The Truth Behind the Song #1 – Kate Ellis’ ‘Carve Me Out’

Welcome to our brand new feature, ‘The Truth Behind the Song’. For the feature, we’ve asked a number of our favourite artists to give us in-depth piece about a song that has a special place in their heart. Today we feature the wonderful Kate Ellis, who tells us the moving and powerful tale of the ‘truth’ behind ‘Carve Me Out’.

“I wrote this song the morning after my mother died. I woke up in dream state after a few hours sleep and wrote “Carve Me Out” in one go. The process was one of instant download – the music and lyrics just spilled out onto the paper.

In Joan Didion’s memoir on grief called “The Year of Magical Thinking”, she describes how, when one is confronted with something that you can’t quite take in, the mind creates alternative realities in an attempt to make sense of something that makes no sense to you. I think this is what was going on when I wrote this song.

I also read somewhere that when someone is dying, it is like they are travelling farther and farther away on a ship. I think in some way I thought my mother had just gone somewhere too far away, “beyond these pastures…beyond these seas…” and what I most needed to do, what was imperative at that very moment, was to find a way to get to her and bring her back. I felt I had to bring her back to me because I couldn’t bear to let her go.

So I was going to find “a sturdy wooden ladder” or a “mighty wooden ship” that would take me to her. I was going to climb on “a giant raven” or a “shooting star”. Whatever it took, I was going to find a way to get to her. I didn’t care how far I had to go or how long it was going to take. “Carve Me Out” became the title track on my debut album that came out last year. In the end, I wrote it because I just wanted to bring my mother back to me. And in some ways, through this song, I did.

Kate Ellis

 

Full Lyrics

Carve me out
A sturdy wooden ladder
Carve me out
A mighty wooden ship
Carve me out
A magic winged vessel
I’m going to find my darling one

But she is off beyond these pastures
And she is out beyond these seas
She is high above these mountains
And she is watching over me

Send me out
Upon a giant raven
Send me out
Upon a shooting star
Send me down
A crashing, rocky river
As I must travel far

But she is off beyond these pastures
And she is out beyond these seas
She is high above these mountains
And she is watching over me

She’s in every room I walk in
Her beauty is everything I see
She’s in the faces of my children
She is living on in me

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