Words & Music: Bobby Shiflett
From By Turns. || Stephen Casteel: Guitar | Andrew Reid: Bass | Bobby Shiflett: Lead Gtr & Backing Vox | Kenneth Shiflett: Drums | Laura Stansell: Lead Vox & Backing Vox.
I heard the wind cry the name of Zion
I saw her image in the shifting sand
She wanted a shoulder to cry on
She wanted someone to understand
There aint no saints in Zion
No sinners either as far as I know
There aint no bag of tricks
No quick and easy fix
In Zion it’s just a show.
I swam in the streams of Babylon
I swam in the water of the Rivers of Life
The Priest of the Stars, he knew my name there
He knew the troubles I call my life
There aint no saints in Babylon
No sinners either as far as I can tell
You can get your kicks
On the other side of the River Styx
But in Babylon, life is hell
Why am I talking to you anyway?
You never hear what I have to say
You never dared and you never will
Your life is a dream because you’re asleep
There’s more to love than you can keep
There’s more to life than you can kill
Underneath the cedars of Lebanon
Sleeps the secret of a holy land.
The seventh son of a seventh son
Aint the son of the prodigal man
There aint no saints in Lebanon
No sinners either as far as I can see
I’ve been up and down these roads
All the way to Jericho
On up to Tyre through Galilee
Still not free
Still not free
Get your kicks on Route 666….
On the surface, this seems to be about the conflicts in the Middle East, and a reckoning of the claims of ancestral and religious legitimacy of various factions. The lines “there aint no saints …aint no sinners” calls to mind a quote often wrongly attributed to St. Augustine — ‘There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future’ (Persian Rosary by Aḥmad Sohráb) and, as far as this lyric goes, suggests that all parties share in the creation of their conditions. Blame is useless and simply exacerbates those conditions.
“swam in the water of the Rivers of Life” is an allusion to The Rivers of Life, a work on comparative mythology by Major General Forlong. AVAILABLE: VOLUME 1 and VOLUME 2 Flow Chart available HERE