Song Explanation: “We Own The Skies”
This is the fifth of several blog posts explaining the songs we wrote on Engine of A Million Plots. The fifth song on the list is “We Own The Sky.” You can find the words to the song and Reese’s explanation below. We’ve also thrown in the EOMP EPK video into the post because its awesome and you should see it again. Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments. And don’t forget the original disclaimer of this series. If one of these songs means something completely different to you than what Reese says, that’s probably the better explanation.
See Five Iron Frenzy play live at these upcoming shows.
we own the skies
I am a breadwinner.
I chose to brick these walls somehow.
Beneath the city spires,
I gave my shoulders to the plow.
Cold and cruel the concrete –
wicked pavement chokes the sky.
I chose this path –
the one so often travelled by.
Tonight, we burn the wintry frost of night.
Tonight, we wish upon the fading light .
Tonight, our burning hearts will rise.
Tonight, we own the skies.
My hands are bleeding where they often crack.
The stars will sometimes burn with longing,
through the choking black of night shifts,
piling each against the next.
A Trojan horse inside my chest,
is screaming for the life I left.
My kingdom for a steady paycheck.
Explanation from Reese Roper:
I really am not trying to solicit sympathy here, just to explain where this song came from, so please bear with me…
Everything in my life was a mess at the time I wrote this. I work at the University of Virginia Hospital, as a nurse in the Surgical Trauma Burn Intensive Care Unit, or STBICU. I have never done anything that is so stressful- intellectually, socially, mentally, and physically. There is no way to explain what I do for work unless you are someone working in a Trauma ICU that also handles surgical and vascular disasters, plus burns. The best way I can describe it is to say that I now need to take a drug called Trazodone to make me fall asleep because I have been diagnosed with PTSD. At the time I wrote this song, my pregnant sister was living with my wife and me and our 6 month old daughter in the crappiest basement apartment you can imagine. I owed $100,000 in student loans. I had exactly zero friends where we had just moved, and I was miserable. I remember standing at the window in one of my patient’s rooms one night after working 6 straight 13-hour night shifts, with maybe 4 hours of sleep each day. I looked down at my hands, which were literally covered in cracks from some reaction I was having to the antibacterial hand gel we have to use each and every time we go in and out of any room in the hospital. (Yes, imagine rubbing an alcohol based gel all over about 40 cracks in your hands about 100 times a day). I looked out at the sky and just completely lost it some enormous fit of silent sobbing right there at some window in 5 North. Thank God my patient was intubated and very sedated.
And then, through my tears, this verse popped into my head, and I was comforted:
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:1-10
“We Own The Skies” is about believing that though we be mired in the thick of the worst of the world’s troubles, our spirits, through Christ, can be alive. That though we once “walked according to the prince of the power of the air,” I believe that our God owns the skies, and that He indeed has created us in Christ Jesus for good works.
* Bonus Note- There is a threaded theme throughout the entirety of this album about being cold and in the dark versus fire and light- “Tonight, we burn the wintry frost of night. Tonight, we wish upon the fading light .”
Also, have you ever heard of Robert Frost? 😉