Tori Amos - Winter

By Rachael Smith, London
I started listening to Tori Amos, as is so often the case with me, far later than everyone else.  ‘Little Earthquakes’ was released in 1991 but became my all time favourite album in the year 2000.  I used to listen to it obsessively on the way to and from work.  For some reason I could relate to it completely at that time in my life.

I still cannot listen to track 5: Winter, without producing a wistful tear.  It evokes for me the image of a cold day, with me as a child walking down the long path which led to my father’s church – him in his cloak and my hand in his pocket.

My father, like Tori Amos’s was a vicar.  This made me feel a kind of affinity with her.  When she sings ‘I put my hand in my father’s glove’ I misheard it as ‘cloak’ and remembered my father in his long black cloak walking down the path next to our house.

Shortly after I became so fond of that album my father died and the song took on a new meaning for me.  Our relationship was difficult and my father – though I loved him dearly – uncommunicative and distant.  I listened to the lyrics and imagined him saying or even thinking  the words:

When you gonna make up your mind
When you gonna love you as much as I do
When you gonna make up your mind
Cause things are gonna change so fast
All the white horses are still in bed
I tell you that I'll always want you near
You say that things change my dear

I found great comfort in the feelings and imagery the song evoked for me.  It made me feel close to my father and became a special Winter world where I could encapsulate my feelings safely.

Rachael is a teacher in South East London

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