I don’t recall when I first heard of Jimi Hendrix, or what made me decide I wanted to buy a Jimi Hendrix Experience Best of CD? But I certainly remember the enjoyment I got from listening to it. Lyrically, Castles Made of Sand made the most significant impact on me!
Castles Made of Sand
The band recorded Castles Made of Sand in 1967 at London’s Olympic Studios. A recording studio where many other great artists have laid down tracks, including the Rolling Stones, The Jam, Iggy Pop and Madonna, to name just a few. Lyrically, the song could be said to “observe reflection on life’s bitter ironies”. The sea gives the sand, but the next wave may just take it back again.
The song featured on the band’s second album Bold as Love.
Lyrical Meaning to Bring Purpose
In one verse, Jimi sings about the little girl who was crippled for life; she wished and prayed she could stop living. As she attempted to end her life, she saw something that she might have changed her mind or it might not have. It is for the listener to decide what action followed.
I think digesting these lyrics, driving around in my black Fiat Panda, with its skinny tyres, helped me be more determined to get on in life, get a job, get out there.
Ok, I have made a few mistakes; who hasn’t? But doing what I do, with a spinal injury, keeping active, keeping sociable – although currently a tad more difficult at the moment, being a husband, a dad, earning my own. All this brings purpose to my life.
What Connection is this Number to Me?
‘She drew her wheelchair to the edge of the shore’. That word, wheelchair, I use one. She drew it to the water’s edge – tells me she is independent, as am I.
‘and to her legs she smiled “You won’t hurt me no more”’ – I look at my legs, sometimes in annoyance that they don’t work, sometimes they ache, and I don’t know why… But they give me something I can fit with my Cherry Blossom Dr Marten boots too, which makes me smile and helps me come to terms with this wheelchair life or wheelchair adventure.
Following on, Jimi sings, “Look, a golden-winged ship is passing my way” – is this an indication of hope for her? Something shiny could represent happiness or wealth. We don’t know if it is flying, but there is an implication it might be able to, as it has wings while passing her way. Does she wish to fly and not need to use her wheelchair? But the word ship also suggests floating. Is it going in her direction, riding the white caps? And after noticing her, stops to offer her a lift somewhere or to help change her mind?
‘And it didn’t have to stop; it just kept on going’ Did it stop to assist, help? Or did it just keep travelling past after helping her change her mind…. Or did it?
Is it the chorus, the bridge or just different verses?
During the song, the sandcastles built on the beach start off falling into the sea. Then melt into it and finally slip in. Then to be carried away by the currents and swells of the great green.
is this irony?
Can I Get Away?
Sometimes I wish I could fly, sore and glide in the brilliant blue sky, using the thermals to power me up to the viewing platform of the Gods, away from the madness, peoples bad attitudes, the repeated mindless wars games, and destruction. The ill-health suffered by millions and the sadness of people starving. Air, rivers and seas polluted, endless amounts of rubbish, discarded by idiots to suffocate animals and mother earth.
What brings me back down to life, back to reality, is love, life, family and friends, laughter and music. To show what I can do and the need to keep on doing it.
How the temporary nature of existence, of time, slipping away, taking nothing for granted – love, loyalty, family bonds, [and] friendship.