Newsom, Joanna - What We Have Known Lyrics

The tadpole buoyant as basalt
The seahorse horsing in assault
The owlet in his greenery
The narwhal in his cup of sea
They all believe
They all believe

But collusion bleeds through back alleys
From parapets that end on feet
When one is weak they discreetly meet
They throw the bones into the street
And they progress
And we retreat

And all the books our fathers wrote
Are in the middle of the road
Little by little we implode
History brittle, brown and broke
We can't remember what was spoke
So we stare in wonder at the smoke
What it begets is born alone
We know not now what we have known!

Ladies, breathe deep against your whalebones
For your children come home made of stone

The terror seething sees a way
Or like the wheezing of the bay
In miniature agonies
They travel westward on the breeze
Bring us all to our knees

The dappled horse, the sorrowed mare
With eyes that do not see but stare
Beneath boots as black as Malachi
He drives a nag into the night
Into the night

And all the baby boys we've borne
With eyes averted from the storm
Sent off to die in perfect form
We know now what we have known!

Satellite photos, rhetoric
See how the euphemisms stick
And when they come back, broke and burned
Those who return have not returned!

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Newsom, Joanna What We Have Known Comments
  1. Lidiane Peixoto

    while I'm listening I'm picturing some scenario from the past but then she says words like "satellite" that made me realize it's not the past. she is taking about now and it's so disturbing

  2. Egor Ananyev

    There are no winners in war. Children lose themselves, and women lose their children.

  3. LanIost

    actually, if you read the comments.. it appears that this is a re-recorded version. So technically this is her newer voice? I guess I'm not certain when it was re-recorded. Was it re-recorded DURING milk eyed mender and just released as a single now? .. because the original is on YouTube and is from Yarn and Glue.

    Does anyone know these details?


    after the first recording on the self-released Yarn & Glue CD, it was re-recorded and released as a B-side to the Sprout and the Bean single. This single is a re-release of the Sprout and the Bean B-side version.

  4. LanIost


    Yeah, I just did that. I apparently not only forgot about this song but was in the middle of typing a comment like the one I replied to when I SAW said comment and was practically blown away with how close to my thinking it was.

    And thus replied.. ... .. to my own comment telling me that I was awesome basically.


  5. LanIost

    Dude.. it's funny you should say that. That's almost exactly how I feel.

  6. djvbb12

    She didn't change her voice on purpose. She got nodules on vocal cord and physically CAN'T sing like this anymore. You can tell she misses her old voice.

  7. LanIost

    This is like.. Milk Eyed Mender voice with YS ambition. This is where she would have went had people not been such whiney assholes about her voice.

    Although, I really love her voice now.. but I still get hair raised when she gets really excited and accidentally slips this style of singing into a moment.

  8. Malcolm Jones

    There's something about her voice that draws me to listen to and love her songs.

  9. bluerblackbird

    @HerbySeas I think that just come from her style cracking ;) She puts on the voice-- for an instant I think a vowel failed her or something. I thought I heard it turn into normal people singing for a second. I guess she must have liked it enough to leave it in the recording!

  10. Valtari

    The fella in the picture looks like Devendra Banhart. A good album cover, I think.

  11. kd5txo

    It's great lyrical poetry and brings a tear to my eyes every time I hear it.

  12. very dainty

    i love this song but i hate how she sings like peter griffin IN THIS PARTICULAR SONG (i love it elsewhere)

  13. cosmia

    @HerbySeas but that's the best part!

  14. Benas Arvydas Grigas

    this is incredible, but could you upload it with excellent quality somehow?

  15. cosmia


  16. heracleums

    Beautiful, even when recording quality is demo-ish. Note also how the harp strings are not well tuned (at all) but still the overall result is fascinating.

  17. livemusicvidz

    can't wait to get the 12". so good.