A POINT ON THE MAP

KAREN BURTON

The songs on this CD have been inspired by people and events on three seperate continents, spanning thousands of miles across the globe.

Tracks featured:

Roof Of The World

You have to go back many years to find a world map which shows Tibet as a country in its own right. Since Chinese occupation began in 1949, it has been merely classed as a 'province' of its powerful neighbour. After nearly 50 years of persecution, the plight of the Tibetan people may seem hopeless. But miracles happen. And if East can meet West in Berlin, and white can meet black in South Africa, then maybe passive resistance can meet with success in Tibet, the roof of the world.

Welcome to the roof of the world the sun is fading at the Holiday Inn

another nation is out in the cold and fighting people have let themselves in.

 

Bringing steel guns and armies towards peace

China tore down and tortured brave men prayed for their release

from the first occupation in 1949

there was no Tibetan army raised to bring the Chinese down

still the holy men were slaughtered, women, children to the wall

exiled leader's rights aborted - why did no one help at all?

 

It takes one generation to bring a country down

you can tell Tibetan children they belong to China now

no oil flows beneath the soil of this forgotten land

just a stream of resistance that nobody understands

so there's no condemnation from the powers that be

on this most favoured nation acting so unfavourably.

 

Well the roof may be falling, we can make it strong again

while the cellars hold the bones of all the lost and tortured men

but the stairs are there for climbing we can quickly reach the top

if we all join together we can make the torture stop

and if this one peaceful protest can break the party line

will the fight be changed forever to bring peace in our time?

Tom

You can change your nationality, but you can't change the colour of your skin. This is the story of a Queensland boy who went to school one day to discover that his friends didn't like him any more because his skin wasn't white.

Now somebody's been talking about the colour of his skin

he is only in year seven, but he knows what he's wrapped up in

he walks to school quite slowly, then he runs back home again

because he can't explain the bruises on his shin.

 

.... his name is Tom, he lives with his family

he's a Japanese boy eleven years old and he loves to watch the fast cars

as they tear down the highway and if his eyes are slanted

then that's twice as good as yours 'cause yours are closed.

 

Somebody's been listening to a television show

and with half an ear they're hearing things that they already know

it's passed around the playground - last one in's the first to go

leave a young boy bleeding on the floor below, ha ha ....

 

So how do you explain about the shame of the upper hand

when your dream of independence doesn't happen like you planned

he'll always be a stranger labelled from a foreign land

well it's hard for a child to understand .....


Twelve Mile Creek

When I came to Australia in 1996 I spent the first three months living just outside Rockhampton. Every day I drove over the bridge of Twelve Mile Creek on my way into work, and again coming back in the evening. It became a symbol of my time there, as many unlikely places take on significance when you're travelling.

I have decided there's nothing here

just a twelve mile creek and a windy street

no-one's been down for years

nothing ventured is nothing gained

so I will pack my things up and I'll never be here again.

The rains of summer can't be long, swell the rivers up the banks

and turn the gentle breeze to strong

throw my hair back and look upon

the dusty open country now I must be moving on

and if I don't, its my memory to lose, it's my memory to lose.

 

The city's empty this time of year see the waiter walk more slowly

as he fetches one more beer streets are shining in winter sun

I curse the train that left me here as I break into a run

I'll leave the city to the men who have phones in their hip pockets

and computers in the den.

Find the moon on the coral shore the sand beneath my feet

where they have never been before

and if I don't, its my memory to lose, it's my memory to lose.

 

The wheels are turning and the wheels are strong

and still we move along.

 

I have decided there's nothing here just a beach goes on forever

and the waters running clear

golden footprints in the sand heading west out of the waves

onto the heat of solid land

one by one now the trees will blow throwing seeds into the desert

so that another one may grow, back and forwards is ever on

the world in perfect motion throw your hand in and it's gone.

 

But if I don't its my memory to lose, its my memory to lose

Thousands Of Years

One of the first songs I wrote after arriving in Australia. For a long time I kept this song to myself, being such a newcomer to the country. But one day I heard Kev Carmody's 'Images of London' and decided that if he could spend two weeks in my land and write a song about it, then I could spend two months in his land and do the same.

It took thousands and thousands of years to make a nation

just one for replacing the dreaming and it's gone.

Well you can't dress a dreamer in a suit and a tie

and you can't take away that look in his eye

all the hurt and the anger and the want to know why?

 

It's a question of people, it's a question of pride

it's a question of waiting, not when to decide

and of too many men living on the inside.

It's the heart of this country it's six feet of air

it's a whole generation feel more than despair

for their fathers and mothers whose memory they share.

True Heroes

Very often it seems that the people who have suffered most in their lives do the least complaining. This is a tribute to a lady I worked with in Queensland who had the strength to keep looking forward to every new day, while all around her, people were whinging away about nothing.

He left her with a broken nose and a fractured view of life

this woman who was doomed to be a drunken bastard's wife

and even as a dead man he caused a lot of strife by leaving all his money to the children.

 

So maybe you're just whinging to keep warm 'cause there's a bitter wind that's blowing

and you're hiding from the storm but after the thunder comes the rain

true heroes always rise again.

 

She had to borrow money to buy the children out and she struggled with the freehold

through seven years of drought

but she always said a prayer before she blew the candles out

I wonder did the Heavens hear her calling?

 

Life was never easy, but the wolf stayed from her door

she filled the yard with flowers to make it shine once more

and how with all this beauty can anyone be poor

she said from her window every morning.

 

Now when I see her passing, her hair is turning grey

it's the colour of a memory that can never fade away

she's living for tomorrow to make up for today

and I've never once heard her complaining.


Fruit Of Our Labour

A song inspired by a Renmark fruit grower who made me realise how attached people become to their crops. The Riverland area of South Australia has long been famous for its citrus and stone fruit. But lately many of these faithful old trees have been ripped out of the ground to make way for the new boom crop, wine grapes. I used to see piles of uprooted trees ready for burning at the edges of the fruit blocks as I drove to work. Next day the land would be cleared, and soon neat rows of posts would be in place to support the new vines.

These old apricot trees have been part of the land since my

grandfather planted them here with the sweat of his hand

there'll be no more blossom, no petals like snow

its hard but I just had to let them all go.

 

These old apricot trees were not paying their way

giving too little profit for so much hard work every day

and after three generations I've pulled them all out

replaced them with a grapevine to turn things about.

 

Who buried the stone as the fruit of our labour

was torn from the ground this year

who could have known that the markets would favour

the fruit of the vine so dear

and Christmas time will not be the same around here.

 

These old apricot trees made a pretty good fire

that I watched from the edge of the block

as the flames burned higher

but they meant more to me than a heap of old wood

if you laugh at my tears, then I'm misunderstood.

 

These old apricot trees were a real way of life

for my brother Danny and me, for my kids and my wife

and money's not everything Heavens above

but I can't afford to just do it for love.

Easy Water

My first sight of the Murray River was driving over the Blanchetown Bridge on my way up from Adelaide. It was stunning - dead gums silhouetted against the water and pelicans gliding over the surface, hardly moving a feather of their huge and graceful wings. My caravan ended up parked on the banks of the Murray in Renmark for over six months, and I loved every minute of it.

See the willow branches hang down to the river

cover up the fishermen

still the heron's chances are quick to deliver dinner in his beak again

on the banks of the Murray away from the worry zone

I've been sitting here by myself, but I don't feel alone.

So long, so long easy water, I'm swimming with the tide

but I've gotta make up my mind, I'm just praying for some easy answers, but the battle is open wide and I've gotta make up my mind.

 

Steamer in the distance paddle wheel turning

sends a wave out as she goes

in her wake the fish dance little ones learning

how to beat the undertow.

There's a big river rising waiting to take me home

and it's hardly surprising I don't want to leave at all.

A Hundred Pounds More

This comes from my days as a reporter on a provincial English weekly newspaper. I not only read it in the paper, I wrote it in the paper as well - so it absolutely must be true!

Lee remembers the times they were easy

before he said goodbye to the factory gates

now he's standing in line trying to squeeze

a little money or comfort from this old welfare state

he's filled in the forms delivered and signed

and he's offered up a prayer to the Lord

because the date of his first cheque is the 29th

and there's fourteen more days to go.

He says the money's no good to me in two weeks time

I've got to feed my children now

he says I don't want to have a sensible discussion with you

I'm gonna have a bloody big row.

 

Now the man at the desk he was smiling

but his arms are folded and he's shaking his head

he says there's really no point in dialling

you see I don't make the rules here it's the government instead

Lee tried not to think of his wife and child, hungry, tired, unsure

then he picked up the phone in his right hand

and he smashed it down on the floor.

 

When the policeman arrived Lee was quiet

sitting in the corner with his head in his hands

He said" I never mean't to start a riot

help me please 'cause I don't understand".

But the court room was busy when the very next day

the magistrate laid down the law

he said "Have you got anything to say now

before we fine you a hundred pounds more?"

Mind Over Matter

There's a saying that if you want to achieve something, it's all a question of mind over matter. But where I used to live in Stoke-on-Trent, they had another saying that went "I don't mind, so it don't matter". And that pretty much sums up the political apathy of England at that time.

Mr and Mrs Jones have such a lovely garden

all around their cottage where they're living in the suburbs

middle income earners way up off the breadline

hardly even know what unemployment is.

Early in the morning driving to the office

sitting there in comfort they don't comment on the placards

of the angry workers standing at the roadside

trying to stem the closure of the factories.

And it's her never mind over his doesn't matter

that keeps the poor man poor and makes the fat man fatter.

 

Mr and Mrs Jones they have three lovely children

talented and clever they're a credit to their parents

who think it's worth the effort and know it's worth the money

to buy them all the privilege of the school they're in.

Summer term it's sailing, winter term it's skiing, their laughter

drowns the sound of other voices round the corner

from the local primary trying to raise some funds

to buy the children empty books for writing in.

 

Mr and Mrs Jones go shopping on a Friday

supermarket buying, lots of goodies for the weekend

we'll try some gourmet cheeses and a spot of rosé

its time you know for us to spend the night alone.

Plastic at the check-out pockets always empty

empty as the solitary figure in the doorway

who stretches out a hand and points to a petition

to show the world he's hungry and without a home.

 

Run For Cover

Escapes are much easier to plan than to carry out.

I don't know and the world won't tell me when to run for cover

but I'm thinking of getting out before the year is over.

Forty days spent planning and another ten spent dreaming

and when the year is over I've forgotten what I'm scheming.

So the days have drifted and I've suffered with the seasons

I don't want to stay, but I can't go and I'm not leaving.

As Time Rolls By

The twin barriers of language and borders are not enough to stop true love. Mind you, this is a made up story.

He was generously open, a clever man, quite softly spoken

always kept a letter as a token,

never seemed too good to hide as time rolled by.

He met her by a mountain, she didn't know a lot about him

but the way he spoke of better things, it touched her

somewhere deep inside and time rolled by.

 

And as time rolls by he tells his children one by one

hey now take the chances as they come

don't ever let love pass you by, as time rolls by.

 

Sharing every language

they tried to free the world of anguish

and they spoke of how their love was gonna cross over

the great divide as time rolls by.

Destination Dover, they parted when the war was over

and he never knew the fire that drove her

only felt the tears he cried, as time rolled by.

 

And as time rolls by the days become the years

and a man gets frightened by his tears.

 

Now memory can be shaken

something stirred within to waken

all his feelings of a love mistaken,

nothing hurt except his pride as time rolled by.

So one day he wrote a letter,

knowing he could not forget her

leaving no time to regret it

she was standing right before his eyes

and time rolled by.


Gina

You look down from the mountains and find corruption; you look up from the gutter and find indifference. City living in England is not complete without its smattering of lost souls in doorways who never seem to disappear at night.

My bed is cold in the morning, the litter keeps blowing inside

an old lady trips and she kicks me awake with a sigh

and the birds start to sing without warning,

their voices are mellow and high

like they know the fight isn't over until it gets light.

 

And I stand in every doorway I stand alone

waiting for the man with money to carry me home

once there were streets of promise now they are gone

I wear a purple bodice and Gina's my name.

 

And the landlord he's throwing the drinkers out

into the afternoon sun

their eyes are open, their trousers quite often undone

and down the alley the workers walk past in their suits of disguise

with a hole in their heart and a faraway look in their eyes.

 

Now it's midnight and the bars are all closing

the drink has made everyone free

nervously glancing away from the vision of me

and even the greediest nation has more to be proud of than greed

so maybe tomorrow will bring me just what I need.

One More Day (in this city)

Very much the other side of the coin as far as city life is concerned. This ought to have been written about Perth, though I hadn't actually been there at the time.

You say you've met someone won't take you for granted

you're on his doorstep, you're feeling romantic

if you stay one more day in this city, if you stay one more day

how will you ever, I'll bet you never go home.

The lights are shining the air is inviting

the bar is open and the music exciting

.....if you stay one more day in this city, if you stay one more day

how will you ever, I'll bet you never go home

I'll bet you never go home, I'll bet you never go home

how could you ever go home.

You see the ocean from the flat where you're living

the view's so perfect it is hard to believe in.....

A Point On The Map

This is my alternative story of creation, tied up with the myth that there's a 'perfect place' for each of us to settle down.

There when the story began always a loner not part of the plan

he was sleeping gently underneath a tree.

Saw the whole world as innocence can

the dreamer looked up through the eyes of a man

and said "all this looks like paradise to me".

 

Stick a point on the map and I'll settle here

gather good friends around over the years

wear an old straw hat, I'll be happy with that.

 

Two hearts are better than one,

the man loved a woman she gave him a son

and their garden blossomed well over the years.

The boy knew his life would be blessed

he looked to the east then set out to the west

said "I'll come back when my yearning's disappeared".

 

Stick a point on the map and I'll settle here

gather good friends around over the years

find an old tin shack, I'll be happy with that.

 

Cities sprang up where he slept

the people remembered and the promise was kept

like a burning stone that never fades away.

Father to nations of men

the man shut his eyes to start dreaming again

and the earth could hear him whisper where he lay.


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