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Grateful Dead – Ripple lyrics

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come thru the music,
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they're better left unsung.
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone,
If you should stand then whos to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home.

La dee da da da, la da da da da, da da da, da da, da da da da da
La da da da, la da da, da da, la da da da, la da, da da.

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Corrected byfredw


  • m
    A beautiful song and complex. Like good art the meaning is in the ear of the beholder, it means different things to different people. This is from the abstract school of lyrics. It seems to speak of the meaning of life and the responsibilities we all have; there is a road, no simple highway, you must go alone, make your own decisions and be responsible for them. But it also speaks of the goodness of humanity; if your cup be full may it be again and let there be music to fill the air. How fitting a lyric for the Grateful Dead. A great work of art in my opinion.
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  • u
    An unseen force or higher power guiding us, that is always there an evident in ways that defy physics and rationality, if your heart is open enough to see it and feel it. The other day while driving though I had another euphoric, emotional breakdown and revelation about the song > and had to pull over > while thinking about singing it at my Dad's funeral. The ripples in still water could also be the person who has passed on letting you know they are still with you and you can relate the rest of the lyrics to this as well. The line ~ if I knew the way, I would take you home ~ is your final statement to the person letting them go to the afterworld but also saying somehow that you will always be there and that you have gratitude and love for having had them in your life. Like many of Hunter's lyrics it is ambiguous and leaves a lot open to the experiences of the listener. It is in the same family as "Attics of My Life". Almost an identical twin.
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