Kent State Massacre

She's thirty two thousand feet in the air

Already flown six hundred miles

I'm in the front room thinking of her

Wondering if she has me in her eyes

I watch the tracker following her flight

She's almost over Iceland now

I'm glad she isn't travelling at night

Perhaps she's looking at the snow

I've got ears in airspace

Ears in airspace

I've got ears in airspace

And eyes among the clouds

When she gets to Toronto I'll be with a friend

Opening the letters he daren't read

Full of threats and calls for money

To settle debts he knows he'll never mend

Then she'll be crossing borders to the USA

Flying to Kent State where the students were shot down

Three thousand seven hundred and two miles away

My lover in a distant town

I've got ears in airspace

Ears in airspace

I've got ears in airspace

And eyes among the clouds

When the young stood up with books in hand

To face down ugliness and death

The Ohio National Guard fired sixty seven rounds

Wounded nine and for four cut off their final breath

On the college pathways under silent trees

It only took them thirteen seconds to bring beauty to its knees

 I've got ears in airspace

Ears in airspace

I've got ears in airspace

And eyes among the clouds

I remember the horror I felt when, in 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired on students at Kent State University. I was an eighteen year old student at the time. The wish to make a poetic statement about that had been hovering somewhere in my mind ever since. I had made various attempts at something, but they always turned out to be trite. I finally got something working when three   superficially unrelated strands came together in this lyric, where are three ‘massacres’: someone is separated from his lover, someone else is mired in debt, and then there is the memory of the murder of the students at Kent State. I think this is the most perfectly realised track on the album and has a cinematic quality: when I hear it I have a head full of visual images. Again, I have to touch the hem of David Reid’s garment. I think he’s a bloody little genius who has taken my lyric - which, just by the way, I was very pleased with - and brought it to life.

Ron