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Text of Songs


Lewis Ellingham


Lewis Ellingham Many of the cited song lyrics in this work are copyrighted, and permission to reproduce has not been sought. As excerpted material situated to be a part of an original composition, these are transformed texts, a part of a larger whole. A list of sources online and from printed material appears at the end of this book.


Contentspage 5 larc-en-ciel 7 Always 10 Amazing Grace 13 angels sing thee 16 The Archer 18 Avalokitasvara 20 before you break my heart 23 Bei Mir bis du Schn 25 Blauer Engel 31 A Bridge 33 ce beau matin 38 cool 40 exactly 43 faded amber 46 Hannah 48 her dream of love was gone 50 how you can love 54 laughing at the clouds 57 The Library 60 magic pool 63 une maison bleue adoss la colline 66 mamselle 69 Margie 71 mine eyes have seen 76 The Mission 78 mosquitoes 80 my face painted with blue 83 Nokomis 88 The Oriole 90 The Owl 90 paired Chinese elms 96 pebbles 98 le stelle che tremano 101 Ive lost our good old mama 104 The Window 107 The Witness 111 a wonderful world




a cabbage butterfly flutters almost to a pause, a moment of sunlight breaking through the fog of almost every July morning, a scream (theres no other word (a progressing scream) from a passing jay adds sound to the forms of the spread hand of a rampant vine passing through the spaces as field for the again fluttering butterfly, cabbage a name for white seen throughout the year larc-en-ciel travers la toile de laraigne (the rainbow through the spiders web) Get sick, get well Hang around a ink well Ring bell, hard to tell If anything is goin to sell Try hard, get barred Get back, write braille Get jailed, jump bail Join the army, if you fail


a white dog, a volume masked by fluff, an assertive innocence in the gaze that nuzzled (me) this, what? a buttered weed, a jay hand picking the affection, the dog asked and gave larc-en-ciel the spiders web the precious stones that were hiding (les pierres prcieuses qui se cachaient) always that uncertainty a junco Dont steal, dont lift Twenty years of schoolin And they put you on the day shift Look out kid They keep it all hid monkey flower, bright yellow if it may be called orange starlings in the distance Look out kid Its somethin you did God knows when But youre doin it again You better duck down these animals have grown, the hand weed etched as veins in the butterfly cabbage diaphanous & magnificent as in dried leaves fallen



three young plasterers celebrate the early morning working on an apartment building, the top floor below the sundeck on a roof reached by an elevator; there will be an elevator even for the cars, a tight fitting structure on an urban property built speculatively for a high-end market in a low-end economy we hear all about it in the news shows two are Latino, one Anglo the language is working-class English Ill be loving you, always, With a love thats true, always, When the things youve planned Need a helping hand, I will understand, always, Always Brother Duck! Sister Dragonfly! Brother Osprey! Sister Barnacle! Brother Orchid! Sister Tulip! Brother Turnip! Sister Turdus migratorius! Rejoice! Laudati sunt! Days may not be fair, always, Thats when Ill be there, always. Not for just an hour, Not for just a day, Not for just a year, But always.


Kinston, N.C. (AP) The Gospel of John quotes Jesus as saying "I am the true vine," and some folks in eastern North Carolina think they may have witnessed a literal demonstration. A utility pole about a mile south of Kinston has attracted attention in the last week or so from people who say the kudzu clinging to it resembles the image of Jesus on the cross. Kent Hardison goes by the pole every day on his way to work at Ma's Hotdog House, about a 90-minute drive east of Raleigh. His first reaction, common here when it comes to kudzu, was to blast it with Roundup herbicide. But then he had second thoughts, according to The Free Press of Kinston. "I glanced at it, and it looks like Jesus," Hardison said. "I thought, 'You can't spray Jesus with Roundup.'" Believers have reported seeing the face of Jesus in everything from sheet metal to a grilled cheese sandwich, but the depiction of the crucifixion is a rarer phenomenon. "I just thought it was my imagination," Hardison said. "I thought I was crazy the first time I saw it and it resembled Jesus." Hardison and some of his customers think the vine might be an indication that God is watching over the region. "Maybe it's a sign of the times," Michelle Davis said. "There's been a lot going on in this area." Kudzu, originally imported from Japan decades ago to help prevent soil erosion, has enjoyed such explosive growth that it's sometimes known as "the vine that ate the South." Long a problem for foresters and farmers with large plots of land, in recent years it's been moving into cities and developed areas. Power companies spend about $1.5 million a year fixing damaged power lines caused by kudzu growth, according to Irwin Forseth Jr., a biologist at the University of Maryland. Hardison said that regardless of whether there's any deep meaning to the vine, kudzu makes an appropriate medium for a divine message. "It doesn't matter what you do, it is going to be around," he said. "Ain't that a lot like Jesus?" [San Francisco Chronicle 30 June 2011] Ill be loving you, always, With a love thats true, always, When the things youve planned Need a helping hand, I will understand, always, Always


a pair of small, smooth stones rested on the surface of the tombstone, flat to the ground, and another single stone remained on its companion memorial with another small stone, probably once its mate, along side the identically carved graves a few inches away, the stone on bare ground. Only later did I discover leaving stones at cemetery sites to be a Jewish tradition the summer day a rich windy blue, Lake Michigan not far distant a line of surf, random muddled sounds Days may not be fair, always, Thats when Ill be there, always. Not for just an hour the name derives from the commedia dellarte to describe this creature, Harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus): Adult males are slate blue with chestnut sides and white markings including a white crescent at the base of the bill. Adult females are less colorful, with brownish-grey plumage and a white patch on the head around the eye. Both adults have a white ear-patch but this male seems


to have paired with a surf scoter, his constant companion

Amazing Grace

startling, well, I jumped up to see the hawk fly away, a she I think though the sighting is imperfect, her back to me on a TV aerial, a few wing feathers fuzzy and loose, her head turning against the late afternoon sky, the beak a silhouette recovering, a Coopers hawk, she had banged against the plate window glass next to my head as I lay reading about Rosa Luxemburg, not noticing at all that a pigeon had taken refuge in a potted plant, a weak pelargonium on the window ledge hidden amidst a bank of ferns & flowering plants partly hidden by ornamental pillows piled against the glass crash! the terrified pigeon only revealing its presence when I leaned from an open window panel to see what had gone on, if anything needed repair & so spooked the pigeon, up & out a hurried departure, the hawk already gone from her perch in a neighbors yard


Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me.... I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now, I see. a guest had just left an hour before, a poet who balanced gossip, poetry & critique nimbly as she explored the pastry offerings of an afternoon reserved each year to note the highlights of the jacaranda trees in the garden, a viewing garden revealing the lavender blossoms at fullest blossom a tea, held almost ceremonially an extravagance like much else that passed that conversational day, the talk tightened into shapes of social discipline to limit damage and perhaps allow questions, beliefs & tastes to flower without penalty T'was Grace that taught... my heart to fear. And Grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that Grace appear... the hour I first believed. I extracted the potted plant, pot and broken pelargonium from its saucer, realizing it had escaped its weekly watering that very morning, would in fact probably escape all watering since it had disappeared under the spread of nearby plants, just


a place for a pigeon to believe safety possible, just the setting for a hawk with 8-times human visions clarity to believe otherwise Through many dangers, toils and snares... we have already come. T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far... and Grace will lead us home. a question had arisen, whether Fates dare border ordinary human enterprise thus reducing such activitys meaning to moot, a puppets life the whole range of mankinds best efforts, & as well whether a well told story, & sequence of accounts of human things might benefit or be diminished when the human dance is set against such clouds The Lord has promised good to me... His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be... as long as life endures. pigeons are settling for the evening, light is weakening everywhere, a fog cover has assembled for the night, the throb from a nearby apartment paces slowly the bass parts of some musical display, this neighbor like the pigeons hour by hour feeding upon the cultures each recognize


Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess within the veil, a life of joy and peace. the jacarandas have almost settled too, their feathery leaves & generous blossoms, a measured tango from faster moves, feelings cooling, there will be no