Maria and the Moon
She throws her head back, laughs, just like she's always done
Then the light dims in her eyes, you see, it's all begun
To grow a bit fuzzy 'round the corners,
Rather like a dream
The bright threads of a tapestry, unraveling
She calls and asks her daughter, "How's the family?
Are you all to take a trip soon? Oh, I'd love to see Italy!
And how are your parents? Hope they're doing well.
And how are your children, and the family, pray tell?"
Now her words have become birds and they're all taking flight
And she's as distant as the moon descending in a dark, dark night.
But behind these clouds I know she's still shining, bright.
'Cause it's so hard to say goodbye
To Maria and the Moon.
Note: Maria and the Moon is a song that I wrote while watching my grandmother (whose name is actually Katherine) struggle with dementia. I believe in grace and in the reality that the most sacred and beautiful moments of our lives are often also moments that are saturated with pain and sadness. I believe there is a purpose to life and also to death, and that we are not here by accident. I feel deeply that, despite every human weakness, physical frailty, and echoing regret, that "some unimaginable essence of who we are persists past the dissolution of what we were." (Brian Doyle, Essayist)
She blinks at the candles on her carrot cake
Though she does not recall it as her favorite.
And when we sing the song, she starts to hum along
Recognition flickers, and in a breath, is gone.
Now water laps and tugs upon a softened shore.
Drawing her feet forward towards an open door
And into the sea,
They'll slip, quietly
Each brilliant moment of her memory.
Oh life ebbs and flows, it comes and goes, it leaves behind
Aching space full of hidden grace for us to find
That what slips away will surely rise again in time
Cause you can't break these ties that bind me
To Maria and the Moon.
Hide and Seek
In a big backyard, full of tall green trees
Joey counts to 17
And tries not to peek
While Lizzy climbs some branches where she'll never be seen
They love to play this game of hide and seek
Joey looked everywhere
But Lizzy was elusive and she never did play fair.
Still Joey Wouldn't give up trying
Cause even though the fight was hard, the wait was worth the prize.
He stood his ground and shouted:
"I-I-I'm going to find you, even if it takes all afternoon
I-I-I'm going to find you
But Lizzy girl, it better be soon."
So the two grew up and how lovely she became
And soon Joey realized things could never be the same
So many other suitors with their smiles and roses came
Knocking at her door
Like some kind of game
Everyone said, "Put this fancy to an end,
Oh Joey, can't you see to her, you'll ever be a friend?"
But Joey said "No, I've gotta give this one last go,
Cause though to fail would kill me, till I try, I'll never know."
He threw some pebbles at her window
"I-I-I'm gonna win you, even if it takes all of my life.
Can I-I-I convince you, Lizzy, girl, to be my wife?"
And she said
"Who do you think you are?
Standing outside my window, strumming that guitar?
Why, you're the boy on the ground who somehow always found me.
How is it you can see so patiently
Through all my foolish pride?
You always knew my soul,
Even when I tried to hide.
So won't you come inside?"
You can sing your simple songs,
But you should know I've loved you all along."
And in a big backyard, full of tall green trees
A widow tries to count the stars she can't even see
A full life now behind her, everything's a memory.
But though she's tired and lonely
Thoughts of love still set her free.
She wonders where he could be.
"I-I-I'm gonna find you, even though you've gone beyond my sight
I-I-I'm gonna find you, wherever you are, Joey, goodnight."
Lyrics Only (recordings coming soon!)
Only the lonely remember the sky
Of a Paris night
Of a Paris night
So swirling and twirling
he painted the stars
Of the Paris Night
On a Paris night
Maybe he saw them through his teardrops
And caught some impression of the truth
That blazing and burning
So high above,
They were lonely too.
She took a chance
Came to France to find love
On a Paris night
To share a Paris night.
She smiles while she strolls beside the Sacre Couer.
And ambling through Musee Dorsay too.
But she feels the pain within the paint-strokes they all call beautiful.
For who needs the starry starry skies?
If all the light that fills your life
Shines from a lover's eyes?
So only the lonely look up at the sky
Of a Paris Night.
If We Fall
Way up past where the treeline lies
There's a blackbird wise who lives with a dove he took to wife
He took to wife
And every day when the wind's at play, they'll take their feathers
And sail beyond these streams of gray
Streams of gray
If we fall, we may fly
If we fall, we will surely die
The suns pass and the moons glow
And both shine themselves down on the ice and snow
Thirteen ways to melt the ice and snow
This year these banks will overflow
And thence to where I come from I must again go
Saith the crow
If I fall, I might fly
If I fall, I shall surely die.
And the dove cries:
I'll sing for darkness
I'll sing for death
I'll sing until my final breath
I'll sing to claim some hallowed stone
I'll sing for you,
And you alone.
The rivers carve the hills away
And in the end we all are made from breathing clay
To live out our days
But cold and harsh though this world may be
What warmth I yet have, I will give to thee
I'll give all to thee.
If we fall, we shall surely die
If we will fall, we may fly
Little bird, oh how you sing
A song that flies on silver wings
Even in your cage.
Someplace far away from here
Everyone would clap and cheer
For you on a stage
But you want your freedom
You want love
You want to soar in the skies above and I won't stop you
Cause I'm a little bit like you.
My world's made of borderlines, economies, and traffic signs
Kinda like those bars
And everybody tries to tame themselves to act and sound the same
Like specimens in jars
But I want my freedom
I wanna feel
I wanna get back to what's real
Would you help me?
Are you a little bit like me?
Oh and I know why
We get along
You don't sing because you've got an answer
you sing because you've got a song.
Now little bird, I have the key
And if you want, I'll set you free
To go and meet your skies
And maybe in a year or two
I'll hear your song up in the blue
Watch you fly
My fine feathered friend
I'll be singing, too.