We don't own this place, though we act as if we did,
It's a loan from the children of our children's kids.
The actual owners haven't even been born yet.
But we never tend the garden and rarely we pay the rent,
Some of it is broken and the rest of it is bent
Put it all on plastic and I wonder where we'll be when the bills hit.
We can run,
But we can't hide from it.
Of all possible worlds,
We only got one:
We gotta to ride on it.
Whatever we've done,
We'll never get far from what we leave behind,
Baby, we can run, run, run, but we can't hide.
Oh no, we can't hide.
I'm dumpin' my trash in your back yard
Makin' certain you don't notice really isn't so hard
You're so busy with your guns and all of your excuses to use them.
Well, it's oil for the rich and babies for the poor,
We got everyone believin' that more is more,
If a reckoning comes, maybe we will know what to do then.
All these complications seem to leave no choice,
I heard the tongues of billions speak with just one voice,
Saying, "Just leave all the rest to me,
I need it worse than you, you see."
And then I heard...
The sound of one child crying.
Today I went walking in the amber wind,
There's a hole in the sky where the light pours in
I remembered the days when I wasn't afraid of the sunshine.
But now it beats down on the asphalt land
Like a hammering blow from God's left hand
What little still grows cringes in the shade like a bad vine.
First performance: February 5, 1989, at the Henry Kaiser auditorium, Oakland, Calif. "We Can Run" appeared in the first set, following "Althea" and preceding "Desolation Row." Also appearing for the first time in the show was "Standing On the Moon". I was there!
The turn of phrase implemented here by Barlow also recalls Pogo's maxim: "We have met the enemy and he is us!" (See http://www.nauticom.net/www/chuckm/whmte.htm for more about this quote, and a reproduction of the original Earth Day, 1971 cartoon.)
"In this best of all possible worlds...everything is for the best." (Chapter 1.)and its more modern corollary, by James Branchy Cabell, in his The Silver Stallion (1926):
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true."
"There was a vine: you uprooted it from Egypt;
to plant it, you drove out other nations,
you cleared a space where it could grow,
it took root and filled the whole country...
...planted choice vine in it.
He expected it to yield grapes
but sour grapes were all that it gave.
Yet I had planted you, a choice vine,
a shoot of soundest stock.
How is it you have become a degenerate plant,
you bastard Vine?