They are from the heron family of water-fishing birds, various in size and colour but mostly white, elegant, angular and thin, and are beautiful to watch, but how is this unusual word used in song lyrics? Egrets, you’d imagine, might be a source of temptation for lyric writers as a word to rhyme with regrets, but here we have a few more interesting examples in which the birds themselves are used to colour the imagery of
Emotional synth pop band Future Islands, who hail from Baltimore, do this on the 2012 song, The Fountain to set the scene for an encounter between strangers.
He sits low, in a shady grove
Where the trees arc slow, in the shape of 'you know'
Marble stairwells, waterfalls, egrets' heads and open arms
Whistling through his pensive teeth, the scene is set to peak
Like how the desert meets the reef
And steals the heart, of the thief …
Moving into more obscure territory, let’s now go down to the shore with New York indie band Freelance Whales, and their song Aeolus, from 2012’s Diluvia album:
Send me to the docks where we met
The disappointed bridge that haunts the egrets
Slip under the floorboards (my love)
With all his crooked fingers waving at us
Take me to the wave where I came
Flush into the world with blue skin choking
Little bits of diamond crushed up
For all the animals to eat on Sunday
Egrets seem to be big in New York, and moving from Queens, here’s Brooklyn’s with their acoustic, cello-led Rasputina, and a melancholy, oddball, wobbly-voiced string quartet fable, How We Quit The Forest. from their eponymous album of 1998.
The ostrich and the egret
Had a very fine flat to let
Figurine hutch, no the place wasn't much, but they
Got a peacock …
Ostrich and egret and peacock had very small dreams
Picturing them just reminded them of calendar scenes
Nobody's laughing when everyone's weeping, it seems
So that's how we quit the forest
The scene wasn't what it used to be
The scene is never what it used to be
So, that's how we quit the forest
Finally, far less gentle, and much louder, Cymbals Eat Guitars (yet another New York band, this time from Staten Island) use the birds as a passing image in shoegaze song about about sex, drugs and many other experiences, though when they mention egrets, might they really mean storks?
When i drive with floodplains on either side of me
And in the back seat my friends point out egrets' nests
High on the telephone poles
Any more egrets to share, either in song, or other sightings? Feel free to share your examples, fictional, factual, nonsense or otherwise, or in comments below would be most welcome, or other unusual words or contexts. Does this song make you think of something else? Then feel free to comment below, on the contact page, or on social media: Song Bar Twitter, Song Bar Facebook. Song Bar YouTube. Please subscribe, follow and share.
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