These lyrics came to me months ago, after an impassioned conversation with my bandmate Nick. We were talking about how incomprehensible it is to us to want to enslave, to oppress, to belittle, to bully, anybody. Never mind actually doing it.

Doesn’t mean we don’t have prejudices, fears, concerns about people who may look and act different. But he, as a white British guy and I, as an African American woman, have in common that we know that our knee-jerk reactions are just that. We talk through uncomfortable stuff sometimes because talking it through helps to get the anxiety out into the open. The unspoken end goal is to be better people. And better means being, not ‘colour-blind’, but open-minded and self-aware.

Treating people as you want to be treated – that concept informs this song. I know it’s much, much too late for the slaver and the enabler to do anything about what they did to their fellow human beings.

But if I could talk with them, I think this is at least part of what I’d say:

v1
I saw you coming in your

big black boat
and I
started running but your gun said
nope
So I
got on board in the
cold and wet
and I didn’t see the sun
v2
There is only nothing

and none for all
and we
start off running as the babies
fall
we
had no choice but to
try’n forget
maybe safe inside but I’m
not there yet
c
You could have asked me
You could have tried
There’s a moment when you could have been
Satisfied
You took away my freedom, not a mystery
If you, if you could have asked
v3
When you say my story is

only mine
and
you say my story is
only lies
you ignore
the meaning of
history (destiny)
it’s the same for you and me
v4
when you reach deep down

it is empty there
raise your hand to me
and you say it’s fair
and I watch your face
as you try to forget
you can’t look me in the eye
c
You could have asked me
You could have tried
There’s a moment when you could have been
Satisfied
You took away my freedom, not a mystery
If you, if you could have asked
m8
deep in darkness
a look inside your mind
so many years have disappeared
watch them as they fly
c (repeat)
You could have asked me
You could have tried
There’s a moment when you could have been
Satisfied
You took away my freedom, not a mystery
If you, if you could have asked

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