< Tenth song on Tori Amos' album Scarlet's Walk. >

CST Approved

if the rain
Has
to separate from
Itself
does it say
pick out your
cloud

Your Cloud is a beautifully sad song about separation and segregation and how impossible it is. Starting out describing how a couple that has once been deeply attached can never perfectly separate themselves from each other, it goes on to using nature images - rainclouds, rivers. On a deeper level, the song is about the separation of American Indians from their lands. Amos likens it to tearing a child away from its mother.

A fuzzy rhythm created by drums and piano makes the song's edges soft as cotton. It is slow and friendly, like clouds on a summer's day, like lying on a raft in the river next to your friend Huckleberry, gazing at the sky and thinking deep thoughts.

Your Cloud as a journey penetrates America. It starts in Laredo, Texas, and from there crosses the American continent going north east. For a while Scarlet follows the mighty Mississippi. Stopping in Memphis, she goes to see a monument dedicated to the thousands of Cherokees who died along the Trail of Tears, martyrs to an attempt to part them from the lands of their ancestors. Leaving the river, Scarlet also visits Civil War battlefields where other young people were taken from their lands with no less grief from those who were left behind. Scarlet stops in Philadelphia, where she sees the Liberty Bell, noting with understanding that it is cracked.

Something is wrong with painting the world black and white. Close your eyes, feel the sun, and imagine: Two happy people living on one big cloud of joy. Suddenly, a storm arrives - the minds darken. Their togetherness gives them no pleasure anymore, and they decide they must part ways. But how? They cannot well leave the cloud, falling tumbling down to earth. They try to put up a fence, but it falls through the cloud, leaving imprints of metal in the mist for a while. So they start the heart-wrenching task of deciding which part of their cloud belongs to whom, and scoop those parts out of reach from the other.

Where the river cross
crosses the lake
Where the words
Jump off my pen and
into your pages
Do you think
just like that
You can divide
This
You as yours
Me as mine
Two before we were
Us

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