There Is One River, Infinitely Long

by grant

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This is a power-pop song about the pre-Socratic philosophers, which means it's about water and fire and the movement of time.

I originally wrote it just as lyrics for a "Game of Bands" contest on reddit, but decided I liked the way the words fit this music so much, I started adding on.

Next thing I know, my friend Harry Monkhorst is adding guitars and drums and background vocals, and then I'm putting fuzz-toned bass on there and man, everything has fallen together like it was meant to do that.



Thales... told the general
how to cross the river
how to reach the other side

"Hey, we... simply give the men some
shovels & forget about the bridges
& this river, we'll divide"

[CH x2]
This river, we'll divide
This river, we'll divide
This river, we'll divide

Things change... or so said Heraclitus
While there's a spark inside us,
We can't wash away our names

Kings, sages, poets, farmers, madmen, swimmers
Stick toes in like beginners
But the river's not the same

[CH x2]
The river's not the same
The river's not the same
The river's not the same

Zeno held a race
Across one half the space
Then half the half,
And half half that,

Just sign your name
On half this blank
Once you're halfway
to the bank

if half the boats
that sailed have sank
their teeth into
the autocrat

& wiped the half-smile
From his face
He'll never get
past second place

Even if the river breaks
The river wouldn't ever
No the river wouldn't ev-
The river wouldn't
No the river would
the river would
the river

[CH x4]

The river wouldn't break
The river wouldn't break
The river wouldn't break

This river, we'll divide
And keep our powder dry
Though we're all water inside
We keep bursting into flames
Try to wash away our names
The river's not the same
The water always changes

**Pronunciations & Explanations:
Thales - THAIL-ease (although in Modern Greek, more like "T(h)ALL-ees" )(
Believed everything was fundamentally made of water. Credited with creating "natural philosophy" - the first form of science. Also an engineer, who helped a general get his army across a river by diverting half the flow and creating, in effect, two smaller, more easily forded rivers.
Lived 624 – 546 BCE

Heraclitus - Hair-uh-CLITE-us (although in Modern Greek, more like "Air-AH-cleet-oos")
( )
Believed everything was fundamentally made of fire, and everything was constantly in a state of flux. Said you could never step in the same river twice (because the water keeps flowing - only the outline remains the same). He was the king of the Ionians (mostly an honorific title in his lifetime - they were ruled by Persia), but handed the crown to his brother to go off and philosophize.
Lived 535 – 475 BCE

Zeno - ZEE-no
There are two Zenos, which is funny because the older Zeno (of Elea) is known for paradoxes based on dividing things into smaller and smaller parts. The younger Zeno (of Citium) is known for founding the Stoic school of dudes who, like, lived in barrels and did without anything they considered unnecessary. The older, paradoxical Zeno died a METAL death... he was arrested for trying to overthrow "Nearchus the Tyrant". After being tortured, he said he'd tell the tyrant what he wanted to know, but only by whispering it to him. Nearchus leaned in close and Zeno bit him, not unclenching his jaws "until he lost his life and the tyrant lost that part of his body," according to Valerius Maximus. The body part was either the tyrant's ear or his nose, depending on who you believe.
Get the cosmic joke? The philosopher who kept dividing indivisible things dies biting off a dude's ear?
Lived 490 – 430 BCE (the older) or 335 – 263 BCE (the younger)


released December 4, 2015
Grant Balfour - guitars and basses and voxes
Harry Monkhorst - more guitars, drums 'n' shakers, background voxes