The White Sea remembers… – the thought rattled in my trusty old Swedish military rucksack. Two cans of sardines, a thermos, a tin cup and this thought. It was like seeing an old friend from the boy scout camp days of innocence. And here it was – whispering and breathing and trying to communicate an old beaten truth with a gentle murmur. It was like I never left. Thirty years. I was born down this old fish-stinking road in this God-forgotten town far up North. Spat out by the Sea into the caressing arms of the pine branches at the shore, like a sole survivor of an ancient ship wreckage. Now I am an old wreckage, but the Sea remembers… everything.
This path... It brought us to the burning coast And I want to know What's on your mind?
Forest fires, migrating elk herds, men hunting wolves, men hunting bears, men hunting men, the axes, the sawmills, the WAR, the labor camps, the suffering, the hunger, the hale-in-July desperation – leave and don't come back! How can it still remember me? Yet it does. Always. For I am indeed a prodigal son – from here, but not from here – an outsider baring a foreign and half-forgotten name, but yet – blood from the blood. I'm glad, that I finally made it. A bittersweet reunion. I sat on a large boulder and talked back to the Sea, like some old tattered-soul-Jack back in the 60's. A sip of cold coffee and a cigarette. Not much to tell.
You'll see There's no place for honesty Stones in shallow creeks Lay cold and still But they'll kill Once you dare to build a shrine Wish for better life Left unfulfilled…
I've been here and there, mixing with the locals, playing different roles. From one town to another, poor and even poorer. I've been judged by the uniform I wore – green, blue, yellow shirts, mustard aprons, suits and ties, and yet, somehow this road-worn coat and the sack with a wooden anchor pin feels… right, I guess. I've been studying intricacies of language and women's underwear. I loved and lost and loved the loss. Got myself entangled in a toxic love-hate relationship and barely made it alive – by the skin of the teeth as they say – shell-shocked, bleeding, but, eventually, whole again.
I can't believe you're having fun But I promise that it's true I'll ride the bomb only If it falls right down on your roof
Some people never learn… Gathering wood for the campfire I thought of all the chances I've missed. A small town boy that has been pushed into this great big shining World with all its vices and questionable choices. A naïve kid that turned into a flawed man. I stole when I was hungry; I lied when I lacked confidence and I shut the door on people. I shut the door on people who were kind to me, and that I'm not proud of.
But I still remember The days they were golden And traces of powder Will always remain underneath
The White Sea quietly listened, as it knew – pain makes poetry. What makes you – you? Clothes, friends, connections? A stack of dusty hardbacks or a shoebox of seven inches at the next best place you can call home? Or is it something… deeper? White brick houses in the distance lit their windows with dim welcoming yellow. To each his own. The sky, framed with tree branches was my ceiling for the night. The sky filled with myriads of bright sharp quietly observing stars. As the brushwood caught fire I thought of William Blake and his lonesome nights. I thought of the Tyger.
But I still try To sneak through the hole in the fence To the woods in the pale moon light So horrified I'm still searching for paw prints of the one That has once burned bright
We all are standing on the shoulders of giants, and yet – deemed to make our own mistakes and get our own bruises. That's the way it is and that's the way it always has been. I started writing songs long before I picked up a guitar or joined my first punk band. In some 40 kilometers from this exact place, in an old wooden shack 25 years before a blond curly hair version of me couldn't go to sleep without singing a dozen or so of trendy pop songs. Nothing really changed. I doubt that it ever will. Even when I'm gone, even when everything's gone – the White Sea will remember.