In 2018, Nick Cave received a message from a fan named Cynthia on his Red Hand Files site. Going through her own pangs of devastation after the loss of multiple loved ones, she asked Cave if he and his wife Susie still felt the presence of his son Arthur, who tragically lost his life in an accident at just 15.
“Grief and love are forever intertwined,” he replied. “Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.”
This poignant exchange inspired Cave to pen a new single, Grief. “My reply was the first time I was able to articulate my own contradictory feelings of grief,” says Cave. “Letters like Cynthia’s have helped bring me and many others back to the world.”
The single is out as a 7″ vinyl with Letter to Cynthia on the A-side and Song for Cynthia on the reverse. Cave wrote the lyrics to Letter To Cynthia with music performed and written by Warren Ellis; the latter was performed and written by the pair. The single isn’t streaming yet, but you can hear a clip on Cave’s Instagram.
It is heartfelt, bursting with empathy, and a touchstone of comfort for those in mourning.
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