Arrangement of Trombone, Recorder, Bouzouki, Baglama, and Guitars by Ryan Francesconi

Arrangement of Drums & Percussion by Neal Morgan

LYRICS
The cause is Ozymandian
The map of Sapokanikan
Is sanded and bevelled
The land lone and levelled
By some unrecorded and powerful hand

Which plays along the monument
And drums upon a plastic bag
The brave-men-and-women-so-dear-to-God-
And-famous-to-all-of-the-ages rag

Sang: Do you love me?
Will you remember?
The snow falls above me
The renderer renders:
The event is in the hand of God

Beneath a patch of grass, her
Bones the old Dutch master hid
While elsewhere Tobias
And the angel disguise
What the scholars surmise was a mother and kid

Interred with other daughters
In dirt in other potters’ fields
Above them, parades
Mark the passing of days
Through parks where pale colonnades arch in marble and steel

Where all of the twenty-thousand attending your footfall
And the causes they died for are lost in the idling bird calls
And the records they left are cryptic at best
Lost in obsolescence
The text will not yield, nor x-ray reveal
With any fluorescence
Where the hand of the master begins and ends

I fell, I tried to do well but I won’t be
Will you tell the one that I love to remember and hold me
I call and call for the doctor
But the snow swallows me whole with ol’ Florry Walker
And the event lives only in print

He said:
“It’s alright”
And “It’s all over now”
And boarded the plane
His belt unfastened
The boy was known to show unusual daring
And, called a “boy”
This alderman, confounding Tammany Hall
In whose employ King Tamanend himself preceeded John’s fall

So we all raise a standard
To which the wise and honest soul may repair
To which a hunter
A hundred years from now, may look and despair
And see with wonder
The tributes we have left to rust in the parks
Swearing that our hair stood on end
To see John Purroy Mitchel depart

For the Western front where our work might count
O mercy! O God!
Go out, await the hunter to decipher the stone
And what lies under the city is gone

Look and despair
Look and despair

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2021-06-05 2:51 pm PDT
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Donate with
PayPal
Cash.app Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Ludovico Einaudi - Luminous (Performance Video) "Underwater is a sound from another place"Order the new album: einaudi.lnk.to Underwater, Einaudi's first full solo piano album for 20 years, is a manifesto for life and a statement for this time when the world around him was quiet ...
Thanos
1 day, 13 hours ago
Views: 168 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 •
Naked Capitalism Takedown on Biden’s Speech(0) [Introductory material omitted.] (1) But before we begin, I want to provide an update on our fight against COVID-19 and announce new steps[1]. [1] One would have expected new steps to generate some coverage, or, more precisely, to be ...
Captain Magic
5 days, 9 hours ago
Views: 428 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 •
There Is No Such Thing as “Mild” CovidRead this thread. The good news down at the end is that full vaccination does help mitigate long Covid. Nevertheless, you don't want to get a "mild" case of Covid. PSA: COVID-19 isn’t “just a cold,” isn’t “a respiratory virus,” ...
No Malarkey!
2 weeks, 1 day ago
Views: 1,078 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 26 •