Saturday, April 14, 2007

"The Dive", a True Story

Steve Knightley’s Track notes for this song on the Show of Hands album Witness say:

3. The Dive
A father and son known to me and a true story from the East Devon shoreline.

Personally, when I listen to this song I am amazed at the saving link between the father in his boat and the son, floating without any marker in the sea. It speaks to me of the metaphysical, yet very real, connection between parent and child. A fine song!

I tried to find the lyrics online but could not, so here is my (probably poor) transcripton. Apologies for any errors I have made, but this song and its lyrics are too good not to share. (If you find you love it as much as I do, you can download it from the iTunes Store!)

The Dive
(copyright Steve Knightley)

One November noon
We left the docks
Heading southwest
From Orcon (spelling?) rocks
My dad and me
Are nine to five
He used to steer
I used to dive

So over the side
I slowly went down
A hundred below
The seawater ground
Well, after an hour
I got low on air
When I surfaced again
His boat wasn't there.
My marker buoy
Had come untied
And drifted away
His boat at its side
He looked at his watch
Three miles to the South
And turned back again
His heart in his mouth

Soft rain on my face
The sun nearly set
I cut loose the waves
Let fall the nets
Lights on the shore
So bright and clear
The combs drifting in
And nobody near

Was there ever a reel
A rod or a line
So strong and true
So straight or fine?
The tide unwound him
Through time and space
He came out the darkness
Right to that place

Now we don't talk much
About that day
Got two kids of my own now
And one on the way
But if they're to grow
And if they're to thrive
One day they'll go
One day they'll dive
And when they come up
For light and air
I hope someone's close
I hope someone's there

It's November noon
We're leaving the docks
My son and me
For Orcon (sp?) rocks
Let's dive
Let's dive


Scorebored said...

Thank you for posting the lyrics, my sister. This is fine, fine stuff.

Laurel1861 said...

I grew up near the shore and around boats, so this song resonates with me in way I can't quite describe.

It is, indeed, a fine, fine song.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog whilst browsing around trying to identify WHERE the story takes place. Anyone know?

By the way, your transcription, I think it makes more sense "Our nine to five" i.e. "this is our regular job".

ccomley said...

Hah - my copy of Witness has a lyrics booklet. Check the front pocket of the sleeve!

"Dedicated to John and Dave Kerley", The Dive by Steve Knightley.

One november noon, we left the docks,
heading south west from Orcombe rocks.
My dad and me - our nine to five, he used to steer, I used to dive.
So over the side I slowly went down, a hundred below, the seawater brown.
But after an hour I got low on air. When I surfaced again, his boat wasn't there. My marker bouy had come untied and drifted away, his boat at its side.

He looked at his watch, three miles to the south, turned back again, his heart in his mouth. Soft rain on my face, the sun nearly set, I cut loose the weights let fall the nets. Lights onshore so bright and clear, the cold drifting in and nobody near.

Was there ever a real, a rod, or a line, so strong and so true, so straight or fine? The tie that wound him through time and space, he came out of the darkness right to that place.

Now we don't talk much about that day. Got two kids of my own now, and one on the way. But if they're to grow up and if they're to thrive, one day they'll go, one day they'll dive.

And when they come up for light and air, I hope someone's close, I hope someone's there!

It's november noon, we're leaving teh docks, my sone and me, from Orcombe rocks. Let's dive. Let's dive.

Laurel1861 said...

Probably somewhere near Orcon Rocks, wherever they are...and I am not sure of the spelling on Orcon, as I transcribed the lyrics by listening to the song...over, and over, and over...

I am certain they meant nine to five as their regular job, why else speak of his own children doing the same thing as they get older?

Wonderful song. Welcome to my blog.


Laurel1861 said...

THANK YOU for the correct spelling of Orcombe, ccomley. I looked on Google Earth for Orcombe Rocks, and got no results, however, when I searched the web I found Orcombe Point, which I believe to be the same location, as it is famous for its rocks.

Welcome to my blog!

alekhine said...

Last Saturday on Radio 4 (early! around 6-6.30 am) there was an extended item with Steve K talking about his songs and their relationship to the Devon landscape and people. It included a contribution from the son from "The Dive". He revealed that he and his father had not told his mother about the incident until Steve wrote the song. There were several other interesting accounts of the genesis of songs, such as "the Vale" from the most recent album.

On a more serious note, the last time I saw SOH live, Steve explained that his own child's serious recent illness gave "the Dive" new significance for him to the point that he had almost been unable to perform it.

Indeed, what a song. Particularly if you have a child yourself, I think.