♫ Calypso ♫

Tonight’s song is one that I haven’t thought of nor heard in years … and years … until it was mentioned in a conversation earlier.  Then, as these things happen, it was stuck in my head and cried out to be shared!

This song is about the ship Calypso, which was launched in Seattle, Washington, USA during World War II. She was built to serve as a minesweeper for the British, to clear explosives from ports and harbors, and was christened J-826 and lowered into the water on March 21, 1942. (Why are ships always females???)

CalypsoIn the ancient Greek poem The Odyssey, Calypso was the name of a sea nymph who held the hero Odysseus in thrall for seven years. Gozo is, by tradition, the island where Calypso once lived.

In 1950, French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau purchased the Calypso and converted it to an oceanographic ship. Cousteau wanted to understand “The silent world” better, in order to protect it.  “To live on the land we must learn from the sea” – Cousteau was the first to do research on pollution and its effects on the sea and received many honors for his accomplishments. John Denver cared deeply about nature and this song was a tribute to both Calypso and her captain and their valuable work.

Denver wrote the chorus to this song when he was on board the Calypso. He struggled to complete the song, spending months trying to write classical-sounding verses to a sea shanty chorus. He was about to abandon the song when he got the idea for the words when he was skiing. Denver got off the slopes quick and jumped in his Jeep, where he drove home to get his ideas on paper and complete the song.

Calypso
John Denver

To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean
To ride on the crest of a wild raging storm
To work in the service of life and living
In search of the answers to the questions unknown
To be part of the movement and part of the growing
Part of beginning to understand

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

Like the dolphin who guides you, you bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be true as the tide and free as a wind swell
Joyful and loving in letting it be

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Denver
Calypso lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

18 thoughts on “♫ Calypso ♫

  1. Unfortunately, Jill, John’s voice grated on my non-mysical ears. Even when my ears could hear sounds, he gave me hideous headaches. This is the first time I have ever heard this song clearly, more or less. Too bad I never knew what he was singing about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do understand that! Well, I can’t please everyone every night, so perhaps you’ll like tomorrow’s better … if there is one … right now I’m tired and frustrated, and if there’s a music post it’s likely to be yet another redux.

      Like

    • Denver has a unique style … not quite country, not rock, not jazz … I liked much of his music, though, especially “Annie’s Song”, and I love the version of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” that he did with Mama Cass Elliot.

      Like

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