The Sun's Coming Over the Hill

03:58
Frank Blair
(© 2004 Karine Polwart, published by Bay Songs Ltd.)

Story

From the CD "Cathedral of Memory"

In 1985/86 I attended a Jesuit institution of higher learning in Kansas City, Missouri called Rockhurst College (now University.) Among the degree requirements were a few hours of both theology (the search for religious truth via reason) and philosophy (the search for universal truth via reason.) One of my first classes was called “Four Questions on Persons” taught by Fr. W. L. La Croix., S.J wherein I was introduced to a work by the French philospher Albert Camus called “The Myth of Sisyphus.” 

In Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king who offended the gods by thinking himself their equal by reporting and commenting on the sexual indiscretions of Zeus. As a punishment for his hubris, Zeus ordered Thanatos to chain Sisyphus in Tartarus. Sisyphus, however, tricked Thanatos into chaining himself, thus making it so that no mortal could actually die. As a further punishment for his trickery, Sisyphus was forced to push a giant boulder up a hill only to have it roll back down into a valley and begin again the next day.

One of the things that Fr. La Croix argued was that in his writing, Camus suggests that the single, great philosophical question that pertains to humanity is whether or not to commit suicide.  We all, either tacitly or explicitly, answer that question every day, much as Sisyphus does. If we continue to live we have decided that there is something to live for.

This song reminds me of that and, despite the heavy context, is a happy song. My friend William Morris provides backing vocals.

 

Lyrics

Six rain-laden summers and she still had an eye for me
She’d kiss me each evening and told me she’d die for me
Then she ran off the road full of whiskey and irony
She always meant what she said

So I took to the whiskey so I could recall
The taste of her mouth on my mouth, that’s all
And I tried the same trick with a truck but it stalled
The engine was better off dead
 

Refrain
Oh, oh the nights are long
But life is longer still
Oh, oh the nights are long
But the sun’s coming over the hill


The taste never left me, I don’t guess it will
And it caused me to supplement whiskey with pills
But there was something inside of me that I couldn’t kill
Believe me, I really did try
 

Refrain
 

There’s some say you get what you deserve but they’re wrong
Sometimes you just get what you’re given and then it’s all gone
Sometimes it’s enough to be sufficiently strong
To daily decide not to die


Refrain
 

I can’t say there’s many things that I wouldn’t change
There’s better times gone than those that remain
But I can find joy in the sound of the rain
You have to find joy where you can


Refrain

Streaming Samples

Newsletter Signup