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There are two accounts of the origins of this song, both of which may be true. One is that it is about Rolling Thunder, the Indian Shaman, conducting a ceremony (which certainly fits with many of the lyrics). The other is that it was written by Donna in memory of Rex Jackson, one of the Grateful Dead's crew (after whom the Rex Foundation is named).

It was played regularly by the Grateful Dead in 1977 and 1978 (Donna left the band in early 1979).

Lyrics By
Donna Godchaux
Music By
Donna Godchaux
Lyrics

Gazing at the fire
Burning by the water
Before he speaks, the world around us quiets
With eyes as sharp as arrows
And turning to the fire
He clears the air and cuts it with a feather

Many in a circle
Slowly round the fire
When he is gone, I want to know him better
No one is forsaken
No one is a liar
He plants the tree of life on our foreheads with water

He hums
There are drums
Four winds
Rising suns
We are singing and playing
I hear what he's saying
I remember breezes
From winds inside your body
Keep me high
Like I told you
I'll sing to them this story
And know why

Song

  • Sunrise
    Lyrics By:
    Music By:

    Gazing at the fire
    Burning by the water
    Before he speaks, the world around us quiets
    With eyes as sharp as arrows
    And turning to the fire
    He clears the air and cuts it with a feather

    Many in a circle
    Slowly round the fire
    When he is gone, I want to know him better
    No one is forsaken
    No one is a liar
    He plants the tree of life on our foreheads with water

    He hums
    There are drums
    Four winds
    Rising suns
    We are singing and playing
    I hear what he's saying
    I remember breezes
    From winds inside your body
    Keep me high
    Like I told you
    I'll sing to them this story
    And know why

    There are two accounts of the origins of this song, both of which may be true. One is that it is about Rolling Thunder, the Indian Shaman, conducting a ceremony (which certainly fits with many of the lyrics). The other is that it was written by Donna in memory of Rex Jackson, one of the Grateful Dead's crew (after whom the Rex Foundation is named).

    It was played regularly by the Grateful Dead in 1977 and 1978 (Donna left the band in early 1979).