To The Edge Of The Earth

Tim and Neil Finn, in their various incarnations (in their bands, Crowded House, Split Enz, individually, together at The Finn Brothers, hanging out with Dave Dobbyn and Bic Runga, etc etc) have actually acquired a fair amount of international fame and deserved repute. Because they are great.

The advantage of them being in so many incarnations is that I got to grab two songs – one from Crowded House, and one by The Finn Brothers. Some people might call this “cheating”.

“Together Alone” is a song partially about one of the myths underlying Guardian‘s creation. It was this song that made me think, “Hey, maybe I could use song titles for chapter headings?”

“Won’t Give In” is a song about family, and what it means when you belong to a people and a place.

The “Won’t Give In” chapter is near the end, and horrendously spoilery, so instead I will give you an excerpt of “Together Alone”, where Mark tells an origin story.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD (IF YOU HAVE NEVER READ A SINGLE THING ABOUT MÄ€ORI COSMOLOGY, THAT IS.)

“Okay. In the beginning…” He hesitated, then shook his head. “Look. This is a dubious version of the myth. It isn’t the whole story, or an entirely true one, and there’s no way to get around it. I can’t even tell it to you in the right language, because you don’t speak it.”

“Chapman’s Homer?” I suggested.

He slanted a tight smile at me. “Heh. Close enough.”

“So,” I said, and half-bowed, trying to mimic Professor Gribaldi’s drawl. “At least be gloriously inaccurate.”

He returned the bow with an arm flourish that set his charms jingling, and tried again.

“Okay,” he said. “This is a story of how mankind was made, and how death entered the world. A long time after the beginning, there are Papa-tuanuku, who is the Earth Mother, and Rangi-nui, who is the Sky-Father. So strong is their affection that they cannot bear to be apart, and remain always in loving embrace. They bring forth many children, but will not relinquish their grip on each other. Those brought forth from Earth’s womb are forced to crawl upon her surface, while their father presses against her. There is only close, moist darkness and suffocating warmth. Like everyone, these children want to stretch and grow without the constraints laid upon them by their parents.

“Some of their sons gather to decide what should be done. One of the brothers says that they should kill their parents, but he is shouted down. Another proposes they do nothing at all and be content in their closeness, but no one listens to him. As always happens in such meetings, the most charismatic speaker wins the argument. One by one, five of the brothers, crawling in their claustrophobic prison-home, set their shoulders against their father and push. And finally, the last of the brothers, the tallest and strongest, lies on his back and pushes with his mighty legs, and measure by tiny measure, their father’s body moves.

“Rangi-nui calls to Papa-tuanuku, and they cleave ever tighter to each other. But they have seeded their own destruction, and the six brothers fight for every finger of space until their father is a torso’s length from their mother. Then a body’s length. Then as far as they can reach with their arms outstretched. And then, with one final heave, they hurl their father high above the loving reach of their mother’s embrace.

“And Sky-Father weeps in his grief and Earth-Mother tosses and rumbles in her anger, but it is done, and nothing they can do can ever reverse it.”