The Kind Land (Serinam)

1998 Gordon Bok

 

This song came to me in the waters off my home over a few hard days and nights in August, 1998. Mostly it came at night, and once the same tune was came in an unfamiliar language not too uncommon in my creative drifts. Serinam is the only word I kept, because I lover the sound, because it seemed to be a person's name and place name at the same time, and I felt the need to honor the gift in kind.

The human history of this land appears to be one of displacement rather than inclusion; the new has tended to drive out the old rather than living with and learning from the old.

The Kind Land mourns the passing of generations of people who had to know this land with an intimacy that most present and future occupiers will never know.

I write this a year later in the same cove where most of this song came to me, in the good waters, in the kind land, and the same old moon, I'd be willing to bet, will be lifting in a few hours.

 

Gordon 12-string guitar

Sung by The January Men and Then Some

 

O the moon is riding high Serinam, Serinam

O the moon is riding high, Serinam

She won't look you in the eye, she won't look you in the eye

She don't want to see you cry, in the kind land.

 

Now it's hard to go ashore in the land, in the land

O it's hard to go ashore in the land

All the people on the shore, all the people on the shore

They don't see us anymore, in the kind land.

 

Now the people from the town in the land, in the land

All the people from the town in the land

They don't mean to take you down, they don't mean to take you down

They're still looking for the ground in the kind land.

 

They don't know the life we keep in the land, in the land

They don't know the life we keep in the land

They neither fish nor sow nor reap, neither fish nor sow nor reap

And for them the land is cheap, in the kind land.

 

And it's sad to see it so in the land, in the land

Oh it's sad to see it so in the land

But there's one thing its good to know, there's one thing it's good to know

As we come so will we go in the kind land.

 

O the moon is riding high Serinam, Serinam

O the moon is riding high, Serinam

She won't look you in the eye, she won't look you in the eye

She don't want to make you cry, in the kind land.

 

 

The Kind Land is recorded on the album In the Kind Land and is also in the songbook One to Sing, One to Haul