first girl i ever loved was everything

taught me to whistle and she made me sing

i’ve never been the kind to shout aloud

but something about her made me strong and proud.

i don’t know how it ended it’s been too long

she left me singing and i love that song


i hear the birds talking in the trees

their conversation brings back memories

of long summers and precious nights

her hair shining in the soft moonlight.

she left me memories of two souls flying

and you you you you you left me crying

you left me crying.


i’ve grown accustomed to being in love with you,

being close to someone who shared my breathing.

but now we can’t pretend here come those blues again

back from I don’t know when and you are leaving.


just when you think you’ve got the hang of it,

when your emotions and your senses fit,

something comes and turns it inside out

and you know love has finally found you out.

you said you’d leave me something

and you weren’t lying

and you you you you, you left me crying

you left me crying.


just like a wheel it goes and comes around,

just like a wheel it goes and runs you down.

just when you think it couldn’t get much worse

love takes a wheel and throws it in reverse.

she left me self-respect and a gift for trying

and you you you you you left me crying

you left me crying




if you need me come and see me

I will worry no more.

if you love me go and tell me

I will worry no more.

when you’re down and on a low note

and your lifeboat’s a man-of-war

just call me and I will hear you

I will worry no more.


there are those who will always love you,

there are those who will let you down

just listen with eyes wide open

you will know them by their sound.

when your dreams no longer flower

and your power blooms no more

just call me and I will hear you

I will worry no more.


it’s a hard world a pick a card world

what you deal is what you get.

i’ve been cheated but undefeated

though i bleed i am not beaten yet.

over mountains and stormy oceans

give your heart wings and let it soar,

and call me and i will hear you

and i will worry no more




she was foolish and he was crazy,

she was headstrong and he was lazy,

bad luck followed them both around.

sick and tired of the freezing city

they drove west where the trees were pretty,

green grass and somewhere to lay them down.

every night when the sun went down

they got in the car and they drove right into town

and they danced all night.


she was always gonna be somebody,

he was glad to be with anybody,

hard times waited behind the door.

deep down they knew it didn’t matter

whatever dreams might sink or shatter,

true love waited behind the door.

someday in a different crowd

they’d tell the barman to play the music loud,

and they danced all night.


she was the lover of the great dictator,

the night before she was to meet her maker,

made up and wearing her finest gown.

he promised her the world and almost made it,

her dreams of hollywood and glamour faded

game’s up the curtain was coming down.

she put the poison in her dressing gown

and while the russians were shooting up the town

they danced all night.




i’m jealous of the sun that warms your face

that wraps itself around you in your state of grace,

i’m jealous of its fingers on your skin,

the way it lights your room

when you won’t let me in.

i wish i was the sun that lights your life.


i’m jealous of the rain upon your lips

that runs down your shirt and stings your fingertips.

i’m jealous of the way it soothes your brow,

the way it cools the places that i can’t go now.

i wish i was the rain upon your face.


i’m jealous of the moon that lights your eyes,

that falls upon your bed and runs along your thighs.

i’m jealous of the secrets that you share

up in your bedroom now i can’t go there.

i wish i was the moon upon your night.

i wish i was the moon. i wish i was the rain.

i wish i was the sun that lights your life.




my father was a carpenter

he made things out of wood

and he made them strong and he made them good

he took me out on sundays to gather fallen trees

we’d find treasures in the bushes

and pennies in the leaves

he said they came from fighter planes

many years before

he said you needed empty pockets

setting out to war

i thought they came from heaven

i prayed it could be true

as he slipped another coin beneath his shoe

and i looked up and i saw his eyes

he was good with his hands but hopeless with lies


i saw him in the garden on the day she went away

he was watering the roses

and he hadn’t much to say

i asked where she was going

and he took me to the wood

he said this time it’s serious

i think she’s gone for good

i thought she’d gone to heaven

i prayed it wasn’t true

i had to fall in love before i knew

and i saw tears behind his glove

he was good with his hands but hopeless in love


she took away the life he knew

so he made one for himself

and he framed it and he kept it on the shelf

and she looked down his perfect bride

he was good with his hands but dying inside




on roslyn banks she held me close

as the night came gently ’round

and through the trees a soft rain fell

and the silver moon looked down


she said it was the evening’s chill

that made her hold me so

but in my heart i knew it was

that i’d be gone tomorrow


the water sang a wishful song

i wished our hearts were one

she said why not if i would stay

and finish what i’d begun


but promise not what you can’t give

she begged me to confess

that i was sworn to another love

and could not answer yes


above these banks a brave man wept

and there addressed his pain

faced with defeat he made a vow

to try and try again


and as i kissed the sweetest lips

i searched for truth in vain

and fearing she might love me less

i lied and lied again


now roslyn banks are a memory

and she is far away

i pray she’ll hold me close again

at the close of some sweet day




sometimes i don’t know where i am

sometimes i don’t know where i’ve been

i’ve been running around since you’ve been gone

you should see the state i’m in

i just want to see your face again


there’s gonna be snow there’s gonna be rain

but i might get too cold to feel the pain

this house is bitter

and the water pipes complain

but i just want to see your face again


no i don’t need a picture of judas

and i don’t need a picture of cain

to know how it feels to be out in the cold

wishing i could try that again

i’ve run right out of excuses

faced with un-shakeable facts

while you were putting the blame onto me

i thought i could do better than that

i said i can do better than that


there’s a face i know there’s some old friend

i watch them come and go

through my window pane

i can read any book i want

i can watch the cars in the rain

but i just want to see your face again




i took a walk one night just to ease my head

i had a lot of things on my mind

a lot of words that hadn’t been said

i sat down on a cemetery bench

to watch the clouds roll by

seemed to be just me and the moon

and he seemed to be staring me

straight in the eye


was it the words in my head

looking for a little space

or did i hear a still small voice

coming from the big white face he said


i am the man in the moon let me be your light

i will listen til the sun comes up

all through the cold dark night

i am the man in the moon who do you want me to be

i’ll be your friend if you need a friend

bring your troubles to me


i know you’re gonna say that i must be crazy

that i gotta be crazy to believe

that there’s somebody up there somewhere

and he’s been talking to me

some believe in a god and a freedom of choice

i believe in the power of the light

and the power of the still small voice

cos when i needed hope and when i needed faith

i looked up to the brilliant sky

and that beautiful face


the sun comes up and everybody gets happy

giving thanks for a brand new day

i can’t wait til the sun goes down

and i hear my new friend say

you can be blue if you want to

talk about yourself just as long as you like

come to me if you don’t feel sunny

everybody needs a little moonlight




seems like a long time seems like a long way back

you’re getting ready looking for something black

and you say you’ll be along

in your own sweet time

don’t ask me why i’m crying

you look just like an angel sometime


life can get ugly the sun can refuse to shine

bad luck and trouble follows me down the line

but you make it all make sense

in your own sweet time

you can call me crazy or blind

you look just like an angel sometimes


the optimist’s suitcase

was found by the railroad track

packed full of dreams

but no ticket and no way back

did he catch that outbound train

or did he find you just in time

don’t ask me why i’m crying

you look just like an angel sometimes




When the world is the last thing you want

And love is the one thing you need

When your sails are weak

And your strength is gone

I’m the wind that will give you speed.


When your wishful boats run aground

And the low tides have turned you astray

When you’re lost in the storm

And you can’t be found

I will find you anyway.


Wherever you go I go too

For better or worse I’m with you

Let it be me you turn to

Wherever you go


From the crying blue of the night

To the crying blue of the day

There’s a line of hope

There’s a thread of light

That will follow you all the way.



over troubled waters we will build a road

over rocks and mountains

we will share the load.

through the days of sorrow

through the darkest night

we will go together walking to the light.


some reach for the bible

some reach for the sword

life is our religion love is our reward.

all the holy rollers looking for a fight

will they find salvation

walking to the light?


walking to the light walking to the light

will they find salvation

walking to the light?


many friends before us lost along the way

i still hear the chorus let our souls be saved


over troubled waters we will build a road

over rocks and mountains

we will share the load

when the world is falling

i will hold you tight

i’ll be your companion walking to the light.


many friends before us souls shining bright

stars to the left of us stars to the right.




as i walked one night where the ships come in

i saw someone walk before me

he was quick & slight though I bid goodnight

he had chosen to ignore me


i’d come to this place on the run from love

in the hope i might forget her

my attention turned to the running man

in his hand he held a letter


and he placed it there in the harbour wall

with the starsick sailors’ wishes

sealed in navy blue with a lie or two

and a million homesick kisses


as he turned to leave i could see the face

of a priest in agitation

did he fear for thee or the raging sea ?

was his plea repatriation ?


then i weighed my lot with the parson’s load

and the strain of one man calling

where his soul and my heart

had been cast in the dark

yet we watch the same stars falling





tonight i’ll be your back door man

i’ll be eating right out of your hand

we’re made for each other like ostrich and sand

tonight i’ll be your back door man


i’m waving my family goodbye

they’re gone in the blink of an eye

all of your good time companions say ‘hi’

i’m waving my family goodbye


the ghost of my future’s returned

to reveal all the bridges he’s burned

and to gloat at the wishes he’s seen overturned

the ghost of my future’s returned


i’m taking my chances tonight

as my guardian angel takes flight

i’m lost in the dark and she promised me light

i’m taking my chances tonight


i’m hanging around your back door

cos i’ve nothing to lose any more

we’re made for each other like matches and straw

i’m hanging around your back door



up in her kitchen above the commotion

emily stands with her hands in the sink

and watches the sun go down over the westway

the sky and her hands an identical pink


four stories down in the west london traffic

jack turns the wheel on the last corner home

he’s tired of this journey he’s tired of this living

tired of the city that clings to his bones

and he’s home


emily waits for familiar footsteps

soft like an old song he taps on the door

she’s stared on these rooftops

for thousands of sunsets

and longs for the beating of waves on the shore


jack kisses her and she kisses him back

his eyes fall upon the small suitcase she’s packed

they’re not coming back home


they drive through the night

past the farms and the small towns

under the stars of a warm western night

the children are grown

and they’ve saved enough money

emily knows what they’re doing is right


jack holds her close in the seaside hotel

the beat of the ocean takes him away

back to the love and a reason for living

emily dreams of the sun on the bay


twenty five years they just left it behind

to save the love they took twenty five years to find

and they’re home








I’ve been looking for something I just can’t find

To meet the demands of a troubled mind

Each time I find something to save my soul

Turns out to be another hitching pole

The tv offers you paradise

but you’ll miss it if you blink

And the man at the bar who knows everything

Just had too much to drink


And I’m wondering why

And I’m looking for my Nirvana


I’ve got friends I can talk to when I feel low

Friends who will show me the way to go

I’ve got books that will show me

the nature of fear

And why and what am I doing here

And the clock on the wall tells me time goes by

And I know every road leads home

And the eyes of my child

say we come to this world

And we leave again alone


I’ve done some things that I shouldn’t have done

And I’ve been some dumb places too

And all that I’ve learned if there’s anything left

I wanna do the rest with you


There’s a light in the east

there’s a light in the west

And I can’t decide which one I like best

The light of contentment and god’s forgiveness

Or the mercury glimmer of fame and success

We envy the young and the beautiful

And we envy the rich and the free

Then I look at my chances a billion to one

And I know I’m just lucky to be


Some people find truth in the beat of the drum

Or the endless beat of the sea

I don’t ask much just the heat of your touch

And to find the truth in me




Just thought I’d call him up

To see if everything was ok

He said “I don’t feel like company

Don’t wanna see nobody today

Angel on my shoulder

don’t come round here anymore

I used to know about Angels

These days I’m not so sure.”


If  had the chance again

I’d kick down the door

I’d say ‘Let me show you the sunrise

And a new tide on the shore

You say you know about angels

Did you feel his wings that day?

Were they cold and black

Did they pull you back

Down to the river to pray?’


Ah going down down down down

Down to the river to pray

Ah going down down down down

Down to the river to pray


You know she was no good for you

In spite of what she said

Even on the night they laid you down

She was in another man’s bed

Desolation angel walked with you on your last day

With a beat of wings in the chapel hymns

He stole your faith away


You would always keep your head

While others looked to blame

You faced disaster and success

And treated both the same

Angel on your shoulder

Lord of hopes and fears

Did he tell the truth did you ask for proof

As he washed away your tears




It was a long cool September night

I was far from home and the money was tight

Down on the corner came a welcoming light

From an empty back street bar


The bar man smiled in a slow sad way

With a face unaccustomed to the light of day

He poured a coffee and he said “you’re ok

Take a five cent cigar”


I’m the man in Edward Hopper’s Bar


A couple walk in and they sit down

Bartender knows them and he pours a round

He looks like a man who knows this town

She looks like a movie star


They’re talking low she seems upset

Like he’s done something that she can’t forget

She checks her nails he lights a cigarette

In Edward Hopper’s Bar


And all i really want to do

Is baby get back home to you

Folks ‘round here are much too blue

In Edward Hopper’s Bar


Bartender says “Business is slow”

I guess it is I wouldn’t know

“Yeah this is where the nighthawks go

to Edward Hopper’s Bar”


first train home leaves at 5am

I guess I’ll just stay here ‘til then

And shoot the breeze with my barfly friends

In Edward Hopper’s Bar




There are days when all the world’s asleep

And I can’t feel the cold

Winter days when the snow is deep

And my glitter dreams unfold

And it’s days like these bring me to my knees

I give thanks that you are here

And today it’s only you and me

And sorrows disappear


There are times when I can’t go on

And the troubles seem too much

Lonely times when you are gone

And I can’t feel your touch

These are soul-less days

Lost and goal-less days

There might as well be rain

Til the day you are here with me

And the sun will shine again


There are nights that never seem to end

When my head can find no rest

Lonely nights when I need a friend

And my heart’s put to the test

But you’ll find gold with me grow old with me

And by the stars above

Tonight I’ve found faith in you

And salvation in your love



Take my hand take a bow

Take it all all the stars

Love you now love you now


Here we are in the light

In the love holding on

Shining bright shining bright


And all i want is you

To fall into my arms


Single girl never shy

Only scared of the ones

Who say goodbye say goodbye


It’s getting hard to find the time

To get back home you’ve got things

On your mind on your mind


Here we go don’t know where

Count to four climb aboard

See you there see you there




I’m the son of a homebreaker two timing lovemaker

Cheating & unfaithful wife

She made some mistakes got some unlucky breaks

But she gave me this beautiful life

She knew it was wrong but she taught me this song

And ‘don’t stand and fight just be smart & move on’


I remember the hurting when I thought she’d deserted me

My heart was breaking in two

Barely sixteen in a nightmare of dreams

And my father was suffering too

And he started drinking a friend came along

He said ‘ now don’t be foolish

be smart and move on’


Don’t give up          don’t give in


When you’re offering love there are plenty of takers

And taking is what they do best

Though they took her & drained

Her her love kept returning

Her yearning heart strong in her breast

To those crippled & lovesick & heartbroken men

She kept on returning again & again


She moved to the city & never came back

Never holding my father again

She lived out her days in her own single bed

And I buried her close to her friends

Her need to be loved was an unending song

So she settled at last for a need to belong




He shuts the door on discontent

And wonders where the loving went

She doesn’t wait to watch him go

Is she trusting or indifferent

And meanwhile in another town

A woman’s heart begins to pound

His voice is soft he’s on his way

It’s time to draw the curtain down


He’s got something new

Now there’s no more blue

No more what to do with you


Her body’s tight her body’s tanned

She makes him feel like Superman

He isn’t young she doesn’t care

He’s Dorian Grey and Peter Pan

To each one’s life they bring a light

She knows he’ll never leave his wife

And that’s her one security

She’ll change her sheets but not her life


Inside the church of no regret

It’s all too easy to forget

The night man sweeps away the lies

And draws the veil on self-respect

And he too frightened to confess

Weeps while his indiscretion’s blessed

By priests who hold to the belief

What can’t be seen won’t cause distress




I wrote a letter the other day

Put down all the words I had to say

I told my love I was going away

There were things I had to do

I said I‘ve never seen the Taj Mahal

The Grand Canyon or the holy Nile

I could be gone for a little while

but I’ll come back to you


I‘ll come back I’ll come back

Then I’ll come back to you

It’s a beautiful world full of mystery

With an ancient and dangerous history

So send your farewell kiss to me

I promise I’ll be true

I wanna see shrines in the mist of a Chinese dawn

Blue whales rise on a white Christmas morning

Infinite acres of yellow corn

Fade into cornflower blue


We’re tiny voices in endless space

Our song is an echo of endless grace

I swear I’ll never forget your face

You’re always in my heart

I wanna see wild horses on a snowbound plain

Rain forests glisten with tropical rain

The eye of The Sphinx and the lion’s mane

Desert guardians in the dark

Then I got a letter on a lonely day

She said “go where you like that’s ok

There’s only one thing I want to say

Don’t come back don’t come back

do what you gotta do

Don’t come back don’t come back

I will not wait for you”


And here is the moral of my sad song

You don’t wanna be where you don’t belong

Cos something’s not right doesn’t mean it’s wrong

And most dreams don’t come true


Love is the chalice the holy grail

Everything else is just detail

Don’t wake up to find your ship set sail

And love slipped out on you


Won’t  come back won’t  come back

No matter what you do

Won’t  come back  won’t come back

Love won’t come back to you




I see you sitting on the step

Tell me what you’re thinking of

You can’t forgive and you can’t forget

Do you really want my love ?


We had fields of green and gold

We had plans for dreaming of

Where have all those bright dreams gone?

Has the grass grown over love?


Blue the sea and blue the sky

Bright the sun that shone above

Did the sweetness pass us by?

Do you really want my love?


You don’t talk anymore

We don’t smile anymore

Do you love me anymore?


You my promise you my life

You my flesh and you my blood

Just the husband just the wife

Do you really want my love?


When you sleep you turn away

I turn to the stars above

Bring the answer bring the day

Do you really want my love?


Bring the anger bring the tears

Spare us both the velvet glove

Help me face my biggest fears

Do you really want my love?


We don’t touch anymore we don’t kiss anymore

Do you love me anymore?



I rode along a country road at sunset

And I watched a full moon rise

I’ve seen the proof that there must be a heaven

In the sunset in your eyes

I stopped beside the road and on the radio

I swear I heard your name

I called out to you in the summer night

In my anger and my shame


How many days how many days

Til I feel the rhythm of a different drum

How many days how many days

Til the days that make the difference come


The stars are full of promises

The moon’s a good luck charm in every sky

But every good luck charm I ever had

The magic seemed to pass me by

If we were going nowhere

How come it’s such a long way down

And every road I travel on these days

Leads me back to my home town




The Poacher came in the dead of night

When the weary moon slipped out of sight

He saw a girl on the edge of the wood

Sleeping sound and sleeping good

And a prettier girl he’d never seen

If he were a King she’d be his Queen


He whispered softly in her ear

“Oh tell me miss why you lie here?”

She woke with a start like a frightened Deer

And she asked “How long

Were you standing there?”

And he saw in her eyes the forest green

Oh if he were a King she’d be his Queen


“I rode with my Prince from the nearby town

And the hunters came and they shot him down

They left me to die from my wounded heart

And for seven days I lay in the dark”

And he saw in her eyes her pain and fear

A defenceless thing like a frightened Deer


He gathered her up in her tattered gown

And to his own house he carried her down

He laid her there in his own bed

And he washed her skin and he soothed her head

And he cried “My dear will you marry me?”

She answered “First give me wishes three”


“Just  name any wish and I’ll make it true

I’ll do anything I’d die for you”

She looked up at him with her eyes so green

“If you were King would you make me Queen?”

He cried “My dear did I think aloud

For that’s one wish I already vowed?”


“For my second wish I would have your home

And if I married you everything you own”

Her gentle hands drew him to her breast

And he heard his voice as he answered ‘Yes’

As he lay at last in her loving arms

He swore no more would she come to harm


“For my last wish swear to the lord above

You will kill the man who killed my love

And in her tree-green eyes like a dream he saw

The beast he’d killed seven days before

And he went to the wood on the edge of town

And the Poacher wept as he lay down


I caught her out this morning

Singing something from the movie King Creole

There’s nothing strange in that you’d say

Just a piece of classic 50’s rock’n’roll

But i aint slept at all since she came home

With ‘ Live in Memphis Volume two’

And last night we made love to

‘A burning hunk of love ‘ and ‘Stuck on you’


I’m gonna tell her I’m gonna tell her everything

It’s me or Elvis Your lover or The King


She started out on Vegas stuff

But soon the early 70’s kicked in

Sleek black leather trousers, open shirt,

Jet black hair & perfect skin

And what about the 60’s?

We just can’t go on with these suspicious minds

On her ‘love me tender’ pillow

She’s cried herself to sleep for the last time


She says it’s just infatuation

“Don’t cry daddy, baby’s got the blues

“You can take me out tomorrow night

“Tonight I’ve gotta clean my blue suede shoes”

She said there’d never be another

She could never love no one but me

But I just found a one way ticket

In her drawer to Graceland Tennessee






The woman combed her yellow hair

Fixed her dress and stepped into the street

Behind her in the hotel room

Maria turns the bed to change the sheets

Suddenly a flash of light

Leaps out from inbetween the linen folds

Maria slides her hand along the sheet

Still warm and finds the fool’s gold


She steps up to the window

Just in time to watch the woman drive away

Her cell phone rings her boyfriend calls

To say the factory had no work today

She slips the ring upon her finger

– thinks: “My hands are starting to look Old”

But still there’s something beautiful

About the hand that wears the fool’s gold


A woman sits with yellow hair

Her husband asks her

“Where’s your wedding ring?”

“I must have lost it washing up

You know you can’t trust me with Anything”

Across town on a liar’s ring

Maria swears to honour and to hold

Bound to him by poverty

And promises and fool’s gold





you know i’m sorry for what i’ve done

you know it’s crazy what i’ve become

without love your sweet love

bring it back – back home to me


i’ll give you all i’ve got to give

if i can’t have you i don’t wanna live


i said some bad things i lost my mind

saw a life without you but i was blind


dew like diamonds on morning grass

now it’s just cold rain on broken glass




“how you doing now ?”

the broken traveller cries

“we are the weak we are the wise

where’ you going now ?

can i ride along with you?

temptation’s strong and we are few

it’s the way of the faithful the path of the weak

we sing or we pray

cos we’re frightened to speak”


it’s the sound of hallelujahs


“how you doing now?

i see you woke up in the dirt

no shoes and someone else’s shirt

you can talk to me

i see there’s trouble in your eyes

you’ve seen the young and hypnotised

and the road that they ride is a ribbon of dreams

and their world is as wide and as flat as their screens”


are you listening now

as he sings his father’s song ?

the flesh too weak the tide too strong

see him sail away on the mississippi mud

tempted by fate and  tainted blood

and the song that he sings

is a hymn that will speak

to the ones who seek heroes

in the lost and the weak



silver wings from the blue

crash and burn, cut in two

free to fly foreign shores

free to die for your cause

born in grief raised in chains

blind belief fear no pain

learn to fight learn to hate

life is war death is great


the world is your enemy god is your king

and if it’s his will you’ll destroy everything


is your faith so correct

it requires no respect

for the good and the pure

and the wrongs they endure

those who live and let live

knowing life is to give?

they’ve a right to belong

ride the bus sing their song


you crash into satellites

blood on your wings

you’re jealous of sunlight

and other god’s things

the sun shines for everyone

peace is a blessing you earn

burn dragon burn




it’s time to put your red dress on

see how beautiful you are

now the night is almost gone

you will be my falling star

as the shadows turn to gold

and our tears to morning rain

leave a promise i can hold

until i hold you once again


i watch you brush your yellow hair

run your fingers through the sun

my body aches to touch you there

but time is short and you must run

i know that others see your face

the eyes and mouth that i adore

and wish that they could take my place

until i hold you close once more

a mother’s arms are safe and sure

a mother’s arms are soft and pure

this kind of love no man will know

i’ll still love you when you go


i know you’ve got your work to do

there’s broken hearts for you to mend

i know the pain that men go through

and those who only need a friend

and when you close that hotel door

what happens there i’ll never ask

i will only miss you more

until i hold you close at last




poor lizzie loved a highwayman

she gave him all a young girl can

and in return he gave her widowhood


from the bell at hempstead born to trade

the butcher’s axe and the butcher’s blade

and his childhood bride the picture made complete

but lizzie’s mother understood

that boy would come to nothing good

an apprenticeship in bone and blood

won’t lead my girl to motherhood


but didn’t he look fine in church today

in his buckled boots and his fustian coat

and his feathers blue and grey


young richard joined the gregorys

all essex boys the lowest thieves

they robbed both rich and poor for greed & gain

they broke into their homes at night

regardless of their means or might

they’d rape or scald or set alight

those poor souls who put up a fight


no honour bound those desperate men

they shot both enemies and friends

they sold their souls for liberty and gold

and lizzie’s dreams of home gave way

to cold nights in a forest cave

to a husband who she couldn’t keep

who killed his friend and ran away


on a stolen coal black mare called bess they say

by a full moon’s arc he rode to york

two hundred miles away


with the bounty high he changed his name

he poached the deer & the horse & game

and left his father to take the blame to gaol

til one day the landlord’s bird he blew

the landlord cried “dick i know you”

and again the drunk his pistol drew

crying “let me charge and i’ll shoot you too”


from his prison cell he sent a note

to his brother and inside he wrote

“find men who’ll stand good witness to my name”

but he wouldn’t pay the postage due

and the letter fell to one who knew

the writing of the one whose fame

had brought the turpin house to shame


but didn’t he look fine in court today

in his buckled boots and his fustian coat

and his feathers blue and grey


dick turpin paid five men to mourn

in new coat & shoes stepped out at dawn

like a gentleman he bowed along the way

he stepped up to the hangman’s gate

and felt his leg begin to shake

he stamped the fear and with his friend

the hangman half an hour he spent

and with a proud and noble air

he leapt from that three legged mare

and for a while he dangled free

his feathers kissed by morning air


but mother didn’t he swing well today

in his buckled boots and his fustian coat

and his feathers blue and grey


they buried turpin’s body deep

but when the town was fast asleep

the bodysnatchers stole his corpse away

an angry crowd, friends to his fame

in preservation of his name

saved him from the butcher’s blade

and laid to rest the highwayman

they gave his ring and handsome clothes away

and another woman’s tears fell on

his feathers blue and grey









last night she dreamed he was her valentine

blood roses bloomed on the edge of her bed

she felt the sheets tighten around her waist

as he leaned closer stroking her head


last night she dreamed she rose to meet his face

she felt his lips as they touched her skin

softly the rain tapped on the window pane

softly his arms gathered her in


don’t go


lonesome she wakes walking the kids to school

there on the newstand she looks in his eyes

“secret film found a soldier’s last moments”

for the price of a newspaper watch a man die


out on patrol shot by americans

a tragic mistake that no one expects

the pilot is named he came from idaho

retired with promotion his country regrets


last night she dreamed he was her valentine

blood roses bloomed as he sank to his knees

softly he cried “who needs an enemy

i should have listened when you called out to me..”




the moon is slowly sinking the final moon i’ll see

my head is tired of thinking there’s just the rosary

an empty place at table

and my mother’s eyes are wet

the hand of god came down last night

and jesus wept


if i’d been a captain they would have sent me home

but i am just a private condemned to die alone

the firing squad’s been drinking

it’s a dawn they won’t forget

the hand of god came down last night

and jesus wept


sound the drum for their young precious years

but no glory will shine on my poor mother’s tears


a soldier’s good for fighting

that’s what my father said

and if the man’s not fighting

he might as well be dead

shame has drawn the curtains

and the neighbours won’t forget

the hand of god came down last night

and jesus wept


i got the shakes on tuesday i cannot go i said

they sent me down on wednesday

by thursday i was dead

i fought for king and country

two years without regret

the hand of god came down last night

and jesus wept


we all fall in the cause of the free

when the sun sets on england

will you think of me?


in unmarked graves in flanders

lie 300 boys and men

killed un-loved and frightened

by those they thought were friends

a nation’s guilty secret is this generation’s debt

the hand of god came down last night

and jesus wept




one man singing in empty space

he sings of love and god’s sweet grace

a better life and a better place

where no man sings in empty space


two men singing for company

like boats adrift on the loneliest sea

drawn by the light and the harmony

singing a song that will make men free


three men singing at my front door

songs of freedom and songs of war

i clap my hands and i cry for more

we’ll sing you a song if you’ll make us four


sing away for maria

sing away in the wilderness

sing away sweet and clear

sing away – sing away


one man singing beneath the sun

he sings the tears of the motherless son

drawn to the light and the chosen one

one man singing for everyone




martha went down to the well

to where her love lay sleeping

his coat was torn his skin was pale

his face was stained from weeping

she woke him up with a tender kiss

and asked why he was grieving

he said “They’ll never let us be

and so i must be leaving

for your true love i’m leaving”


“oh tell me love why you must go

what have i done to hurt you?

what is it here that grieves you so

and why can’t my love hold you ?”

he closed his eyes and he saw his father’s

face so red from screaming

“ that working girl won’t be your wife

that’s just a poet’s dreaming

and a young girl’s idle scheming”


she walked him home and on the way

his sister she lay waiting

“you callous boy – you selfish boy

your mother’s heart is breaking”

to martha then she raised her hand saying

“you must go and leave him

he’s the apple of his father’s eye

and you are far beneath him

go stupid girl and leave him “


all that night he stayed away

and six nights more was missing

they found him on the windswept moor

death’s icy hands around him

they brought him to his father’s house

on silken sheets they laid him

and with his failing breath he prayed

for martha to come see him

and death’s cold hands to free him


then martha uninvited came

to where her love was lying

an orange for his milk white skin

and comfort in his dying

his sister sat at his death bed

and would not let her near him

but with his final breath he sighed

“i’ll hold you close come evening”

and only she could hear him.


she stumbled through the empty streets

and heard the death bell tolling

weak with fear and blind with grief

she gave in to the falling

a passing stranger caught her there

“i hear death’s angel calling

and life by grief is freed from me

and my poor heart is broken

since my sweet love was taken”


martha went down to the well

to where her love lay sleeping

his coat was torn his skin was pale

and she lay down beside him

in bowes churchyard on a stone

their names obscured by weather

where love and death has bound them so

they lay at last together

their true love sealed forever





The wind blew through the chapel door

the priest lay sleeping still

His prayer book stained with whisky lay

where his last bottle spilled

The coloured glass threw red and yellow

patches on his skin

Yellow for the tears of Christ

and blood red for his sin


Temptation’s vandals left their mark

inside the sleeping man

toxic dreams like poison spread

across his inner land

A traveller passing saw his light funereal and dim

And like a ghost returns to where he died

he wandered in


‘wake up priest’ the traveller cried

‘i am a hungry man

I rode a hundred miles today

this god-forsaken land

Bring me bread and bring me wine

i see the whisky’s done’

The priest threw out a trembling hand

and bid the stranger gone


‘i will not leave’ the traveller cried

‘i have returned to you

Do you not know your altar boy

some thirty summers through ?

You gave me faith you touched my lips

you soothed my bloodshot eyes

And now i’m back a broken man

to talk of truth and lies’


‘no neither one you’ll get from me’

he gurgled in his tweed

‘I need a drink’ the curate rasped

‘i don’t know what you need

What faith i had is broken now

my dreams are drowned in wine

And as for truth that bitter fruit

lies withered on the vine’


The traveller shook the ragged man

the dust and fleas dispersed

‘you mean my life has been a lie

and with your blessing cursed?

And those i’ve loved have been deceived

my father’s hopes my mothers’ fears

The faith of lovers ill-conceived

my brother’s bruises undeserved

Dreams all built on drifting sand

visions cast on broken wings

How can a young child understand

when magic dies and time’s bell rings’ ?


The stranger squeezed the fragile priest

until his face turned red

‘What is the point in your dull life

if all belief is dead’ ?

‘no point at all’ the priest said

‘life’s as futile as you think

If I can’t provide the answers

and you can’t provide the drink’


The wind blew through the chapel where

the priest was lying still

Down the road a stranger ran

his face ashen and ill

Above the door he’d carved these words

‘consider this a sign

Break the bread, heed the word

but beware the holy wine’



i will sleep tonight in a stranger’s bed

i will lay my head where a stranger’s head

never heard your voice or the words you said

and i wish i was with you again


goodnight you birmingham ladies

and goodnight you birmingham men

i remember so well how we danced til we fell

will we sing all the sad songs again


in a seaside town we talked all night

i kissed your face you held me tight

and you said everything would turn out alright

and i wish i was with you again


with fools and magnificent failures

our old unreliable friends

i remember so well how we danced til we fell

will we sing all the sad songs again


the sunlight flies through the passing trees

i wish you were riding this train with me

when i close my eyes it’s your face i see

and i wish i was with you again


goodnight you birmingham ladies

and goodnight you birmingham men

the toreador is sleeping next door

and the bullring is silent again



william says to mary we’re strangers in our land

mary says to william will i understand

but what about the children

we’ll give them what they need

give them truth clothes and shoes

and something good to eat


through the fens in darkness

from boston they set sail

two miles out at scotia creek the expedition failed

the english captain robbed them

and turned the ship around

and working for the king’s own coin

the catchpole took them down


mary took the children patience love and fear

she bore them to god’s calling

god didn’t call them here

she’d take them to the new world

a new life waited there

with passage on the mayflower

william turned to prayer


oh say can’t you see by dawn’s holy light

dreams of america

innocent pilgrims drawn from the night

to dreams of america


of those who sailed from devon’s shore

barely half survived

from disease and deprivation

and broken hearts they died

leaving just four women to fifty youths and men

but william slept with no regret

said he’d do it all again


after seven years of hardship mary had passed on

patience was a weak child she’d follow before long

love & fear bore children and william held them dear

his legacy that man be free lived on in love and fear.


they sailed by the moon the first giant leap

dreams of america

on star spangled oceans to faith’s righteous sleep

dreams of america










Voices shatter on the high glass ceiling

The sun burns off the early morning rain

Mothers wave to damp-eyed children leaving

And Angelina’s waiting for a train


The ticket master dreams of lonely places

That he’s intent on visiting some day

He tries to read the journeys on their faces

But Angelina gives nothing away


She ran so fast and she ran so long

But she’d forgot what she was running from

Last night she called her mother on the phone

Angelina’s coming home


Swallows nest inside the station’s arches

Safe beneath their glass and iron sky

But sunlight never shines upon their feathers

And there’s no wind to speed them where they fly


Tired of the eyes of men upon her

Weary of their whispers and their lies

Romance has lost its hold on Angelina

She stares into her mobile phone and cries



From Manchester town she was driven away

Tortured and tormented day after day

Married by force by her father betrayed

Scars on the heart of ann lee


Her father a blacksmith with brethren in fire

Blind to her will he condemned her desire

To a bed lain with embers of love unrequired

Fire in the heart of ann lee


Freed from the prisons of impotent men

Four children taken before they were ten

Her womb was their shroud and their making her sin

Scars on the heart of ann lee

Ann lee was crazy – Crazy with love

Ann lee was crazy – Crazy with god


Raised by the angels their breath was her balm

From beating and stoning they kept her from harm

On her flight to America oceans they calmed

Peace in the heart of ann lee


When the shakers of Lebanon joined in the fight

War all around them they fought for the right

To swear no allegiance except to the light

The light in the heart of ann lee

On the blazing horizon the feet of her lord

Her mother and father ann daughter of god

In forty eight years all she kissed was the word

The word from the heart of ann lee



in the cathedral of the trees beneath a starry sky

where every light looking down

on the kingdom of the clowns

is an ancestral eye


and the whispers on the breeze

are the voices of my race

and the man in the moon

who sings an ancient tune

has my grandfather’s face


crack the ice upon the lake

sing the songs of yesterday

all the stories written then

will be written out again

in a more familiar way


i sit and watch the children play

kicking up my childhood dirt

my mother’s voice in dust remains

and the blood within these veins

stained my grandfather’s shirt


and you who hold the seeds of love

from the gardener’s hand

songs of love written then

will be written out again

for new hearts to understand


my father’s breath against the frost

the scent of apples from our tree

bittersweet the taste of youth

on my lips these are the truth

of the song i sing to thee


find the nest steal the egg

until I know my right from wrong

now the bird is on the wing

the melody she sings

is my grandfather’s song


you who would protect the seeds

that are not yours to own

a selfishly protected root bears only bitter fruit

let the seeds be sown

with your self-appointed trust

look, your hands are full of dust

let the seeds be sown.



She leans in a doorway

the tears stream down her face

Watching  the highway lights

And the man who upset her

well she knows he’ll forget her

And those all too few and tender nights

And the guard on the beat crosses over the street

And he asks her if she is ok

She says “i’m tired of hard men

with walls all around them

And i’m looking for johnnie ray”


He asks her for coffee she says “you mean coffee?”

He smiles and he points down the street

The soft moonlight glistens sad eyed she listens

“Did i just hear a heart skip a beat?”

They sit over coffee he speaks to her softly

In a strong and a vulnerable way

And she looks in his eyes

thinking ‘that’s some disguise

I was looking for johnnie ray’


“All i want is a guy who’s not too tough to cry

Who’ll stay up when the nights are too long

If he wants to play hero let him be like DeNiro

Not scared to own up when he’s wrong”


They walked home in the rain

and he sang that refrain

She’d heard johnnie sing so many times

They stand on the step she was tired of regret

So she kissed him and asked him inside

He put ‘look homeward angel’

on her worn out dansette

And they danced all the darkness away

She looked  in his eyes

and when he asked her why

She said “i’m looking for johnnie ray”



She came from the west with her pencils and paint

He came from the east with his Spanish guitar

She drew portraits of ladies and sinners and saints

To sell in the market and trade in the bar


She came down the drover’s lane

deep in the wood

Where the feet of the old ones

had trampled the moss

At rest by her fire in the twilight he stood

The guitar on his back made the sign of a cross


Down the drover’s road where the rovers drove

Their cattle to market their ponies to town

She lay there all night in his arms

Til the moon came sailing down


Her hair was as black as the sloe in the hedge

Her eyes were as deep and as brown as the oak

He put down his guitar and he sat on the ledge

She unbuckled her boots

and in a soft voice she spoke


“I eat when i’m hungry i drink when i’m dry

I walk when i’m ready i sleep when i can

If you sing me a love song let it end with goodbye

For  i won’t give my heart to a travelling man”


Then he sang her a love song as blue as the night

As sharp as the nails and as soft as a lamb

Of a girl with the hands of a painter in light

Of the deep holy night and the love of a man


“i eat when i’m hungry i drink when i’m dry

i walk when i’m ready i sleep when i can

i’ll sing you a song with no word of goodbye

and will you give your heart to a travelling man”




If you love me let me know

Don’t just close the door and go

And if you shed a tear for me

Turn your face and let me see

I want to hold you oh so much

I need love that i can touch

Love that will wash over me

Like the shoreline and the sea


I knew a man who lived alone

I met him by my fireside

He watched the dying flame and moaned

“I can’t recall when last i cried

I know i had a lover once

She used to come and go with me

And we were happy in the dance

Like the shoreline and the sea”


I’m not asking for the moon

Its light is all i need

And i’m not asking for the sun

Just let it shine on me


I knew a girl whose heart was broken

She brought it out to show to me

Her hands were warm her lips were cold

She sat all day and watched the sea

Oh save me from a fate so cruel

Speak your mind be straight with me

Love be constant love be true

Like the shoreline and the sea




If i should fall from you

Too weak to hold onto

Don’t let me slip or lose my grip

We made this trip for two

If i should fall from grace

Where no one knows this place

Don’t let me go down below

Save me and show your face

If i should fall from grace


When morning brings the day

and you dreamed i went away

Don’t mope about don’t scream and shout

Just come right out and say

You dreamed i went away


Your story’s my story now

Your journey’s my journey if time will allow


If i’m the one you need

don’t shout the odds with me

Don’t make me guess or feign dis-interest

Say you more or less agree

If i’m the one you need


If i’m the last to know

I’ve let your feelings go

If i’ve been blind  don’t be kind

Just speak your mind i’ll know

If i’m the last to know





Thomas waits for the van to come

in the house that he was born in

Redcliffe shines in the milk white sun

of a misty Bristol morning

“Stop your dreaming Tom” his mother cries

“you’ve got your flask and your pork pies

you’re a working boy i’ve a home to run

and we can’t eat words and we can’t spend  rhymes”

and the van is late some time to dream

over Redcliffe’s golden spires

Thomas waits for the van to come

And in his eyes are fires


the van arrives with the laughing boys

their cigarettes and their chatter

Tom fills his overalls with poems

their foolish talk doesn’t matter

they talk of football they talk of girls

cars and bars and fashion

Tom’s alone in his troubled head

with his poetry and his passion

and a tram line track like a lightning bolt

from the consecrated ground

throws sparks in the veins of the Redcliffe boy

and draws the bright stars down


wake up Tom the foreman shouts

i don’t pay you for thinking

you can go to church on a sunday boy

monday is for working

Tom swings his pick in the frozen earth

his city’s renovation

Hitler’s bombs stripped the pretty stones

of romance and fascination

but Tom goes where on the spiral stair

the ghost of a poet wanders

eclipsed by his death his final breath

in Redcliffe’s tower still thunders


the sirens scream and the spotlights glare

at Tom on Redcliffe’s spire

his mother cries and the vicar begs

“Tom don’t climb any higher”

as he scatters poems on the heads below

a voice at his shoulder speaks

“It’s a good life Tom don’t jump don’t run

this way is for the weak”

and he stares in the face of the Redcliffe boy

the fiery truth in his eyes

“It was bad love, drugs and stupidity

and it’s history that lies “


“Come down come down you Redcliffe boy

come down into these arms

we were foolish then and we’re foolish now

and we let you come to harm”

Tom looked around for the Redcliffe boy

but his ghost was laid in the stone

and the words that he said

filled his heart and his head

and Tom came down alone




when you were young and precious

daddy’s little girl

with your mother to protect you

from the strangers in this world

there were monsters in the moonlight

there were faces in the clouds

but she’d hold you in her sweet strong arms

and she’d call your name out loud

and dad would make his fingers

into birds and animals

funny shadows on the wall


now you lay in bed for hours

you wanna sleep but you just cry

and you ask yourself what happened

and you ask yourself why

it’s like everything is useless

it’s like everybody’s gone

and you lie there feeling helpless

what’s the sense in going on

and you wake up with the terror

and inside the burning ball

and shadows on the wall


now the doctor says he’ll help you

your daddy said that too

and you just want to please them

the way that pleasers do

but deep inside you know it’s time

to break free of those chains

don’t take the pills don’t take the shit

don’t play their grown up game

and know that I’m beside you

if you run or if you crawl

they’re just shadows on the wall


you fought for independence

you fought for love and truth

for the freedom of your children

to enjoy their strength and youth

it was you who stood beside me

in the dark night of my soul

that little girl grew up to be

the one who made me whole

the hands of those who love you

make cradles when you fall

and shadows on the wall



Stained by the light of a blood-red sun

Dragged from the hill where the soldiers come

A trail of crimson bleeds to black

He scratches the lines in the stadium

That he hides in a shoe


Lines on the lips of 5,000 men

A story begun without knowing the end

Though it’s hard to sing when he sings of pain

The singer raises his voice again

“Venceremos  –  Venceremos”


Six men chosen and six men die

Six stars fall from September skies

The hands that worked in freedom’s fields

Make the sign of a cross one last time

Santiago  –  Santiago


His conviction his legacy

For the men of the fields and the factory

He sings their silence he sings their dreams

In his last breath he sings their victory

Victor Jara – Victor Jara


A heart of earth stopped by a fascist gun

Joe Hill knew he wasn’t the only one

It takes more than a gun to kill a man

They shot him down but his song goes on

Victor Jara  –  Victor Jara



The sweetest girl he ever saw

Walked by his house one day

The sun that fell upon her face

the way she walked with ease and grace

He swore that he would take his place

beside her arm in arm


She turned her head and caught his eye

And fire shot through his veins

And in that single moment then

he heard her vow to be his bride

He heard her whisper where and when

he saw it in her eyes


But like a ghost she hurried on

She spoke no word and then was gone

a crimson cloud passed through the sun

He watched her fade her cloak of red,

the wind blown leaves cried in his head

‘your darling will be yours’ they said ‘

but you must win her heart’


He waited out upon the moor

As from the church she came

Another walked beside her there

he held her hand and kissed her hair

To see them so he could not bear

the voices cried ‘revenge’


To Tavistock he walked that day

And bought himself a gun

To win her heart he tried in vain

the wind implored him ‘try again’

But she just laughed, he cried the rain,

they stole away the sun


He waited out upon the moor

The sky turned black his anger roared

and from the church he watched them walk

His pistol cracked the man fell dead

he put the gun to her sweet head

He shot her, then to his own head

he fired two more rounds


But by his hand he could not die

He grazed his head and lost an eye

Into the water leapt in vain

but drowning would not end his pain

They brought him back and healed his wound

that they might stretch him well


To Exeter they took him down

The judge pronounced him fit to hang

His pleas of madness eased no blame

his mother cried the family shame

On Dartmoor still none speak his name

but for that bitter wind

That cruel and bitter wind









Tears are falling tears of rage

Our sad story on every page

Tears of longing tears of grief

Sail away no more come back to me


Birds are flying east winds blow

See me crying every time you go

Heartsick sailors called to sea

Sail away no more come back to me


Like a boat on a sea

Far away from land and safety

Like a leaf from a tree

Shaken loose and blown away from me


Widows grieving silent men

Brave hearts broken never beat again

One man missing drifting free

Sail away no more come back to me





Billy left her on a Monday saying he was called to sea

Betsy said “A month come Sunday He’ll come back and marry me”

All the Sundays Betsy waited but no sign of Billy came

In her belly grew a baby, child of her and Billy’s shame.


Billy’s gone to far off places

Seen abroad in foreign towns

Betsy sees her neighbours’ faces

Billy’s with the dreamed and drowned


Months go past and Betsy’s growing, superstition runs amok

‘See that girl her sin is showing she will bring us all bad luck’

Betsy fell and Betsy tumbled, took no guidance from above

Billy’s sin a sailors promise, Betsy’s sin a maiden’s love.


Billy sailed to far off places

Betsy’s banished to the moor

See their cruel and pious faces

Damn her to the devil’s shore


Weeks she starved and weeks she thirsted, weeks she scoured the jealous sea

Crazy-eyed she cried to travellers “He’ll come back and marry me”

One white cross to mark her passing one white headstone bears her name

‘Here lies Betsy sweet and helpless’ did she die for love or shame?


Billy sailed to far off places

Betsy jumped without a sound

Star light on their sweet dead faces

Heaven weeps the dreamed and drowned


Years she lay upon the hillside, un-remembered and un-mourned

Earth protect her skin’s cold beauty, a coffin for her child unborn

Til one day a homesick sailor by fate or chance revealed her face

And built a monument to honour those who by love court disgrace


Billy sailed to far off places

Betsy lies in honoured ground

Now the shame’s gone from their faces

Heaven bless the dreamed and drowned





Mr rain the tailor

Looks down on the sailor

Makes him a coat of water

And an orphan daughter


Mr sun the weaver

Sees the colours leave her

Soothes her like a mother

Weeping for her lover


Blame the rain blame the rain

Blame the rain blame the rain


Mr moon the dreamer

Draws his coat around her

Throws the stars to please her

Spins a tale to ease her


Wrap him in clouds

Tie him in rainbows

Put him in a boat take him home

He made his family proud

Went out a hero

Beautiful boat take him home


Mr rain the tailor

Looks down on his sailor

Makes a coat of grieving

For the ones he’s leaving


Beneath  a rainbow’s awniing

Sailors come to mourning

The sun the rain the dreaming

Weave a shroud for evening



There’s a train there’s a train

Come to take me to the one i love

There’s a train there’s a train

Come to take me to the one i love


It’s homeward bound and bound for glory

And the engineer

knows everybody’s name

Every station is a chapter in your story

And every love song is

the rhythm of that train


There’s a train there’s a train

Come to take me to the one i love

There’s a train there’s a long black train

Come to take me to the one i love


And the steam is the breath of every life

And the engine is the beat of every heart

Let the porter be your guide

show your ticket and just ride

And your destination

is the place you start


It’s black and white remembered

When the lovers kiss goodbye

It’s the lonely whistle in the darkest night

It’s the coming home of loved ones

And the soldier’s tearful eye

It’s the journey that will

lead you to the light




I’ve never danced but I know I could

Or broke the law but I know I would

For you my love

Long ago and far away

This child would give his Christmas day

For you my love


This kind of love breaks hearts and bones

But I don’t care I’d break my own

For you my love


The earth will crack and waters flood

But all that counts is flesh and blood

And you my love


When all we have is washed away

And all i want is one more day

With you my love


I’ve been blind too blind to see

That in the end it’s only me

And you my love




I can’t tell you why

No I can’t tell you why

The time has come for leaving

Now it’s time for me to fly


I can’t tell you when

No I can’t tell you when

I made my mind up to go

Down that road again

Yes I’m leaving you

Yes I’m leaving you


I can’t tell you how

No I can’t tell you how

I made this big decision

And I’m leaving now


I can’t tell you who

Is going to see me through

It really doesn’t matter

Now I’m leaving you


I can’t say for sure

Just what I’m leaving for

All I know for certain

Is I don’t love you anymore


I can’t tell a lie

No I can’t tell a lie

I won’t be coming back again

It’s time to say goodbye








There used to be a lily in the field

the field above the stream that ran the mill

i gathered up the lily for a girl

and industry has gathered up the field

up the field  (up the field   ummmm)


there used to be a giant sycamore

that spread it’s faithful branches over me

the first time that a young boy tasted love

oh lead me from the curse of memory


the places that i’ve known

come back to visit me

and all the girls i’ve loved before

look back to see

to some it is god’s grace

to others a disease

the curse of memory

the curse of memory


there used to be a place for us to hide

beneath the starry blanket of the sky

but now the red brick soldier’s closing in

the golden days mount up

and wave goodbye

wave goodbye


time heals everything they say

i disagree

wherever there’s regret

the pain will always be

save it for your photographs and diaries

the curse of memory the curse of memory




Oh no I can’t go down

I can’t go down the river

Oh no I can’t go down

I can’t go down to Rivertown


My Rowland he’s a handsome boy

His eyes are bright and bonny

He’d meet me at the stones at night

With vinegar and money

His mother’s sick his sister’s weak

His father died quite early

Some say it was the Tailor’s cloth

Some say it was the barley


It’s two months since the sickness came And the minister decided

The village would be quarantined

And villagers divided

And when the faithful meet in prayer They’ll stand beside the river

Protected by the open air

Apart from one another


But Rowland cried he could not stand From my love to be parted

He’d sooner die at the Devil’s hand than wither brokenhearted

And so at night across the stream that marked the village boundary

Rowland came out of the dark and in his arms they found me


Each day I walk the widow’s path and past the graves of Riley

A child for each day of the week a husband for a sunday

And when the faithful meet in prayer their numbers are not many

I hide behind the boundary stone and search in vain for Rowley


My Rowland was a handsome boy his eyes were bright and bonny




this old night is broken down

the moon is a boat that is sinking fast

and the stars are spinning round

out of control and too dim to last

once i had you here to hold me

blue nights without an end

but you bought my dreams and sold me

to this broken night without a friend


through the night i’ll still be here

trying to mend what i can’t control

precious thoughts and bitter tears

a piece of my heart and a fragment of soul

i know the leaves that fall in autumn

don’t break the hearts of trees

for the spring returns a blossom

filled with promises and memories


such a night it is hard to be strong

without you here beside me it goes on and on so long – so long


come tomorrow you’ll find me

wasted and washed up

on morning’s shore

all around the weeping sea

for lovers to leave and return no more

i am guilty of my weakness

i didn’t mean to be unkind

but without your love there’s darkness

and the night is broken and i am blind



All through the night she holds me

From fear and harm she keeps me

She is the light above me

She is the one who loves me

All through the night

All through the night


All through the day she’s with me

Her gentle arms around me

With her sweet voice she saved me

And with her trust she made me

All through the day

All through the day


All through my life i’ll love her

And there will be no other

She is my breath my breathing

She is my heartbeat beating

All through my life

All through my life


All through the world she’s near me

When i am sick and weary

When all the world can’t heal me

She’ll comfort and conceal me

All through the world

All through the world




davey johnson wets his hair

takes himself to the county fair

sees his jenny waiting there

waiting for davey


davy works the carousel

the big wheel & the hounds of hell

all to pay the rearing fees

of a racing pony


in the field behind the gate

fourteen hands and born to fly

davey’s pony stands and waits

for the days of glory


jenny leans on the switchback steps   other girls just wear her out

they’re all gum and cigarettes

making out & make-up


jenny’s father canters down from the house upon the hill

seeing davy rears around, draws up his horse in anger


“the gypsy boy’s no good for you”

jenny takes her lover’s arm

“he’s from the wrong side of the track, that boy will come to nothing”


davy smells the chestnut mare

her sweet breath upon his face

for three years the ribbons’ won

with jenny’s father on her


for three years no one came close

davey felt the hunger burn

he took the insults and the jeers

and dreamed of the winning


davey brings his cob aroud

a finer pony none had seen

reins trimmed & stirrups raised

and shining like copper

” look there, the gypsy boy!”

jenny’s father calls aloud

“the pony doesn’t make the man.

he’s gonna get a hiding”


as the starter fires his gun

davey’s horse is flying

moment’s later davey’s won

and jenny’s father’s raging


jenny runs to her golden boy

he pulls her up on his pony’s back

he ties the ribbons in her hair

and rides to her father

“Your daughter’s hand will be my prize. keep your garlands and your gold.

the only wrong side of the tracks

is the side that’s losing”




He lived for his country

but now he lives alone

His blood is English

he’s England’s flesh and bone

He worked 60 years for a piece of this soil

The rich and the greedy grow fat on his toil

He lived for his country

but now he lives alone.


He’s gathered the flowers

that grow on his sweetheart’s grave

He tells her his thoughts

in the silence that ends every day

He told her the day that the children left home

he tells her their news on the few times they phone

He says “why did you leave me to miss them alone?”

He’s gathered the flowers that grow on his sweetheart’s grave.


I picked up the paper

that lay on the street where he fell

The crowd drifted off

in the distance the ambulance bell

Some thought they might know him

he had a familiar smile

Like an old friend or relative

no one had seen for a while

I thought I read “Loneliness – Nation’s disgrace”

“Old soldiers and heroes are dying without trace”

But I read of the cost of un-winnable war

And the hospitals closing their doors to the poor

I picked up the paper that lay on the street where he fell.


He lived for his country and now he lives alone.



The soldiers came from across the sea with battleships and guns

There was no one here to fight them jenny

And not a place to run


Word came help was coming soon

for now we’ll bide our time

We’re poor Atlantic islanders

They’ve bigger fish to fry


They’ve mined the beaches all along they’ve mined the bottom field

What few cows we had left this spring

Half of them are killed


They’re blown to smithereens now

I saw the bull explode

I was out this morning in the tractor jenny

To scrape him off the road


They’ll take us down to the schoolhouse

They’ll lead us one by one

Don’t forget your pills jenny

Don’t want no bastard son

don’t want no bastard son


We want nothing of this bloody war

on our bleak and barren soil

I knew there would be trouble jenny

Wherever there is oil


Did you see the soldier’s sandaled feet their old and rusty guns

Their heart’s not in the fighting jenny

But there’s no place to run.


The ministers and generals dream

of empires overthrown

Why can’t they play their games in peace

And sort it out at home and leave us folks alone


Give me one more chance

Open up the door

If we aint got love

What are we fighting for

Won’t you let me in

Won’t you let this monkey dance

I won’t let you down

Now my aim is true

And my will is strong

I put my faith in you

I won’t let you down

If you give me one more chance


I’m the Cinderella man


They will build you up

Then they’ll cut you down

Yesterday’s applause is a hollow sound

As you watch your dreams

Slipping through your broken hands

And it’s dog eat dog

And it’s eye for eye

Those fair-weather friends

Never say goodbye

But I’ll show them all

If you’ll give me one more chance


When you fall so far

It tears you up inside

But I kept my faith and I kept my pride

I can take the blows

They don’t hurt after a while

Cos the biggest hurt

Is in my baby’s eyes

And I feel her pain

Every time she cries

Give me one more chance

To make my baby smile














Short Stories



All This Longing

The Dreamed and the Drowned


Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller