The High Countries

Since some of my friends blogged about going to a Caedmon's Call concert, I thought I would point out one of my favorite songs of theirs, "The High Countries," from their album Back Home. I really grew to love this song when I recognized themes from C. S. Lewis's book The Great Divorce.
Since then I've read author Sandra McCracken's explanation for the song:

"This song is based on C.S. Lewis’ book “The Great Divorce.” It borrows Lewis’ spiritual analogies of the things that would keep someone from salvation. The term “high countries” represents heaven and a chance to be reconciled with God. The lyrics are pulled out of the book with detail and description, but even for those who are unfamiliar with the text, the song circles universal themes of brokenness, spiritual indecision and the human heart’s natural resistance to salvation."

Here are the lyrics:

A bus station, in the steam from the rain
In this line of pale strangers, should I go or stay?
The whole field of vision, fades beneath me now
And the houses spread for a million miles,in this gray town
And the weight of glory, if you held it in your hand
It would pass right through you, so now's your chance

Would you fall to pieces
Would you fall to pieces
Would you fall to pieces
In the high countries?

We are just pilgrims of the great divorce
I am witness to the light and I am captive to my own remorse
And the weight of glory, if you held it in your hand
It would pass right through you, so now's your chance
You drink the cup to the bottom, but it burns in your hands
The cup was poured out on the Maker instead
Out on the green plains, I am but a ghost
Bound up with all that I call "mine"
Still the light grows

And the weight of glory, if you held it in your hand
It would pass right through you, so now's your chance


You can listen to a sample or purchase the song here.

6 comments:

mwh said...

I didn't know what this song was about, and had never really taken time to work through the lyrics. I haven't read Lewis's work, though, either. Thanks for the info.

melissa said...

Caedmon's Call is one of my favorite bands to listen to while working. Lately I've been very fascinated by the song "mystery of mercy" off the back home album. I feel like it should be the soundtrack to a video or something.. it keeps inspiring me to make something that illustrates the same point, but I don't know exactly what yet.

lisatatj said...

That's really cool...I never made the connection! Thanks!

Tim said...

I just gotta say that that is a gorgeous album cover.

The music ain't bad either.

Anna said...

That's pretty cool that the song was inspired by The Great Divorce. Isn't it neat that Tolkien and Lewis inspired musicians and writers and movie directors?

Bethany said...

It's been a few years since I read The Great Divorce, but I really liked it a lot when I did. In fact, I actually wrote a (terrible) song based on it when I was first learning to play guitar in high school. Fortunately, it (the song, not the book) has since been purged from my mind. :) I will happily substitute the Caedmon's take on the book, as it is superior in every way.

I also have a hankering to re-read the book now!