And You and I

by Peter Saint-Andre (2005)

For an explanation of this brief analysis, see this blog post.

Hi Rob,

I've been thinking about "And You and I" intermittently over the last few weeks. It is indeed a puzzling piece, as you've noted. I don't claim to fully understand Jon's words. Bill Martin, in his book on Yes (previously mentioned), interprets it in a kind of political-social manner -- universal love, political exploitation coming to an end, and so on. There's a lot of that in the piece (you can't really call Yes music "songs" by the time of Close to the Edge, can you?). So I don't deny that one can interpret the piece in that way. But the more I listen to it, the more I see it as a love song! In fact a kind of wedding song. "You and I" -- the two of us together (but there's that "and" at the beginning -- "and you and I" -- which ties it back to that more societal context because it might be many other people and you and I). And I continue to have many questions about the song and the lyrics, which I have not answered to my own satisfaction. For instance:

A man conceived a moment's answers to the dream.

Not just one answer, but many answers. And only a moment's answers. Are these answers not timeless? Or are they simply "in the moment"? And what is this dream that the man is answering in his multi-faceted way? And it is not just one dream among many, but "the" dream. So it must be universal in some way. Which is why I think it is probably the dream of love and union (though as Martin argues that the dream might involve more than one person).

Staying the flowers daily, sensing all the themes.

What does it mean to "stay" the flowers? Yet certainly "the" dream would involve all the themes of human existence.

As a foundation left to create the spiral aim,

The answers conceived by this man (which man? is it Jesus or some other prophet? or just any old man? so many questions...) create a foundation for yet further creativity. I like the phrase "spiral aim" -- you and I will spiral upward together in a kind of double helix. And that is something that marriage or any relationship can do, I think.

A movement regained and regarded both the same,

This movement is not new -- it is a movement regained. So in some sense we are getting back to what is natural here. And it is regarded both the same -- your movement and my movement are in some sense the same movement.

All complete in the sight of seeds of life with you.

Is this the dream? The completion? That we can see (or be?) the seeds of life together? And marriage can be this through the further creativity of procreation.

Changed only for a sight of sound, the space agreed.

What is "a sight of sound"? (See also below where the lyrics speak of seeing a life tempo.) Is the "sight of seeds of life with you" a kind of music? (As in, "you and I could make beautiful music together".) And what is this space? Is it the space between us?

Between the picture of time behind the face of need,

We are all needy, but there is something behind the face of need: the picture of time, evolution, maturation, coming to be what you are.

Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid,
Emotion revealed as the ocean maid,

All the expressions we lay on each other are quickly revealed as love (the ocean maid is Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love).

Coins and crosses
Never know their fruitless worth;

Caesar (coins) and God (Jesus on the cross) bear no fruit in human life, they are fruitless. The cords of life inhere between two (or more) individuals, they are not mediated by God or Caesar.

Cords are broken,
Locked inside the mother earth.

Instead the cords of life are broken (by God and Caesar?), they are locked away (but potentially able to grow forth again if we return to what is natural, which is what emerges spontaneously in our interactions with others).

They won't hide, hold, they won't tell you,

The cords of life won't hide or hold (you back?), but they won't tell you the answer, either! So how do we find the answer(s)?

Watching the world,
Watching all of the world,
Watching us go by.

Is this the answer? This mutual watching and seeing of each other go by? Note that here for the first time there is "us" and not just you and I -- the world sees you and I as "us" or "we" (a unit made up of two individuals, as in the bond of marriage -- and the world sees you and I this way for the first time at our wedding).

And you and I climb over the sea to the valley,
And you and I reached out for reasons to call.

What is the valley? A new world? A vale of tears? The space between us? Whatever it is, you and I climb over it together and reach out to each other, we call to each other, which is another form of sounding or expressing (previously revealed as love).

So the cords of life seem to be music and love (or the music of love, or the love of music).

A point which is reiterated in "Eclipse":

Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid,
Emotion revealed as the ocean maid,
As a movement regained and regarded both the same,
All complete in the side of seeds of life with you.

It's not clear to me what is eclipsed here. Our calling to each other? Is our sight (of seeds of life) eclipsed or obscured here (as "eclipse" would seem to imply)? Note that here we have "side of seeds" rather than "sight of seeds" -- we have moved beyond the long-distance sense of sight to being side by side (going to the altar together, perhaps?).

And the idea of an altar brings to mind religion, the preachings and teachings of traditional Christianity...

Sad preacher nailed upon the coloured door of time;

What an image! Time, maturation, evolution, is a multi-colored door but the preacher is nailed to it like Jesus on the cross. Which side of the door? Is the preacher inside or outside of time? The preacher calls for repentence and judgement day, which is the end of time. But time is multi-colored and, I think, ever-flowing, not open to final completion. Perhaps happiness (happiness together?) comes from being inside time and never trying to live outside it...

Insane teacher be there reminded of the rhyme.

The teachings of religion are insane? To be there is to be alive, to be real, to be inside time, accepting its flow. Or is the teacher not a teacher of religion at all but madly focused on the coin of the realm, while the preacher is sadly focused on the old cross? Note that the teacher needs to be reminded of rhyme, i.e., song -- the music of love (all expression is revealed as love).

There'll be no mutant enemy we shall certify;

Life is not about us vs. them -- those of us who are good vs. some foreign, mutant, non-human enemy. Is this an opposition set up by the preacher and teacher? Is that why they are sad and insane?

Political ends, as sad remains, will die.

That kind of opposition (us vs. them) is political, but political goals and purposes are some sad remainder of a former way of life and they will die out, wither away. (Here the political and the personal intertwine and overlap.)

Reach out as forward tastes begin to enter you.

Instead of looking back or fighting some mutant enemy, reach out to the future, that which is ahead of you (and us), that to which we can look forward. Not even look but taste -- not sight or sound, but something more visceral.

I listened hard but could not see
Life tempo change out and inside me.

Can you see a tempo? Here I am listening for the call, for the quickening of life within me and without me. But I can't see that tempo, I have to feel it (even taste it).

The preacher trained in all to lose his name;

To lose your name is to lose your identity. This is the traditional vision of becoming one with others, submerging yourself in the one.

The teacher travels, asking to be shown the same.

The teacher, too, asks for that same submerging of self into one.

In the end, we'll agree, we'll accept, we'll immortalize
That the truth of the man maturing in his eyes,
All complete in the sight of seeds of life with you.

But in the end it is not losing identity that we will agree to. Instead we will accept and immortalize the act of maturing. And what is maturing but becoming what you are, reaching your potential? This is something that you and I both do in our separate ways -- you and I, not WE.

Coming quickly to terms of all expression laid,
As a moment regained and regarded both the same,
Emotion revealed as the ocean maid,

The music of love (love of music) reiterated again.

A clearer future, morning, evening, nights with you.

And what is that love but time spent together? Note that there are no days here, but the mornings and evenings and nights -- not the time of work, but the times of rising, sharing meals, resting, sleeping, creating.

And you and I climb, crossing the shapes of the morning.
And you and I reach over the sun for the river.
And you and I climb, clearer, towards the movement.
And you and I called over valleys of endless seas.

And what shall you and I do in that time together? Climb, reach, call to each other, be called together to higher potential, aim spirally to ever greater heights, reach over the sun for the river of life, regain the natural movement of music and love rather blindly following the artificial preachings and teachings of churches and political leaders.

But there is much I still don't understand here. I share with you only what I have understood so far.



Peter Saint-Andre > Music > Yes