Leaving Terrapin

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

This is the penultimate song in Robert Hunter's Terrapin Station Suite. It was never played by the Grateful Dead (nor, so far as I know by Robert Hunter himself).

The lyrics below are from the second edition of his collected lyrics in "Box Of Rain". I have also include the earlier version from the first edition.

Be careful how you speak of us
Take no one's name in vain
Someday we are bound to meet
in Terrapin again (note 1)
As we lose our faith and trust,
guide us, though insane,
through cataracts of wailing souls
in search of face and name (note 2)

Was it you along beside me
who crawled out of the sea?
Who is that one sleeping
in the shadow of the tree?
Who is that beside her?
Is it who it seems to be?
Do not disturb their slumber
Oh, true love, let them be

Prophetic dreams and peaceful,
not tumultuous and deep
ease the crease upon their brows
and smile upon their sleep
While starfish gather coral
beneath the foam and froth,
they offer hymns to Isis
Orpheus and Astoroth (note 3)

Although the stars have shifted,
we're not lost
The westward rolling breeze
decides our course
Seems such a long, long time
since we last sighted land
but a seabird brought
this olive branch
and dropped it in my hand

All of this was sung before
and shall be sung again
Forgotten songs
reclaim their tunes
when leaving Terrapin
Orion sparkles overhead
but just a bit misplaced
Visions rescued from the dead
speak from your living face

You look to me like starshine
on the foothills of the moon
Crickets make the rhythm
and cicadas play the tune
When the music falters
growing ever dark and thin,
the light refrains from shining
on the gates of Terrapin

The banners of the station hang
like cobwebs from a dream
Echoes fade where music rang
and candles lose their gleam
Breath flies from the body
and inspiration fails
The storyteller packs his kit
and leaves the Land of Tales

If I've been a long time gone
It's not that love of you
has been forsaken or forgot
or halved and broke in two
Outside major darkness
where the circle is complete
there's no fear that lovers born (note 4)
will ever fail to meet

Inspiration move me right
Let sense and color guide me
Where other feet have stumbled
Lift me over lightly
Raise the rag-ends of a voice
to make some kind of song
Not to make it perfect
but more nearly right than wrong
Notes
(1) Hunter's online version has "in fortune's glade again"
(2) Hunter's online version has "in search of grace and fame"
(3) Hunter's online version has "Osiris and Astoroth"
(4) these two lines are also part of Corrina. Hunter explains this in a footnote in Box Of Rain:
"The careful reader will notice that the last two verse lines of Corrina have been lifted from Leaving Terrapin. That's because I wanted to hear them sung and had long since despaired of the Dead doing any of the new Terrapin material. So when Bob Weir requested an immediate additional bridge for Corrina during rehearsal, the lines suggested themselves."
The original version by Robert Hunter is below, with differences in red:
Be careful how you speak of us
Take no ones name in vain
One day we will surely meet
in Terrapin again
As we lose our faith and trust,
guide us, though insane,
through this catalogue of souls
in search of grace and fame

If I have been a long time gone
It's not that love of you
has been forgot or ever cooled
or halved and broke in two
Outside major darkness
where the circle is complete
there's no fear that lovers born (note 4)
will ever fail to meet

Was it you along beside me
who crawled out of the sea?
Who is that one sleeping
in the shadow of the tree?
Who is that beside her?
Is it who it seems to be?
Do not disturb their slumber
Oh, true love, let them be

Too many times awakened,
they've just gone back to sleep
This time their dreams are
peaceful
not tumultuous and deep
While starfish gather coral
beneath the foam and froth,
they offer hymns to Osiris
their hearts to Astoroth

Render us your blessing,
to multiply in kind
Send your mercy down among us
the lame and halt and blind
Let us rest at ease and if
you die before we do
leave us words of love and peace
to stand instead of you


and some of the time
let the sun shine
some of the time
let it shine


Although the stars have shifted,
we're not lost
The wind alone itself
decides our course
Seems such a long time
since we saw any land
but a seabird brought
this olive branch
and dropped it in my hand

All of this was sung before
and shall be sung again
Close your eyes
and hold your breath
and whisper Terrapin

Orion sparkles overhead
but just a bit misplaced
eternity accounts for that
and your ever-youthful
face

Inspiration move me right
Let sense and color guide me
Where other feet have stumbled
Lift me over lightly
Raise the weary voice and will
in strength to make a
song
Not to make it perfect
but more nearly right than wrong

and some of the time
let the sun shine
some of the time
let it shine

You look to me like starshine
on the foothills of the moon
Crickets make the rhythm
and cicadas play the tune
under a streaming sky
disguised as love alone
an ancient hunger wanders
like an ever-rolling stone


As long as it shines
by day or by night
as it does shine--
long as the light shines
in just enough dark
to be bright in
I know you
and you
know me, too



 


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