Stevie really makes it difficult for a gal like me to pin her meaning down sometimes, as in this song! I'm guessing that, again, she's referring to Lindsey, who has become a "stranger" since they've broken up. What was it that was destroyed that day? Was it something insignificant, like a "leaf"? Were they achieving "freedom" or losing "love"? I think Lindsey would answer the latter, but he won't "touch" the subject "because it hurts too much." Instead, he hides his hurt.
She asks him if he wanted to see if she was isolated, if he still holds the dream... the wording reminds me of Lindsey's later song Tango in the Night where he says, "I keep the dream in my pocket." She knows he wants to go, because he hates to be constantly reminded of what they lost - "the sacred name of love." The brave thing to do, though, is to try to reach out to the man who has become a stranger and "save" him. She ends by coming right out and saying that the thing that fell - the thing that was destroyed that day - was Lindsey.
I think "Sable on Blond" might actually be my favourite solo Stevie song (even if there isn't an 'e' at the end of blond[e] which I usually include). Therefore, for the sake of my sanity, I will be putting an 'e' at the end of blonde. Sorry if this offends anyone. <smile>.
Anyway, this song seems to be about being in unfamiliar territory. "Learn to be a stranger, blonde on blonde" = step away from the familiarity. When you think about it, Stevie was going into a lot of new things around the time of The Wild Heart. She and Lindsey weren't together, she was becoming a solo success and her best friend had died. That's a lot of things to happen to one person in the space of a few years. As for the whole mentioning of Excalibur, I once read that Stevie explained that as her way of not calling for protection all the time, hence the reason and need for swords.
However, Stevie then goes to asking, "Hey, what happened here?" by saying "I beg of you now, what was it that fell?" Of course, I'm going to think that's directed at Lindsey because 1: she had left him just a few years prior and 2: I always think her songs are about Lindsey unless Stevie herself says they're not. And even if Stevie was the one leaving Lindsey, she seems to still be wondering what really made it go wrong. She seems to be considering everything as a reason to their downfall, including something small like a feather/leaf or even, somehow, Stevie knew that Lindsey needed to be away from her, despite the pain it would cause him. ("Was it freedom by choice,... was it love? Was it a thorn in your side, something that you hide, something you don't touch because it hurts too much...")
In addition to that, Lindsey isn't seeing as much of Stevie. Probably because 1: she's off doing her own thing a lot of the time now and 2: after having a relationship like theirs, being with that person is not exactly the easiest thing to do. ("Have you come to see that my face is not seen outside my frost-covered windows?") Then, to me at least, Stevie seems to be asking Lindsey if he's realizing he had taken when they had for granted. ("Just how deep do you hold that dream in your hands each night... this time...") Which does seem to be answered in "Tango in the Night," an idea suggested by the ever-wise Webmistress.
Then we go to "Was it you I heard calling, which voice? I know that you are going, which voice?" I'm quite in the dark as to whatever Stevie was talking about there. Perhaps it's Stevie saying to Lindsey, "Yes, I hear you but do you hear me?" Then, I think Stevie is talking to herself... telling herself not to care so much about Lindsey and whatever he's saying or feeling and that even though she might be alone, she'll live through it. ("Did I force you to remember in the sacred name of Love... to be brave, save the stranger, sable on blonde...") She's telling herself she doesn't need anyone to save her but herself, who she seemed to be estranged with at the time. She's both dark and light, sable and blonde. She's seeing herself as the stranger. Probably because of fame and the whole business because in show business, people don't seem to care much about who you are as much as what you do for their money flow. It seems like Stevie's trying to force herself back to basics. (Good idea on her part.)
More "just how deep do you hold that dream?". Perhaps she's asking herself, "Are you really willing to do this all to keep doing what you love?" Then, she asks, "What was it that fell?" again. And by saying, "This time, I think it was you," perhaps she's saying it was you [herself] and you [Lindsey]. So, if I am correct, Stevie's realizing that things are over between her and Lindsey because of, alas, her and Lindsey. (However, if they ever got back together, it would be up to both of them as well... if only. <sniffle>.)
“Learn to be a stranger, Blond on blond.” She has to become a different person; act happy and light. “In silence she says Excalibur.” The only times in the story of Arthur that a woman has the sword Excalibur is when the lady of the lake gives it to Arthur as everything comes together, the beginning of greatness, and when it comes back to her after Arthur has died, the end of everything. The woman in this poem is feeling the same balance between a beginning and an end of something. “I beg of you now, what was it that fell, Was it one falling leaf, Like the feather that it was, Was if freedom by choice, Or baby was it love?” These are feelings of doubt and being inconsequential, like she doesn’t know if it ever meant anything to him. Their love is of no importance to anyone anymore, as she fears she too has become. “Was it a thorn in your side, Something that you hide, Something you don’t touch, Because it hurts too much.”—hidden pain and shame. “Have you come to see, That my face is not seen, Outside my frost covered windows.” She is hidden within herself, and he can’t read her emotions in her face. The “Just how deep do you hold that dream, In your hands each night, This time.” She wants to know how much he values his dreams, if this time he still values them more than her. “Was it you… I heard calling, Which voice, Well I know that you are going, Which voice.” She wants to know which part of him is calling, which part is going. There are two sides to him: the person she knows and the stranger he’s become. “Did I force you to remember, In the sacred name of love.” She fears she has caused him to remember her in a sad light. “To be brave save the stranger, Sable on blond, Dark upon light, Because it hurts too much.” One of them has become dark and intense, without the laughter, while the other has become light. They can’t exist together for the light will cast out the dark, or the dark engulf the light. She has to leave to save the strangers they have both become.
Want to speculate about "Sable on Blond"? E-mail me and I'll post your comments.