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Gaul Swerves and the Rest is Everything Else

Also Known As: Sleepwalk, Fishman's Gull Poem

Gaul Swerves and the Rest is Everything Else has not been seen in 1562 Phish shows.
It was last played: 1989-10-26.
It was played at 0.06% of live shows.
It has been performed live 1 time(s).

Lyrics: Fishman

Vocals: Fishman

Debut: 1989-10-26

Historian: Martin Acaster (Doctor_Smarty), Ellis Godard

Late in the second set of one of the more notable fall 1989 shows (10/26/89 Wetlands) and following close upon the heels of “In a Hole,” Fish takes center stage, to recite a "serious poem"... "About my lifetime, my history, my homeland." He calls it "Gaul Swerves and the Rest is Everything Else" but it was later published in an issue of the Döniac Schvice with the title "Sleepwalk."

Gazing deeply into the psychedelic imagery contained within this epic poem, we have the opportunity to explore both Fishman’s psyche at the lifetime in which it was conceived, the dream-scape of Gaul, and ostensibly the Celtic denizens of this ancient homeland between the Firth of Forth and Firth of Flensburg. The Firth of Flensburg, one of the few Firths that is not located in Scotland, lies along the northeastern border of the Saxony region of Germany with Denmark. The Fishman surname reportedly originated in Saxony, first making its way to the new world in the 1700s.

The Ogham, or “crane knowledge” is the Druidic tree alphabet. In this alphabet, the beech tree, known as Phagos, represented by the letters PH, is the tree of old learning, of ancient ideas. For the ancient Celts, the ancestral knowledge was, of course, the Ogham and so the animal counterpart of Phagos is the crane. The crane makes Ogham symbols with its long, dangling legs as it flies. It also ritually dances a circle dance with its mate. Like the bee, which dances a circle dance to communicate, this is seen as giving it access to the Spirit World. When the crane appears we have something to discover, learn, or understand for our personal growth. The romper that the Crane wears in the dream was most assuredly blue and sleeveless, and emblazoned with red donuts. We all know what Fishman did with the PH.

Baco is a Celtic god, invoked by Gauls on inscriptions found in the areas of modern-day France known as Chalon-sur-Saône and Eauze. His name indicates that he was probably a boar-god, of whom many are recorded in the Celtic world. Baco is clearly the name sake of Bacon, king of the meats. We can only hope the Bacos used as bait in the poem were home-fried nuggets of Lord Baco prepared by the masterful chef rather than the entirely meat-free variety dispensed by Betty Crocker.

Considering the “walk on down the hall” reference to the 3/1/97Weekapaug Groove” and the evocation of the floating eye candy known as the Borealis that appeared at Festival 8, the verses suggest the poem originated from a lucid dream in which Fish took a sleepwalk through his own past, present, and future. Such a case of astral projection is not hard to accept when considering the high likelihood that this dream may have occurred during the days when Fish was setting an alarm for 5:00 AM each morning so he could ingest LSD, go back to sleep, and wait for the acid to awaken him so he could go to school.



And farther that the eye can tell
or the word may see
stands tall among the narrow firths
pillow wanderer of Gaul

The granite side slopes shed the tread of the romper crane
I swore I'd never speak their way again, and so it was

And then came the rains to pelt and round
their sound and image brought sense to the land world
a common magnificence stretched over, and there, and stars
stars as they they lifted the palms of their hand to their face

And their beings all would burble and melt with giggle
they would exclaim "reasonable children"
and take masterful chef for a walk

Then came the round sun
screaming them all into their little holes
sinking teeth into nails
wrapping tight cloth
incinerating all their little orange colored scraps
and waiting
waiting for the round ones
the round ones
the round ones

Some were taken
others, coaxed with bacos
their tiny little welts
were not heard
by the thundering feet any longer
and the strength of the beacon grew
searing cold over short bursts of time
travel and exercise were sporadically internalized
and eventually truncated from statute
there was no more time

My mind aches in remembrance
swift are the changes
all of them occur in one moment
but their perception takes a lifetime
and the pillow wandered smiles, indignant
the crane, in the mid-zone?
it's all in time, there is only in between

And you were there
you look out
you see you're standing there
you look out
you see from where you came
you look out
you walk on down the hall
you look out

There is no one in the doorway
you turn back
no, I'm sorry.. oh... holy... shit!
you look...

You walk on down the hall
you look in the door
there is a man at a table
he turns to look at you
you look out
there is no one in the doorway
you turn back to your plate
you look out
There is an old man lying in your bed
You look out.
There is no one at the table.

Gaul is at the foot of the bed
Gaul is the hole in the wall

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