Monday, May 19, 2014

Doubt (Speak It Plain) - A Follow-Up To "No Answer"

The song "Doubt (Speak It Plain)" by Sandra McCracken, alludes to a novel written by C.S. Lewis. Her words, "Until we come to set things right I have no words and I have no face" are a direct reference to the words of Orual in the book Till We Have Faces,1 in which Queen Orual first accuses the gods of being distant and non-communicative and later comes to understand that things must first be "set right" before we and God have words and faces. (See my previous blog on this subject.)

Doubt (Speak It Plain)
by Sandra McCracken; from the album Gravity | Love 2

You whisper in some other language
Gospel songs and hidden things
And when I call you in the midnight
I cannot find a phone that rings 
You show to one your kindest favor
And make one go numb... 
so speak it plain, or leave it out
I see it plain, love drawn with doubt
I'm made to serve my own device
(Until we come to set things right
I have no words and I have no face)
'Till you speak it plain, speak it plain 
You take my troubles like a river
You drain them slow down to the dregs
I throw myself down thru the floorboards
And see my image in the glass
In myth and reason we uncover
What effort could not win 
I wanna know this love without a doubt
I wanna know this love will find me out
I wanna know the wrong will be made right
I wanna know some peace tonight
And in the dark and holy places
I just come undone

So speak it plain, or leave it out
I see it plain, love drawn with doubt
I'm made to serve my own device
Until we come to set things right
I have no words, I have no face
Until you come to speak it plain
I have no words
And I have no face

A line from the book says, "How can [the gods] meet us face to face till we have faces?" and Lewis once explained that a human "must be speaking with its own voice (not one of its borrowed voices), expressing its actual desires (not what it imagines that it desires), being for good or ill itself, not any mask."3 May we all "know this love without a doubt . . . And in the dark and holy places . . . just come undone."


1 Lewis, C.S. Till We Have Faces: A Novel of Cupid and Psyche. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1980.
2 http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/lyricsdetail.php?lyrics_id=31453
3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till_We_Have_Faces#cite_note-5

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