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Crosby, Stills & Nash – Southern Cross lyrics

_Southern Cross_, by Crosby, Stills, & Nash

Got out of town on a boat goin' to southern islands.
Sailing a reach before a followin' sea.
She was makin' for the trades on the outside,
And the downhill run to Papeete Bay.

Off the wind on this heading lie the Marquesas.
We got eighty feet of the waterline.
Nicely making way.
In a noisy bar in Avalon I tried to call you.
But on a midnight watch I realized why twice you ran away.

Think about how many times I have fallen,
Spirits are using me, larger voices callin'.
What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten.

I have been around the world,
Lookin' for that woman, girl,
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will. And you know it will.

When you see the Southern Cross for the first time,
You understand now why you came this way.
'Cause the truth you might be runnin' from is so small.
But it's as big as the promise, the promise of a coming day.

So I'm sailing for tomorrow, my dreams are a dyin'.
And my love is an anchor tied to you, tied with a silver chain.
I have my ship and all her flags are a flyin'
She is all that I have left and music is her name.

Think about how many times I have fallen,
Spirits are using me, larger voices callin'.
What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten.

I have been around the world,
Lookin' for that woman, girl,
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will. And you know it will.

So we cheated and we lied and we tested
And we never failed to fail, it was the easiest thing to do.
You will survive being bested.
But somebody fine will come along make me forget about loving you.
At the Southern Cross.

Written by Stephen Stills, Richard Curtis, & Michael Curtis
Transcribed, & submitted by Terry Lee Moore, tmoore@csn. Org

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Corrected byKathryn Benson


  • u
    Other than the obvious story the song tells, it kind of feels like a sequel to Looking Glass's "Brandy" - in that song Brandy wears a "braided chain of silver with a locket given her by a sailor who says she's a fine girl but his first life is the sea.
    In "Southern Cross," the sailor says he's tied to the woman by a silver chain, and that someday "someone fine" will come along and make him forget her.
    Of course, it could be a complete coincidence - I'm sure those words were used a lot in that time period. I like my theory, though. :-).
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  • u
    This song is about a man of the sea, literally, in constant motion both figuratively and emotionally. He finds solace in short stays in ports with a good tavern and ample lonely women who are also adrift. He searches for that which he can never find and nothing can compare with things he has left behind. Like an unrequited love, realization can never live up to expectation. Perfection can only anchor him until it is time to sail in new directions. The southern cross is as unreachable as a mirage but forever beckons to a harbor which does not exist.
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  • c
    I love this song because of its rawness. It is like Paganism. This is about someone who has realized the basic beauty of life and the paradigm of living. It tells of the attachments we make in our lives to people and things and the realization they go away in the sense we understand them. However, the larger order is always there and in turn the things that seem to go away are there forever. It is a about an power and beauty we understand but are baffled by. Whether you are religious or not we all admit there is something "out there." Who made it? Why do we love? What is love? Why are we in awe of the beautiful stars that guide ships over the water for centuries? Its big Its awesome and we shouldn't take it for granted. Love is confusing and powerful but it is the best things we have. Somehow that message of the 60's and 70's got lost. Too bad until I listen to this song and recall that simple premise. Corny? I guess.
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  • u
    When I got dumped it hurt as bad as it does for anyone, so I go to a ratty bar and get drunk and then drunk dial her and let her know what she meant to me and how badly she hurt me then sit in a pool of my pain til I can move again. When a rich yuppie bizillionaire musician gets dumped, he goes sailing some places exotic, writes a song about it and gets even richer.
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  • j
    Let me see. Went sailing. I got the time and money. While out there one has time to think - the present is just sailing - the sea, the skies, the stars. So thoughts go to the past - who is left behind and what dreams were when younger. There has to be some regrets in there somewhere. Then of course there is the future - not really so bright and sure - but still some hope that the things we think might be fulfilling may someday happen. Then there is the bullshit. A good song must have some bullshit. When I saw the Southern Cross for the first time, I couldn't find it. I knew about where it should be, but it is one of the most unclear constellations in the sky. I am not really sure why that would be exciting, except that the only way one can see it is to be in a part of the world most people never reach. So it is not the stars, but the state of being in the adventure that makes "You understand now why you came this way." The truth that he ran from (and caused his painful reflection in the first place) was actually small. But the potential to grow from it and find good in the future is "as big as the promise, the promise of a coming day." All in all an astounding song.
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