Southern Cross Lyrics - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Review The Song (12)

Southern Cross
(Words & music by Stephen Stills, Richard Curtis and Michael Curtis)

Got out of town on a boat goin' to Southern islands.
Sailing a reach before a followin' sea.

She was makin' for the trades on the outside,
And the downhill run to Papeete.

Off the wind on this heading lie the Marquesas.
We got eighty feet of'a waterline.
Nicely making way.

In a noisy bar in Avalon I tried to call you.
But on a midnight watch I realized
Why twice you ran away.


Think about how many times I have fallen
Spirits are using me larger voices callin'.
What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten.

I have been around the world,
Lookin' for that woman/girl,
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will.

When you see the Southern Cross for the first time
You understand now why you came this way.
'Cause the truth you might be runnin' from is so small.
But it's as big as the promise - The promise of a comin' day.

So I'm sailing for tomorrow - My dreams are a dyin'.
And my love is an anchor tied to you - Tied with a silver chain.

I have my ship and all her flags are a flyin'
She is all that I have left - And music is her name.


Think about how many times I have fallen
Spirits are using me larger voices callin'.
What heaven brought you and me cannot be forgotten.

I have been around the world,
lookin' for that woman/girl
Who knows love can endure.
And you know it will.
And you know it will.

So we cheated and we lied and we tested.
And we never failed to fail; it was the easiest thing to do.
You will survive being bested.
Somebody fine will come along make me forget about loving you
in the Southern Cross.

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meanings and nautical terms | Reviewer: dannyboy | 8/11/14

I concur that it's clearly "following sea" -- a very common sailing term. It's also "downhill run" which in fact means "downwind" but again it's common (but more modern) term. This is what it's called when you're sailing the trade winds behind you -- "the Trades." You're on the "downhill run" as opposed to beating upwind.

Really cool observation by another post-er about the noisy bar versus the quiet midnight watch, where it becomes clear.

My personal favorite line is "I've got my ship, and all her flags are a-flyin'; she's all that I have left, and Music is her name." I believe that Stephen's boat was actually called Music, but of course that is a metaphor. His music was all he had left, and it was in that music that he was able to understand and express what it was all about. Why twice she ran away, and where that left him: alone, going around the world looking for that woman-girl who knows love can endure. He had not yet found her, this "somebody fine" who might come along, and make him forget about loving his lost love.

Reminds me of another masterpiece, a sonnet:
Love is not love which altereth when it alteration finds
Nor bends with the remover to remove.
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks upon tempests, and is never shaken.

(The "ever-fixed mark" refers to a lighthouse.)

Truth | Reviewer: KB | 6/11/13

So good to see that Ric and Mike Curtis finally got the credit they so long deserved. Had to sue to get Stills to admit they wrote the song. Hope they are happy these days down in Florida.

Literal interpretation | Reviewer: Lacey | 12/20/12

This song really hits home for me... I lived in Australia for 5 months and I fell in love with a guy, and I'm waiting for the day that "somebody fine will come along make me forget about loving you
in the Southern Cross."

guide for ancient sailors | Reviewer: Ricardo | 11/21/12

Is all about deep inner feelings.
the southern cross is one of the most beautiful constellations of stars that can only be seen on the south sea or southern hemisphere.
the whole context reminds you of how you may feel being on a boat away from home and the ones you love and care so much.
My dad was a navy officer, he passed away long time before this song was written , but I know for sure he would love it.
cheers to all submarine officers and sailors and marine related people.

Questions? | Reviewer: crcsail | 1/17/12

I agree with "following sea". Southern Cross is also a brand of well-built, blue-water worthy sailboats. I have often wondered if it should "downWIND run to Papeete. Not too much slope to the ocean regardless of pre-Columbus thought-leaders. (?)

I hate to disagree... | Reviewer: Jon | 12/15/11

I hate to disagree with Bluesman&, but "following sea" is also a nautical term, and makes a lot of sense in the context. A "following sea" is a sea where the waves are in the same direction as the direction of sail (usually accompanied by "following winds," or "sailing a reach"). This makes for nice, easy sailing.

I have sailed taht couse | Reviewer: Bluesman& | 11/7/11

I have sailed that course both in reality and metaphorically. The words are wrong I think I believe it says "Furrowing sea" not "following sea" furrowing is nautical term for a gently but deeply rolling swell....

Gorgeous | Reviewer: Gwendolyn | 11/1/11

The last lines sum it up. I had a deep love for someone and we always spoke of sailing to The south pacific islands. We dreamed out loud of what we would feel when we saw the constellation. "somebody fine will come along make me forget about loving you in the southern cross" is what I think of now that I am with someone else. But I still think of what could have been...

Time to think | Reviewer: Matt | 8/3/11

I think this verse:

/In a noisy bar in Avalon I tried to call you./
/But on a midnight watch I realized/
/Why twice you ran away./

Carries so much weight. We are all so busy and our minds are so full of whatever is important at the moment that we have forgotten how to just sit and think. This is something that sailors have never lost the ability to do because a large part of their life is spent in isolation with nothing to do but think.

In some ways this line alone makes me want to go on a sailing voyage as a means of making myself forget the day to day stuff that clutters up my life and have the time to contemplate the things that really matter.

We spend our lives in a "noisy bar" trying to do something to fix problems, but if we had a regular "midnight watch" with nothing but us, the ocean, and the stars, we may all realize the real reasons our lives are not what we wish they were. That is what stands out about this ingenious phrasing. It took deep silence to allow his mind to realize what had gone wrong with his life.

Unforgettable Love | Reviewer: Grace | 6/13/11

The lyrics take me back to an amazing time, an amazing love in my life. It meant so much to him and I never really listened to the words until after the fact, now it makes me cry and think of him. He was a sailor of course, and still is.

Fantastic Song | Reviewer: Aaron | 5/3/11

This is one of my favorite CSNY songs. The lyrics are fantastic (in the sense that they capture the emotion very well). The section that begins with "Think about many times I have fallen" makes me think of this person I knew. I don't know why she pops into my head when that particular section appears. I guess it's because I loved her (or thought I did) and she didn't reciprocate those feelings. I feel like I have fallen from a great height, but not as many times as stated in the song. I guess that I'm just not over her yet. This song is my way of dealing with the pain I feel. Fantastic job.

Captains | Reviewer: kimberly | 9/22/07

If anyone has ever given everything, I mean eerything from someone else...then the meaning of this song will shine like fair wind and high seas. I love him still.

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------ Performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

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------ 11/22/2014

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