Lament of the Children

“O Children! Lift up your voice, lift up your voice, Children, rejoice, rejoice…”

Hey little train we’re jumping on, The train that goes to the Kingdom.” 

“Forgive us now for what we’ve done, it started out as a bit of fun, here, take these before we run away, the keys to the gulag.”

“We have the answer to all you fears…it’s somewhere here, lost among our winnings.”

“He’s found the answer that we lost, we’re weeping now, weeping because, there ain’t nothing we can do to protect you.”

 “I once was blind, but now I see.”

“Have you left a seat for me, is that such a stretch of the imagination,…the train ain’t even left the station.” 

“O Children” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, from the album Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus, is a truly thought provoking and beautiful song.  It uses a great deal of figurative language and symbolism to express the themes of a dying generation, loss of morals and innocence, corruption of society, fearfulness for the future generations, sin and redemption.  The song employs drum instrumentation, a steady monotone beat, an interesting rhyme scheme, and gospel–like chorus to promote the lamenting, summoning quality that runs very deep in the message of the song.  Word choice and inflection in the song put emphasis on the themes of invocation to the children and represent the volatile times which the parents have create for their children.  “O Children” demonstrates the idea that everyone at some point will look back for redemption from the mistakes they made and left for past generations, and there will be a never-ending cycle of generations committing the same transgressions. 

So the final question is: when you get to the train, will it wait for you?