the song
title : The girl with the weight of the world in her hands
written by : Emily Saliers
song copyright : © 1990 Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd
source recording : The Indigo Girls, who recorded this on their Nomads, Indians, Saints album (1990).

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader vocal
Neill MacColl guitar
Phil Steriopulos double bass
Roy Dodds drums
music
key : B major
time-signature : 4/4
tempo : MM 128
form : V R V′ R M R v V R M R p   (M = V′ ?)
lyrics

The girl with the weight of the world in her hands

she won’t recover from her losses
she’s not chosen her path, but she watches who it crosses
maybe move to the right, maybe move to the left
so we can all see her pain she wears like a banner on her chest
and we all think it’s sad, and we think it’s a shame, ah
she’s called to our attention, we do not call her name

the girl with the weight, ah
the girl with the weight of the world in her hands

we are busy with our happiness and busy with our plans
I wonder if alone she wants it taken from our hands
but if things didn’t keep on getting any harder
she might loose her sacred chance to go a consecrated martyr

the girl with the weight ah— of the world in her hands

I wonder which saint that lives inside a bead
will grant her consolation when she counts upon her knees
it makes us all angry although we fail to care
who’ll be the scale to weigh the cross she has to bear

the girl with, the girl with
the girl with the weight of the world in her hands

– with vocalise

“Is the glass half full or empty?” I ask her, as I fill it
she said “It doesn’t really matter, ’cos soon you’re bound to spill it”
with the half-logic language of the sermon she delivers
and the way she smiles so knowingly at me, gives me the shivers
I pull the blanket higher when I’m finally safe at home
and she’ll take a hundred with her but she always sleeps alone

oh the girl with the weight of the world in her hands

I wonder which saint who lives inside a bead
will grant her consolation when she counts upon her knees
it makes us all angry although we fail to care
but who will be the scale to weigh the cross she has to bear

the, the girl with the weight
the girl with the weight
ah, the girl with the weight, oh-ee-oh-ee-ah

oh the girl… with the weh-ah-
ah, the girl with the weight of the world in her hands

explanations
In verse 3, the saints and beads relate to the Roman Catholic rosary, a string of beads used as a aide-memoire in reciting prayers. The imagery picks up on the reference to “sacred charms” and “consecrated martyr” in the previous verse. (See the further remarks in the commentary below!)

the recording
personnel
produced by : Eddi Reader and the Patron Saints of Imperfection
recorded by : Roy Dodds in Eddi’s garden, under the cherry tree in spring 1991
mixed by : Terry Medhurst? at Helicon Mountain Studio?
mastered by : ? at Townhouse?
technical
track timing : 6:51
song timing : m:ss
released on
single : All or nothing CD track 4
album : Mirmama [BVCP-176, BVCM-37434] track 15
album : Mirmama [7 4242 2] track 13

commentary
Discussing the origin of the title Mirmama with Mat Snow for a feature article in Q (magazine – Q66, March 1992), Eddi said, in relation to the visions of the Virgin Mary in Herzegovena, “I read about it in The Observer and I thought, Yes please, give me some of that. I was brought up a Catholic and have a fondness for the rosary.” This may help explain the choice of this song, with its reference to the rosary (see my comments in the lyrics’ explanations section above)