shadygrove

 

words & music

Orphaned Lyrics 2003

Life's Too Long/A Door To The Past/Line Dancing/Carrion Comfort II/Pastoral Elegy/The Uphill Road/False Dawn Waltz

 

   

links

North/South

Life's Too Long

If you really saw the world
In a grain of sand
Beach holidays would be
A nightmare

Too much information
You'd lose the salt and vinegar torpor
And the machine that pushes
Pennies but never prizes

And the familiar but sinister
Beach robe with elasticated neck
That protected our modesty
But soon filled up with worlds

I once (small world) had
A postcard from space
So I was particularly sad to hear
What happened

Now I can't help thinking of you
Coming down
At twelve thousand miles an hour
Trailing clouds of Lithium and Tryptizol
In your sombre wake

Life's too long the light is dead
That limps down from the stars
We'll build a cage and call it love
And sing behind the bars

 
A Door To The Past
Hornsey College of Art, February 2003

I came here to look for a door to the past
But all I saw reflected in the glass
Was the black silhouette of
Skeletal trees

I'll keep looking I thought
But lost heart in the shop
The girl would think me mad
Taking photos of paint
I bought two tubes instead:
Ivory Black and Chinese White
Everybody knows
Nothing's black and white
Well I thought smugly
There's a lot of nothing to paint

 
Line Dancing

I wanted to go to a place
Where lines were always dancing
And words exploded like fireworks in June

Instead I found lines dished out by dull teachers
Inhaled through grubby £5 notes like exhaust in standing traffic
And lines which, self-contained in shame,
Shook some,
But never
Touched

 
Carrion Comfort II
(After GMH)

It was one of January's dog-ends
The sort of day you spend crossing
Dead friends
Out of your address book
And imagine the wheel has
Stopped turning
For good

It isn't self-pity.
Call it "world pain"
Self-absent more like
Or nothing-pity
Or just nothing.

Present pain
Is bad enough
But now
Old wounds
Heap
On heap and
Hope
Spirals wildly
Down
The tearless
Deep

How many more have to die
Before we learn how to love
Or in the words of a better poet than me
At least: "…not chose not to be"

Yet the days will be drawn out
And gentle wind will wean
The newborn spring
But for now
Deep down
The wheel turns
Unsung, unseen


 
Pastoral Elegy

Once upon a time they flocked here
Drinking alone the dismal fug
As the world past them by
To the North or down to Archway

Few except me mourn
The lost Shepherds of Highgate Hill
But the Boogaloo Bar hasn't erased them completely
In the right light you can see them plainly
Elbows crooked, pipes caressed,
A palimpsest

 
The Uphill Road

Give me wings for my feet
Give me grace in defeat
Give me love and eyes to see it
Give me time

I've been down on the bend
Thought my heart would never mend
My head has made mistakes
My lips have lied

There are no fleas on Mephistopheles
No fireworks announce his coming
No strange signs blow down the breeze
And you don't have to sign a thing
To give away your soul
And take a long and lonely draught
From the Devil's punch bowl

Every step feels heavy as lead
When your heart's not in your head
And the only constant song's
The traffic's roar

I'll climb up to the track
That hugs the old Hog's Back
And above the mist I'll track
The uphill road

There are no fleas on Mephistopheles
No fireworks announce his coming
No strange signs blow down the breeze
And you don't have to sign a thing
To give away your soul
And take a long and lonely draught
From the Devil's punch bowl

I thought love was a
Drug to buy or sell
I was tempted by clear water
But it was frozen in the well
And there's nothing worse than
Getting what you want
In fact it's hell
And now we are out of it…

 
False Dawn Waltz

The party it was over
The guests had gone into the gloom
The hostess and host
Were left with the ghost
Of a dream
In an empty ballroom

Budlia bloomed in the fireplace
Bringing the outside in
Grass trembled up on the rooftop
Dog roses shivered in the wind

Dreams have a habit of fading
It's nobody's fault
Alone in an empty ballroom
They danced the False Dawn Waltz
They danced back to back
To the morning's desolate pulse
Alone in an empty ballroom
They danced the False Dawn Waltz

On a weather-beaten pane
In a broken window frame
A butterfly dear is frozen in fear
Caught between the flight and a cold blue flame

Outside through twilight
A golden globe on a blue-black horizon
For a moment it might be the sun coming up
But it's just the old moon going down
Retreating in good order behind the mountain
In solitude
And silence

Dreams have a habit of fading
It's nobody's fault
Alone in an empty ballroom
They danced the False Dawn Waltz
They danced back to back
To the morning's desolate pulse
Alone in an empty ballroom
They danced the False Dawn Waltz

Dreams have a habit of fading
It's nobody's fault
So before they hit the sack
They danced back to back
One last time to
The False Dawn Waltz

 
   
© Richard Shepherd, 2003   top