Friday, September 19, 2014

PLEASE

A year ago, Hajnalka and I were trekking through Golden Gate Park, eyeing the yachts off in the distance, as they raced mightily for "The Cup". We gave them barely a side-long glance; we were there for the hills to climb, to revisit the Haights, so to speak. We are packing now to spend some downtime with them crawfish and po'boys "'way down yonder in N'Orleans". We don't expect to see many hills there, save those of steamin' hot rice and red beans that We Shall Overcome.

While completing a writing assignment for Penn U.'s ModPo (a Coursera program), distant voices came back to me, spanning across years, carrying their precious cargo. One of those voices was from the "Minstrel of the Dawn", Gordon Lightfoot. The year was 1968...On the back of his album, "Back Here on Earth", were the capped-words below, words to all, or any, of us who have never heard what it is exactly, that is "Blowing in the Wind".

Bob Dylan, like myself, a Lightfoot fan, called him one of his favorite songwriters, and observed that "when he heard a Gordon Lightfoot song he wished it would last forever."

Here's why:

PLEASE

I SEE MYSELF AS A CHILD
STILL EAGER TO LEARN BUT LOATHE TO ACCEPT
WHAT PASSES FOR REASON
I SEE MY FELLOW MAN
AS A CREATURE OF INFINITE GRACE
BOUND BY NATURAL LAW TO CREATE
YET CONTROLLED BY HIS OWN CREATIONS
I SEE THE WILD BEAST OF THE FOREST
AS NATURE'S OFFSPRING
SURROUNDED BY MYSTERIOUS BEAUTY
SEEKING COMFORT AT THE BREAST
OF MOTHER EARTH
VIOLENT YET INNOCENT
LIVING UPON THE REMAINS OF THE WEAKER ANIMALS
WHICH HE HAS STALKED AND KILLED
I SEE THE POET AS A WORD PROPHET
A DEALER IN SONGS AND PHRASES
OF WISTFUL MELODIES AND SUBTLE WARNINGS
PASSING HIS NIGHTS IN LONELINESS
TORMENTED BY BLANK PAGES
WHICH CRY OUT WITH DYING BREATH
TO BE FILLED WITH THE
SECRETS OF HIS HEART
I SEE HIM STANDING THIN AND RAGGED
IN THE DOORWAY OF HIS EMPORIUM
FACING EAST ACROSS THE BUSY MARKETPLACE
PAST THE TEEMING CROWDS
ACROSS THE BLAZING CONTINENT
TO THE MOUNTAINS BEYOND
TO WHERE THE MORNING SUN
SHOOTS ARROWS OF ENERGY
AT THE HOLLOWS OF HIS SLEEPLESS EYES
I SEE HIM WALKING
QUIETLY UNNOTICED
THROUGH THE GHETTOS OF OUR CITIES
ACROSS THE ROLLING COUNTRYSIDE
BESIDE THE SWOLLEN RIVERS OF SPRINGTIME
ALONG TRAIN TRACKS AND HIGHWAYS
I SEE HIM TAKING HIS REST
AT TRUCKSTOPS AND SLEAZY HOTELS
IN WORKSHEDS AND WAREHOUSES
LOADING DOCKS AND SHIPYARDS
AND CABINS UPON MOUNTAINSIDES
I WATCH HIM PLUNGE HEADLONG
INTO A RIVER TURNED RED
WITH THE BLOOD OF SLAIN ARMIES
BESIDE BATTLEFIELDS WHERE
PRIDE OUTWEIGHED THE VALUE OF LIFE ITSELF
I SEE HIM WALKING NAKED
THROUGH BUSY UPTOWN STREETS
FILLED WITH PEOPLE AT CHRISTMAS TIME
A SIGN ABOUT HIS NECK
UPON WHICH HE HAS PASTED
IN BOLD TYPE FOR ALL TO SEE
HIS LIFE'S WORK AND EPIC POEM
CONCEIVED BY HIS LONGING AND
FILLED WITH THE PERCEPTION OF HUMANITY
WHICH THE BUSY CROWDS IGNORE
AS THE WIND IGNORES THE TREES
THE ONE WORD                                  PLEASE

(c) 1968 Callee Music Corp
    

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