- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Introduction | pg. 2 - Eight | pg. 3 - Eight | pg. 4 - Eight | pg. 5 - Eight | pg. 6 - Eight
pg. 7 - The Dharma Wheel | pg. 8 - Still | pg. 9 - Envelopes of Yesterday | pg. 10 - A Tumbling Kite
pg. 11 - An Empty Town | pg. 12 - The Piper | pg. 13 - A House of Hopes and Dreams
pg. 14 - The Night People | pg. 15 - River of Life | pg. 16 - Photos of Ghosts
pg. 17 - Promenade the Puzzle

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Cruets Full of Dreams

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Neil Ingram:

Verse two (I think) broadens the focus to consider the life of a professional writer in a professional band. Its imagery is about money, colleagues that pull in different directions, management (John Purser). It is depressing, for what we are left with are financial ‘bills’.

Jon Green:

Yes. The second verse also contains several pointed references to Robert Fripp.

"I feel like a tumbling kite there's no hand on my reel."

The same lack of direction we all feel when unemployed.

"I dived aboard your star-bright ship to find you'd left the wheel"

Captain Nemo-Fripp's star-bright ship.

"To hunt some upstart passengers who had gambled with their fare"

"Fripp used the contributions of nine musicians to get the sound he wanted, but if King Crimson was a way of doing things, for Islands that way involved following Fripp's instructions to the letter. As drummer Wallace has testified, "Fripp was in one of his weird periods. You had to play everything the way he did it. There was no room to stretch out."

- Robert Fripp - From King Crimson to Crafty Master
by Eric Tamm

In November he was to say of the Earthbound period, "Having discovered what everybody [in the band] wanted to do, I found I didn't want to do it."

- Robert Fripp - From King Crimson to Crafty Master
by Eric Tamm

"Then trumpeted the hull with holes and laughing gone by air."

As a prelude to forming a new band, Robert Fripp dissolved the Islands era band.

"In the opening months of 1972 the remaining members of King Crimson -­ Fripp, Collins, Boz, and Wallace - were not exactly congealing into what one would describe as a happy family. Yet, as reports of inner dissent came out in the press, the band was booked for one more American tour. As Fripp was later to write, the Earthbound tour "was conducted in the knowledge that the group would disband afterwards."

- Robert Fripp - From King Crimson to Crafty Master
by Eric Tamm

"Immediately following the Earthbound tour, in May 1972, Fripp set about forming a new King Crimson. This time, you can practically hear the man muttering under his breath, it's no more Mr. Nice Guy. In point of fact, Fripp was determined to make a break from the chaos and instability of KC II as well as from some of the musical styles of that "interim" period."

- Robert Fripp - From King Crimson to Crafty Master
by Eric Tamm

"Whilst most of us who stayed aboard slipped brandy to the crew"

Mutiny in the ranks. Drinking and...? in response to a stressful work environment.

"John Purser locked his iron box and pointed at the queue."

Would John Purser be EG management locking the iron box (cutting off the flow of funds) in response to weak album sales? Perhaps "the queue" is the unemployment line or the line at the ticket window - or both.

"Still working out the price of time no echoes will we lay;
So I've burnt the till and I've thrown the bills
In the weary envelopes of yesterday."

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Neil Ingram:

In V1 Peter seems to be contemplating his failure as a ‘visionary’ and lyric writer and in V2 as a businessman.

V3 is a powerful restatement by the ‘me’ visionary of what he wants to achieve. It lifts the song from depression into a powerful agent of change.

"I need to suck the breasts of time and freeze her milk in ink"

Jon Green:

I take this to mean "I need to figure out what the hell happened and put it into words".

"To juggle cruets full of dreams and balance on the brink."

It could be that Peter had lost (some of) his dreams at this point and was looking to find them again. One cannot juggle dreams unless he possesses them. Balancing on the brink (a highwire act) requires nerve. Perhaps, at this point, Peter had lost his confidence, or feared he was in imminent danger of doing so.

Neil Ingram:

Im not sure one can possess a dream: mine seem to possess me! I think this is a poetical expression of the need to go and experience the richness of life and experience danger again. Why cruets? Containers for the bread and wine at the Eucharist, presumably, rather than salt and pepper pots. This elevates the importance of the dreams to a life-giving force.

"Don't blame me if my smoke and steam obscured your
rutted track,
I only meant to startle you not offer you my back"

Jon Green:

"I've got a low boredom threshold. I like investigating stuff. Robert Fripp is someone who gets stuck in his ways and then follows it for a period of time; I'm a person who likes to jump about more."

- Peter Sinfield, Voiceprint newsletter 1996

"To ride upon and overload with your jars of unbaked clay.
You can find your guide to the pulpit ride
in the dreary envelopes of yesterday."

These lines also seem to be directed at Robert Fripp, who, to this day, offers us, what could be described as, half-baked ("unbaked clay") aphorisms on his web site.

"Impermanent and unstable are all conditioned things, essentially brittle, like an unbaked pot. Like some borrowed article, like a town built on sand, they last for a short while only."

- Buddha
Lalitavistara XIII (pg 161)

"I'm not sure how much sense the Guitar Craft literature would have made to me had I not attended a seminar first. Without the context of my experience described in the preceding chapter, I might have been more inclined to write off the prose monographs as pedantic, impenetrable, and dense, and the Aphorisms as alternately quaint and cliché, profound and smug. As it is, I tend to see the literature as one small part of the total Guitar Craft situation Fripp has painstakingly constructed for the education of his students."

- Robert Fripp - From King Crimson to Crafty Master
by Eric Tamm

Neil Ingram:

It is also a counterblast against the basement culture of people’s expectations that Peter is offering some kind of messianic solution.

Jon Green:

Interesting that you use the term "basement culture" which is awfully close to Robert Fripp's "basement-dweller". It seems to me that significantly more people have messianic expectations of Fripp than Sinfield. For example, I received one e-mail asking me to explain how the Sinfield albums trace Robert Fripp's spiritual development. Apparently, events in the years following Peter's departure from the group have left a more than residual impression that his lyrics were the divinely inspired word of Fripp! Ironically, Peter IS offering a solution which most people (human nature being what it is) would take as messianic (in the traditional "follow me/worship me" sense of the word) if they halfway understood it.

Neil Ingram:

I don't think that these lines are necessarily only directed to Robert Fripp. I suspect that they are intended to address Peter's impatience with audience (nearly wrote 'audients' then - ugh!). I suppose that he must have endured many people's attempts at pastiching his style over the years. Robert Fripp calls such people 'basement dwellers'. Yes, it did influence my term 'basement culture'. Is there a PJS cult? Well, I read Carter's DGM guestbook postings with a wry smile. But then, he has a book to promote!

Still II ~ Envelopes of Yesterday return to
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Still II~ An Empty Town

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
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