Nick Cave's Response to a Fan Question About the Death of His Son Has Become a New Single

The 'Grief' 7-inch features a pair of new songs
Nick Cave's Response to a Fan Question About the Death of His Son Has Become a New Single
Photo: Joel Ryan
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis just recently released their Carnage album, and now the pair are rolling out some more new content.

Cave and Ellis are releasing a new 7-inch called Grief, which comes in response to a question a fan submitted to his to his Red Hand Files newsletter in regards to the death of Cave's teenage son Arthur a few years back.

In October 2018, a fan named Cynthia wrote: "I have experienced the death of my father, my sister, and my first love in the past few years and feel that I have some communication with them, mostly through dreams. They are helping me. Are you and Susie feeling that your son Arthur is with you and communicating in some way?"

Cave responded with the following:

Dear Cynthia,

This is a very beautiful question and I am grateful that you have asked it. It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That's the deal. That's the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief's awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

I feel the presence of my son, all around, but he may not be there. I hear him talk to me, parent me, guide me, though he may not be there. He visits Susie in her sleep regularly, speaks to her, comforts her, but he may not be there. Dread grief trails bright phantoms in its wake. These spirits are ideas, essentially. They are our stunned imaginations reawakening after the calamity. Like ideas, these spirits speak of possibility. Follow your ideas, because on the other side of the idea is change and growth and redemption. Create your spirits. Call to them. Will them alive. Speak to them. It is their impossible and ghostly hands that draw us back to the world from which we were jettisoned; better now and unimaginably changed.

With love, Nick.


Cave and Ellis have now turned this reply into the Grief 7-inch, which features the A-side "Letter to Cynthia" and the flip "Song for Cynthia." The pair recorded the tracks in London last November, and while the songs have not arrived in full digitally, you can can preview the single below via Instagram. You can also now order the 7-inch, which comes with a free download.

In a message accompanying the single, Cave wrote, "My reply was the first time I was able to articulate my own contradictory feelings of grief. Letters like Cynthia's have helped bring me and many others back to the world."