Suzanne on this song:
"It is a love song, and maybe I shouldn't tell you who
the object is there - but it was actually written for my daughter.
The idea of the world before Columbus came because I have a
cat at home, and this cat scratched my eye -just playing, and
it became infected and I had to wear an eyepatch for about a
week. The thing I noticed was that the world was really flat
seeing the world that way. It struck me as funny and I was writing
it down and I said the world was as flat as the world before
Columbus. I took that idea and said, well if this love was taken
away from me, that's how the world would feel to me. That was
the metaphor that I was working with."
Here's something she said that ties into
the lyrics of Blood Sings:
"I hope to make in my life is that I want to keep my child
and my children (if I have anymore children) with me and not
have to give them up so I can continue my career. But that's
been a repeating pattern in my life of being separated from
one parents at an early age. And in fact that's kind what, the
secret heart of the song the World Before Columbus, is the fear
that I would be separated from Ruby somehow. That's what's really
behind that song as well."
"The song World Before Columbus is a song that was written for my daughter. I wanted to write a song that expressed my love for my feelings for her as a baby but I didn't want to write like a lullaby or a baby song. I wanted it to be a proper love song. And that's what I was attempting to do with this one."
Suzanne Discusses Tried and TrueSuzanne Discusses Each Song on Tried and True september, 1998 http://www.suzannevega.com/about/1998/triedandtrue.htm
The object of desire is thus Ruby. [Ed.]