Susan McKeown

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Rock - General | New York, United States
Total Song Plays: 2,034   
Member Since: 2009
   Last Login: over 30 days ago

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65

Song Description

the song tells the story of a pregnant teenager in poor rural Ireland who dies while secretly giving birth to her child. Catholic domination of Irish society at the time forbade abortions and even divorce. So the young woman is lying there dying, thinking of her own mother, trying to find sanctuary in faith but finding none.

Story Behind the Song

Dedicated to the memory of Ann Lovett (1968-1984). Most days, Ann Lovett missed the bustle and banter, preferring to take the short walk to her family home on Main Street where she would eat in the company of her younger sister, while their mother attended to the copious housework generated by a household of 11. On January 31, 1984, when morning classes ended, Ann left the school as usual, but she didn't go home. After calling briefly to a friend's house, where she asked for a cigarette, she slipped back through the small streets and disappeared into the grotto by the graveyard on the hill at the top of the town. It was cold and prematurely dark under the weak wintry sun and the only sounds she heard for the few hours she lay there were the rain falling on the dead leaves and her own stifled cries of pain. Young Jimmy Brady found her there at four in the afternoon on his way home from school after his eye was drawn to her schoolbag lying on the ground. She was semi-conscious and fatally weak from exposure and bleeding. The lifeless body of her six-and-a-half pound newborn baby boy lay nearby. The lonely deaths of 15-year-old Ann Lovett and her secret child became an event used to define the growing pains of a country caught half-way between past and progression. Personal tragedy became national scandal and both sides in a bitter wrangle over the future direction of Ireland used the incident to advance their case. Some bemoaned the loss of Catholic values among the young and lamented the demise of the Church's influence. Others argued the tragedy was the inevitable product of a repressed, hypocritical society which spouted Catholic diktat but spurned a frightened pregnant teenager. It was an emotive argument strengthened by the outcome of the divisive abortion referendum four months earlier in which a two-thirds majority voted to enshrine the right to life of the unborn in the Constitution, creating confusion over where that left the rights of the mother.

Lyrics

Mother, I remember you chanting
Seven cold glories for comfort
Singing Marys, I wanted to belive
That you saw heaven and you came back,
Touched my eyes and my voice
I left you but you never left me,
Me and my armour of memories

Girl, on the sacred earth
And for seven full hours she lay there
Chanting Marys, she hoped for a miracle
When from the night came a ship of lost souls with lost wishes - they never let go
I left you but you never left me,
Me and my armour of memories

There are those who pray and save,
Those who have a plan
But I'm always rushing, I never have the time]There's a faith that carries me, there's a love divine
There's a good out there, god I wish it was mine

Lover aren't you gonna show me the way
Cause I get so confused when you ask me
Sister give me your hand,
Try to tell me so I can understand
If I could take away this pain I would bury it
Beneath the sea that separates me
But you never left me
Me and my armour of memories

Song Length
3:12
Genres
Rock - General, World - Celtic
Tempo / Feel
Medium (111 - 130)
Lead Vocal
Female Vocal
Moods
Serene, Poignant

Subject Matter
Life, Spirituality

Similar Artists
Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega
Language
English
Era
2000 and later

Lyric Credits Susan McKeown
Music Credits Susan McKeown
Producer Credits Susan McKeown, Jon Spurney
Publisher Credits Sheila-na-Gig Music (IMRO)
Performance Credits Susan McKeown and the Chanting House
Label Credits SNG Music