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I Am Stretched on Your Grave - Sinéad O'Connor

After last post, this track from the classic album "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" (see previous 5 posts) keeps recurring in my mind as the appropriate Sinéad O'Connor sign-off. After all, it's where she started - an irresistible fusion of rock and Irish traditional music - with a lyric lifted from a seventeenth century Irish poem, "Táim Sínte ar do Thuama", in an adaption translated and originally put to music by seminal Irish folk rocker Philip King of the band Scullion.

Listening to O'Connor's songs with the benefit of hindsight, one can't help noticing the repeating resonances of her themes, as though she could see her life unfurling before her and was caught in the headlight glare of her own future. The words of "I Am Stretched on Your Grave", those of a woman in mourning, stretched out on her lover's grave, now have a triple echo, that of the tragic death of O'Connor's son Shane in 1922, and O'Connor's taking of her own life eighteen months later:

"I am stretched on your grave and will lie there forever if your hands were in mine I'd be sure we'd not sever

my apple tree, my brightness it's time we were together for I smell of the earth and am worn by the weather."

With her icy, trance-like, almost devotional vocal and the excoriating, very Celtic, closing violin solo by the legendary Steve Wickham that together feel like a portrait of a woman on fire, Sinéad O'Connor simultaneously embraces and fights against the Irish tradition, something she was to do all her life.


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