Survivor's Tale

by Les Thomas

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1.
The fog is lifting above the river Separates these shores Worn down by time The stream is surging It’s silently urging me To look at its reflection And everything it holds Well I’ve finally found an answer It’s not what I expected But I can only thank you For giving me the truth Now I won’t wonder And I need not bother you With questions that fluster And force you to retreat Well I know that change will come But I won’t go If we can’t find forgiveness There’s no peace we can know It’s just and early warning that I’ll take And I could let it throw me down But I can’t afford to break There’s a haunting feeling A voice that’s appealing To hear things clearly And set my mind to rest You wash the tired illusions from my eyes You spared me all the dangers Of those seductive lies All I believe I must let go All we conceive time can only know Stand beside me see this river flow Look into its currents Moving logs and shaping stones Well I’ve finally found an answer It’s not what I expected But I can only thank you For giving me the truth Now I won’t wonder And I need not bother you With questions that fluster And force you to retreat Stand beside me see this river flow Look into its currents Moving logs and shaping stones
2.
To the spark that lit a father’s eye Maybe a child can teach a man to fly And I dreamed of you so long ago It took a leap of faith to make it so Your mother and I both hold you in our heart We couldn’t share a home and so we had to part But we shared a love when we gave you your name And if nothing else, please know you’re not to blame This could be an invocation Sing it softly at the dawn Survivors’ tales were written in you On the day that you were born Can you hear the voices of the ones before? From the many ships that landed on this shore And the ones that come from this land itself For they are here to guide and they are here to help And the lessons learned will see you through In the gifts they passed from us to you Because there are no riches but the riches of love And there’s nothing you can’t rise above This could be an invocation Sing it softly at the dawn Survivors’ tales were written in you On the day that you were born To the spark that lit a fathers eye Maybe a child can teach a man to fly And I dreamed of you so long ago It took a leap of faith to make it so
3.
Woody played songs on picket lines After downing tools from painting signs Woody was a dust bowl refugee But the one sign he painted on his guitar Words for the world that travelled far Words that carried on to you and me “This Machine Kills Facists” rang out clear Unite good workers, you’ve nothing to fear This land will be ours some sunny day Wrote ‘Deportees’ all those years ago ‘Bout the heartless voices on the radio Jesus y Maria, come and stay If Woody had lived till the present day Bet he’d speak out loud and have a lot to say Maybe his machine would cut razor wire Still a hard time to be a refugee This land still ain’t ours, we’re still not free This machine will cut razor wire When your home in this world is a three-foot cell You know they’re sending human rights to hell This machine cuts razor wire And do you think the jailers can understand That they’re immigrants on stolen land? These machines cut razor wire These machines cut razor wire These machines cut razor wire These machines cut razor wire These machines cut razor wire
4.
Free Ranjini 03:21
Ranjini weeps three children at her side When the pain becomes too much to hide Authorities claim she’s a security threat But time will prove them liars yet In the detention centre at Villawood They try to imagine a life that’s good This could all be over, you must understand With a signature from the minister’s hand Ranjini, we have heard your plea You’re not a threat to this country It’s time to set you and your children free Free Ranjini, Free Ranjini Paari was born behind the razor wire Should be enough to raise this nation’s ire But Brandis is his cruelty would claim “They only have themselves to blame” ASIO says you could do us harm But the only thing that raises my alarm Is in hurting you so needlessly How can we let a child suffer with PTSD? Ranjini, we have heard your plea You’re not a threat to this country It’s time to set you and your children free Free Ranjini, Free Ranjini How they’ve held you without trial so long Is a sign they can’t tell right from wrong The rule of law has been denied But there are many standing by your side Is it all we can offer to a family in need? What does it say about us that they’re still not freed? “A life full of grief” just will not do So we send a song of freedom to you Ranjini, we have heard your plea You’re not a threat to this country It’s time to set you and your children free Free Ranjini, Free Ranjini Free Ranjini, Free Ranjini Free Ranjini, Free Ranjini
5.
Please spare me all your alibis I knew just where you were Yeah, I saw it all with my own eyes There’s so much that I’ve learned Well we’re not the only ones to feel the shame Of a stain we can’t remove I only know if we survive this darling There’ll be nothing left to prove And if you and I should ever meet In a world without hatred or conceit Maybe there we can find all the comfort we seek May not come in a day, may not come in a week Don’t go and beat yourself up now You know that that won’t do You’re only human and I realise Yeah, darling, I’ve got my flaws too But let’s not pretend it’s all OK Let’s not brush it all aside Seems we’ve all got a debt to pay All got a secret to confide And if you and I should ever meet In a world without hatred or conceit Maybe there we can find all the comfort we seek May not come in a day, may not come in a week You sip at your coffee while we talk You’ve always liked it strong You can feel that caffeine kicking in But it’s a high that won’t last long I remember back when we were kids How you held me so enthralled And how your name would set off sparks in me Every time I heard it called And if you and I should ever meet In a world without hatred or conceit Maybe there we can find all the comfort we seek May not come in a day, may not come in a week
6.
Unpaved 03:47
I pulled my shoes on quietly With dawn still several hours away I saw my chance and ran Could have died back there But I had another plan Must have made five miles before day break Seemed a worthwhile risk to take But what could I do? The only hope I saw Was just to try and make it through I could not help but follow you And I know you scaled these mountains too But you were miles away Way out where the road remains unpaved I was looking out for passing cars Where the maps are written in the stars Sometimes weeks can pass without a human sighting Songlines echo in that place They help me keep a steady pace And I thank the ones Who sang the words that guaranteed our survival I could not help but follow you And I know you scaled these mountains too But you were miles away Way out where the road remains unpaved
7.
My name is Selva Kulachelvan And I am fighting for my life Thirty-seven months I’ve been held I miss my child I miss my wife Escaped the clutches of the men with guns Sri Lanka was my home Australia put me in a prison camp Now it’s three years gone Here they treat me like a worthless human being Do they see me as a worthless human being? They do not know Officials here they question me They say they want me to return But how can I go back now When I have seen my people burn? It’s hard to go on living When your future is denied Years will wear you down it’s true I could be one more suicide So say I’m not a worthless human being Cos no one needs a worthless human being My family need a worthwhile human being So they can they know My little girl wasn’t even born When I crossed the raging sea My daily voice on the telephone Is all she knows of me I hold her photo in my hand And I dream of a better time How do I explain her dad’s in jail When I’m guilty of no crime? Can you see me as a worthwhile human being? Only want to be a worthwhile human being Can you let me be a worthwhile human being? We all need to know
8.
Take a look at something here I’ve found Something probably better left buried in the ground I put it in my pocket here to keep Feel a little safer when I push it down so deep I set it up, roll it over, send it down Steel my heart, shield my mind, I won’t drown Coming up, fill my lungs, taste the air Lay it low, hold it up, strip it bare What do I hold? Is it a promise or a threat? Will it fulfill me or leave me in regret? Is it a punishment or a glittering reward? I hope there’s not some fatal flaw I may have just ignored I set it up, roll it over, send it down Steel my heart, shield my mind, I won’t drown Coming up, fill my lungs, taste the air Lay it low, hold it up, strip it bare Found a neat solution With a man I met in town He gave me gold and riches For the treasures that I found I thanked him and we parted ways I tried to live my days in peace Haven’t seen him around here since But the worries still won’t cease I set it up, roll it over, send it down Steel my heart, shield my mind, I won’t drown Coming up, fill my lungs, taste the air Lay it low, hold it up, strip it bare Woah strip it bare
9.
What would I give to set you free? Cast off these chains of misery I’d give everything of my body and mind To spare you grief of any kind It’s your life and their game You’re still breathing all the same You’re still breathing all the same You weren’t defeated You stepped out of the void You were scarred and beaten But you were not destroyed And when I look back at where we’ve been All the bullets we dodged in that deep ravine Feel kinda lucky just to make it in one piece And I thank the day of our final release I thank the day of our final release Oh yeah, yes I do There’s a card for fortune, a card for war A card for healing every heart ache from before You still breath, you still smile World still turns and the sun still shines It’s your life and their game You’re still breathing all the same You’re still breathing all the same I’m so glad you’re breathing just the same I’m so glad you’re breathing just the same
10.
Forevermore 06:01
It’s 9 O’Clock Monday night and I’m just waiting to hear the jingle of your keys You’ve been away so long I draw the lines of your face On a bottle that’s so cold my finger freeze So come home, please It seems like hours or is it days that I’ve been staring at a quiet telephone If your voice could break the silence then my eyes would open wide I’d pull you in and hold you close and warm Out of that storm If I had a choice, I’d choose to spend my days with you We would run the streets of this town, darling, in the pouring rain We could rest a while then do it all again Just tell me when It’s just a thought that comes to me every now and then And there’s a dance that I’m rehearsing in the back of my mind I’ll share it with you one day in good time All in good time Sometimes I rush Sometimes I fail to say the things that linger in this beating heart But I should let you know I never doubted you’re the one for me I feel it hit me every time we part Maybe I should start to not deny you all the secrets of my heart Cos I’ve spent too long down here in these valleys of neglect And I trust you with the words that I impart You’ll know my heart Now I can hear your steps Your keys they jingle as you open up the door I see you smile and hug you like it’s been ten long years Please tell me that you’ll stay forevermore Stay forevermore

credits

released November 9, 2013

All songs written by Les Thomas
Produced by Les Thomas

Recorded at The Enclave Recording Facility by Jeff Lang (Survivor’s Tale, Free Ranjini, Song For Selva, These Machines Cut Razor Wire, Shaping Stones, plus additional overdubs) in 2013 and Head Gap by Neil Thomason with assistance from Ben Franz (Unpaved, World Without Hatred, Strip it Bare, Still Breathing and Forevermore) in 2011.

Mixed by Colin Wynne with assistance from Lily Rose at Thirty Mill Studios, Brunswick.

Mastered by Adam Dempsey at Deluxe Mastering, Brunswick.

Vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica by Les Thomas

Love and thanks to the players
Jeff Lang, Ben Franz, Justin Bernasconi, Cat Canteri, Ashley Davies, Alison Ferrier, Mandy Connell, Ruth Lindsey and Grant Cummerford.

Artwork by Tim Molloy

With full acknowledgement and respect to the traditional owners
of the land on which this work was created.

www.lesthomasmusic.com

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about

Les Thomas Melbourne, Australia

Les Thomas is a Melbourne singer-songwriter and storyteller, known for his compelling lyrics, catchy melodies and engaging live performances.

“Les Thomas makes me want to be a better person . . . he’s a bloody good singer-songwriter.”
— Timber and Steel

"It's people like Les Thomas that keep the origins of folk forefathers alive and true." — Lauren Duiker, The Orange Press
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