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Mary's Eyes

Lyrics by Tori Amos

what's behind Mary's Eyes
Mary's Eyes
Mary's Eyes

the Death Midwife
can you bring her back to life
the Death Midlife
can you bring her back to life

Sister Despair
Sister Despair
can you bring the Dream King to me
Sister Despair
hide your tears around Mary
we've got to get her to
Joy to The World
Joy to The World

Hymns for us to sing
She's a believer
Hymns locked in her memory
I'm a believer they're the key

What's behind Mary's Eyes
patterns matter
stringing sequences together matters
to bring
bring her back to us

the Death Midwife
can you bring her back to life

Sister Despair
Sister Despair
she must not see you cry
hide your tears
can't we just bring her Delight


Tori Quotes

Songs are the way that I understand what's really going on -- what I'm either hiding from myself or feeling. And also sometimes with a song -- it's almost like it's already there and just needs to be expressed. If I could express what was going on in any other way, I probably wouldn't write that song. Something strange had happened before all this happened to Mary and changed Mary's life. Somebody got in touch with somebody who then got in touch with Neil Gaiman, who is my spirit brother, and he talked to me about a Death Midwife up in Scotland, who had sent a note about what she does. She helps people to cross to the other side. So I started to think -- well, if you can help them across to the other side, why can't you help cross 'em back? [The 405 - September 5, 2017]

[My mother] Mary had a severe stroke in January; she had not been well, but her mind had been sharper than mine right before it. I happened to be at the beach house at the time, which is in Florida -- not far from her, but not close enough. It happened at home. My dad was there. We rushed to the hospital when he called and then that began that journey.

She's now home with full-time care -- and the ladies are spiritual ladies and they adore her, but she's paralyzed on the right side and she can't speak. When you sing hymns or things that are there in her memory, she will try to form the words with you, but without music she has an almost impossible time forming a word that is understandable. So in a way she's trapped and I know it frustrates her.

But she's still fighting; she's wanting to stay on the planet. Therefore, all of us are fighting with her. And that's been really humbling and inspirational. All these very different emotions -- to see her not wanting to leave -- because there is distress there. You can see there are times when she's in distress, and then there are times that you can see that she's not. So that song is very much inspired by that.

Within many months before that, my spirit brother [author] Neil Gaiman sent me a message that a woman in Scotland who is a dead midwife had a message and that was that: while she's helping people to cross over to the other side, sometimes it's more difficult than others. During this one crossover session -- I think someone in hospice -- he wasn't quite ready to surrender to going and seemed to be very agitated. She sang one of my songs from years and years and years ago and that was the moment that he crossed over to the other side and she wanted to share that with me.

But what really spoke to me was the idea of a death midwife. In [Gaiman's] Sandman comics, death is one of the sisters, so I felt like I needed to bring [one of Gaiman's characters called] the Dream King -- he's been in a few songs [like "Tear in Your Hand"] over the years -- into this story. [Tidal - September 8, 2017]


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