“Carry on my wayward son”

There’ll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don’t you cry no more

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I’m dreaming
I can hear them say… Carry on my wayward son.

I woke up with this song in my head this morning. Normally when I have a song in my head the easiest way for me to banish it (lest it play continually) is to listen to it for reals. Somehow this morning I have let it play, which with the music that I am actually listening to is creating a disjointed cacophony that I am uncertain how best to manage. Certainly I could turn off the actual music, but I am sort of enjoying it. I could listen to the original Kansas song, but I do not have it. Of course I could easily bring it up on the interwebs, but for some reason I have the inclination to let it play through in my mind. I know the song well, have for years. It is one of those classic “classic rock” tunes that one could probably hear nearly every day on a typical “classic rock” radio station. I guess I never really thought much about the lyrics though.

There is an Icarus element, a pilgrimage element, an enlightenment element, and perhaps a fear of endless searching without understanding. A fear of being burned, of going -or staying- blind or mad should one attain the sought after knowledge. There is a certain element of fear and uncertainty, but also some sense of comfort. I am not really sure how to interpret it, nor understand why it is in my head this morning.

And then you find yourself sitting in the back of the room, a stranger in a strange land. Opening doors and looking through windows long ignored. Dredging up questions long buried; uncertainties…fears and doubts. Paper wings.

What is this song telling me? Is it warning or challenge? Perhaps it is merely memory, I have heard it many, many times for years upon years and maybe it is not at all profound. I mean after all it is just a 1976 Kansas song…maybe it is not that deep. But something nags at me. Why this song? Why now? Either way I suppose we all must carry on…one way or another.

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4 thoughts on ““Carry on my wayward son”

  1. All of us at some point find ourselves in new situations we’re not entirely prepared for. Really, the only time we’ll escape these situations is death because the world is constantly changing even if we’re not. BUT, I think the song in your head is just a song in you’re head — at least I hope so, because I often get kids longs like “Henry the 8th I am” in mine. If there was a deeper meaning to “ear worms,” what would that say about me?

    • The disarming part is not so much the new experience as it is the combination with the reopening of old questions…and perhaps death itself is indeed just a new experience. But then perhaps you are right…just a song in my head. As for Henry the 8th…I am not sure how exactly to interpret that.

  2. not exactly anonymous

    I wrote the words to that song (same stanzas) on my geometry class notebook in 10th grade. Yellow, tattered thing, I still have I believe. As a 15 year-old I found it quite profound. I just wanted to get out of my own head and out into the bigger world. Still a good song I’d say. Lynn (yeah, from the archives…) 🙂

    • The experience has made me want to listen more intently to some of the songs known from youth that have for whatever reason stuck with me. Some of them I know damn well are mostly nonsense, but some…like this one…are bound to be a bit more thoughtful. It would probably be a very interesting experiment to do some interpreting of song lyrics that seemed important back then.

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