The song’s two titles are, respectively, for the new beginning and for the slow hope of some approaching joy. It is the beginning of a story told in reverse and a reminder that the end of one story is always the beginning of another. It is about grief in several forms and is, in part, a rumination on the last two lines of Emily Dickinson’s poem 96 which read ‘Parting is all we know of heaven, / And all we need of hell.’
I spent the evening in reading poems from old lovers.
Emily, again, paints the world in rare-used color.
I dip my glass beneath the spring of this ancient fountain
And sip thy jessamines.
Hidden garden / forbidden mountain.
If I leave, with the ringing bell,
this is all I know of heaven and all I need of hell
Calm the raging storm.
If you can, I’ll give you everything.
Gentle diligence, burning off my unseen offering.
But would I leave if the seas don’t swell?
I'll tell you what I can of heaven and what I must of hell
Now my numb left forearm!
Now the blood in my cheeks!
Causes silent wonder,
growing silent need.
Oh the hope of heaven!
Is this hope I feel?
Still I hear the thunder, and the whimpering.