Goat on a Stone Wall

Hey goat standing on a stone wall
Won’t you show me how to mind my step
Could have used a little of your balance
When I spilled what I should have kept
I said it clear and I said it plain
I might have said it hard just to cause him pain
Now we’re headed into rough terrain

Hey bird sitting in the oak tree
Won’t you show me how to mend my nest
Could have used a little of your lightness
When I thought I had to get it off my chest
The weather changed and the storm winds blew
They took it all when they barreled through
Then my love took wing and away he flew

I swear it’s not my nature to be so unkind
But still sometimes I just forget
The simple rules that nicer people seem to get
All I know is afterwards my darling I feel wild with regret

Hey fish turning in the mill pond
Won’t you show me how to hold my breath
I could use a little of your focus
Stead of worrying half to death
But I can’t go on if he’s gone from me
Go with the flow and let it be
Cause his love is like the air to me

I swear it’s not my nature to be so unkind
But still sometimes I just forget
The simple rules that nicer people seem to get
All I know is afterwards my darling I feel wild with regret

Sorry love for the words that got away
I promise that I’ll take them back…someday

Hey snake waiting in the tall grass
Won’t you show me how to bide my time
I could use a little of your patience
I know it’s an uphill climb
Guess there’s nothing to do but sit and wait
Hoping that he’ll take the bait
But I fear that it’s too much too late

I swear it’s not my nature to be so unkind
But still sometimes I just forget
The simple rules that nicer people seem to get
All I know is afterwards my darling I feel wild with regret


Rest Stop Bird

Five more miles on highway ten
Time to stop for gas again
Now he’s one more tank away
Would it have changed a thing if he’d a told you stay
Crack the door and taste the night
And the feel of freedom by fluorescent light
And the road sighs out the day’s last heat
To the sound of a bird singing low and sweet

She’ll serenade you as you’re leaving town
Hear the notes rise up as the sun goes down down down
Sometimes leaving doesn’t need a word
Just listen to the song of the rest stop bird

Ten more miles on highway five
You need the rhythm of the road to feel alive
You left behind a heart of stone
Hidden in a nest of sticks and bone
He promised you that the walls would hold
But there was nothing soft to keep out the cold
So you were both to blame when your love got beat
All those eggshells lying beneath your feet

She’ll serenade you as you’re leaving town
Hear the notes rise up as the sun goes down down down
Sometimes leaving doesn’t need a word
Just listen to the song of the rest stop bird

Little bird don’t care that he don’t care that you flew off without warning
Little bird don’t care that he don’t care that you’ll be gone come morning
Little bird makes leaving look so easy - just a breath of wings
Easier than a lot of things

She’ll serenade you as you’re leaving town
Hear the notes rise up as the sun goes down down down
Sometimes leaving doesn’t need a word
Just listen to the song of the rest stop bird
Listen to the song of the rest stop bird
Ain’t nothing but a rest stop bird


We Walk the Flats

Forty-one muddy footprints stretch on up ahead
I can see him in the late-day golden light
If we’re lucky, he’ll come back with both boots still upon his feet
Someone’s going to need a bath tonight

Come winter they draw the water down and leave the mud behind
And Bare Hill Pond becomes just ground and sky
Come winter, we come down and walk for hours, but I don’t mind
Cause I know it will be over by and by

We walk the flats
We chase the day
We tell ourselves the shore is not so far away
Our footsteps tell the tale of where we’ve been
‘Til the water rushes in

He pulls his mittens off to gather treasure in his hands
To find the perfect stick to write his name
A rusted, grounded rowboat sweeps him off to foreign lands
The tiny tyrant stakes his claim

We walk the flats
We chase the day
We tell ourselves the shore is not so far away
Our footsteps tell the tale of where we’ve been
‘Til the water rushes in

And he stops beside a boulder where his fingers trace the waterline
And asks when will the water start to flow
And he’s off again before I can collect myself and answer him
My darling, so much sooner than you know

We walk the flats
We chase the day
I tell myself the time is still so far away
Our footsteps tell the tale of where we’ve been
‘Til the water rushes in


One Time I Stole a Book

One time I stole a book—I’ll tell you why
It happened on a warm day in July
I was working one more summer in my tiny college town
The heat curled up my posters and the quiet pulled me down
They said the world would be my oyster when they gave me my degree
I disagreed—I didn’t know what I’d need

Meanwhile, in the same town, round the bend
Another era wound down to its end
A couple sealed the final boxes going to Goodwill
The rest of their possessions moving with them down the hill
He said, my steps have grown unsteady and your memory’s breaking free
She disagreed—she didn’t know what she’d need

How do you know if it’s an ending
or a spark
Give us grace to know the signposts and the marks

Pete and Dottie met before the war
Together they dreamed big and wanted more
Their home became a shrine to all the wonders they would see
A fertile ground for dreamers and for grandkids (that was me)
I said to them, you must have known that you were meant to be
They disagreed—they hadn’t known what they’d need

How do you know if it’s an ending
or a spark
Give us grace to know the signposts and the marks

So that day when I felt sorry for myself
I found a thrift shop and my eye fell on an old blue book upon the shelf
I opened up the cover and in writing small and neat
It said, December 1940, from your Dottie, to my Pete
And though the two bucks on the flyleaf was a reasonable fee
I disagreed—for once I knew what I’d need

How do you know if it’s an ending
or a spark
Give us grace to know the signposts and the marks

One time I stole a book—I’ll tell you why


Baltimore

She says that Baltimore water tastes sweetest
She should know, with all the journeys she’s had
Well the taps in New York poured it spicy and dark
But the atmosphere wasn’t half bad
In San Francisco it shimmered like sunlight
And in Boston it froze into glass
With an unnerving knack of reflecting her back
With a question too loaded to ask

Who’ll hold my hand
Who’s going to guard the door
Who’s going to know my name
If I go back to Baltimore

She’s thinks that taking it slow might be smartest
And she should know, with all the lives that she’s lived
For the souls that are hard she’ll just wear down their guard
And hope they forget and forgive
Cause it’s the loved ones that take it the hardest
When the actors stop reading their lines
When there’s a twist in the plot whether they like it or not
All along they’ve been seeing the signs

Who’ll hold my hand
Who’s going to guard the door
Who’s going to know my name
When I go back to Baltimore

No words can prepare her
No map show her which way to go
She’s got to go against the current
Trust the steel in her arms and row

She says tomorrow the road will be smoother
She should know, with all the heartaches she’s borne
When that door slams at last
She’ll put paid to the past
And move forward renewed and reborn

Who’ll hold my hand
Who’s going to guard the door
Who’s going to know my name
When I go back to Baltimore


Ghost of a Thorn

Got a ghost of a thorn in the palm of your hand
Touch the part that’s tender
Can’t help but remember
How he looked when you told him that it wasn’t working out like you’d planned
That your love felt worn
Like the ghost of a thorn

You can lock away all the little things that mean so very little
Freeze out every memory
Break them when they’re brittle
Look away and let them be
Every little tragedy

There’s a hint of a tear in the map that you hold
Reminds you that you’re lost
And of all the lines you crossed
And how it felt when he told you that he never thought you’d act so cold
Like you just didn’t care
Like the hint of tear

You can lock away all the little things that mean so very little
Freeze out every memory
Break them when they’re brittle
Look away and let them be
Every little tragedy

There’s a feather of a kiss that he leaves behind
Brush your fingertips
Past the corner of your lips
Makes you think of all the things that he does that make you want to change your mind
Brush away all of this
Like the feather of a kiss

You can lock away all the little things that mean so very little
Freeze out every memory
Break them when they’re brittle
Look away and let them be
Every little tragedy


Winter Walk

Took him on a winter walk late last night
Through shadows carved by the blade of the moonlight
My hand in his, mama bade us go
Cross the stubbled fields gone smooth with snow
The world asleep
No one there to know

Found the path by the maple tree
While the wind cut sharp like the cry of a baby
We passed the place where we once lay
By the riverbank on a summer day
When his careless words
Took my hopes away

Led him down to the frozen shore
Where he'd let me tell me that I love him many times before
Like mama said, I kissed him twice
Then said, now darlin’ wouldn’t it be nice if we could
Take a walk
Across the ice

Dried my hair by mama’s fire
While I cried for the price that I’d pay for my own desire
Mama said, don’t worry, that ain’t no thing
No one’s gonna know until at least the spring
And you’ll be long gone with your lover’s ring

Two sets of prints out and one set home
The woods don’t seem so friendly when you walk alone
Mama says the air smells like snow
She says it’s time for me to pack my things and go
While the world’s asleep
No one to know

I took him on a winter walk


Nobody's Business

They say I should write about the pain that I felt when you left me
They say I should write about the way that you made me so blue
They say I should carve out a song from that place in my heart where I feel so alone
But I tell them our business is best left between me and you

Cause it’s none of their business
Nobody’s business but yours and mine
No one needs to know about the push and the pull
And the hairs that we split all too fine
Don’t want to share all those bittersweet
Memories of sunshine and showers
I’m not singing
Cause it’s nobody’s business but ours

They say it will help heal my heart if I sing out my sorrow
Hold your wicked ways right up to the light
But how can I know if what you did today won’t look quite the same way tomorrow
Sometimes what seems to be so wrong turns out to be right

Cause it’s none of their business
Nobody’s business but yours and mine
No one needs to know about the push and the pull
And the hairs that we split all too fine
Don’t want to share all those bittersweet
Memories of sunshine and showers
I’m not singing
Cause it’s nobody’s business but ours

Though sometimes it’s tempting to spill out our story
Win pity from strangers, some songwriting glory
In the end I decide not to lay my soul bare
Cause our story’s the one thing that’s left that we share

Cause it’s none of their business
Nobody’s business but yours and mine
No one needs to know about the push and the pull
And the hairs that we split all too fine
Don’t want to share all those bittersweet
Memories of sunshine and showers
I’m not singing
Cause it’s nobody’s business but ours


Eat the Pie

I’m telling you a true tale from not so long ago
Fourth of July, sun was high, flags waving slow
My whole hometown had gathered for a wholesome day of fun
A big parade, some lemonade, and some games for everyone

I walked on by the egg toss and the children’s happy cries
Left behind the greased pole to a soul with stronger thighs
Cause a table full of cherry pies was where I had to pie
And a tiny voice inside my head was calling out to me

Eat the pie
Eat the pie
Don’t care if they might point and stare, don’t let them ask you why
Cause that sweetness brings a sweetness that money just can’t buy
I’m telling you, go on and eat the pie

Now the town’s pie eating contest’s been a point of pride for me
I won it twice in middle school, at 12 and then 13
For a nerdy bookish weirdo who was cut from every team
The thought of winning any ribbon was a kind of fever dream

Now a fully grownup woman should have hobbies I suppose
But eating pie in record time might now be one of those
So I turned away maintaining my respectable veneer
But still a tiny voice went on and whispered in my ear

Eat the pie
Eat the pie
Don’t care if they might point and stare, don’t let them ask you why
Cause that sweetness brings a sweetness that money just can’t buy
I’m telling you, go on and eat the pie

And as I hovered by the entrance I found myself impressed
By the existential crisis that had bloomed within my breast
Would I let other people’s shoulds and shouldn’ts riddle me with doubt
Would I give in to what was safe and let the whole world count me out
(Don’t count me out)

So I walked up to the table, took my place behind a pie
Some other guys twice my size arranged on either side
The town’s Citizen of Note, who was proud to play his part
Shushed the crowd til they were silent, then proclaimed that we could start

The competitors ate valiantly and rushed to cram it in
Rumors ricocheted as people wondered who would win
And caught up in the moment and the crowd’s excited shrieks
I opened wide, shoved the pie inside, with rest inside my cheeks

I ate the pie
The whole damn pie
And the townfolk raised a cheer as I held that blue ribbon high
Cause that sweetness brings a sweetness that money just can’t buy

I’m telling you, if fate provides a chance for you to feel alive
Don’t worry if it’s right for you or what you should and should not do
Say yes and open wide
And eat the pie


Don't Want to Keep Score

Was it your hand or mine
that poured oil on top of that flame
Fanned the fire into bloom
as our words filled the room
And warmed to the patterns
of heartache and blame
As we took up the weapons we knew
and the armor we wore
The hunger was gone
for the lines we had drawn
I don’t care, I don’t want to keep score

Was it your arms or mine
that felt empty that night in the dark
One pillow left smooth
too much room to move
A flickering candle
forlorn for its spark
And the lingering echo of pride
as it fell to the floor
Wishing that we had known
winning’s bitter alone
I don’t care, I don’t want to keep score

We keep besting each other
to win back a miserable crown
Don’t saw at the beams lest you’re willing to watch
the whole house come down

Was it your mouth or mine
that said sorry one moment too late
Let the other cut in
too eager to win
To whirl us around
in a waltz of debate
As we build up a shrine to the words
that we wielded before
Though the dance brings us low
they’re the steps that we know
I don’t care, I don’t want to keep score


How It Should Be

When you play, play, play
I could watch you all day
And it’s not cause you’re good (though you are)
It’s the shine in your eyes
There’s a grace, grace, grace
Comes over your face
As fingers find keys and curl around melody lines

You can play that song without me
You can sing along without me
You can get the notes wrong without me
That’s how it should be

When you speak, speak, speak
It makes me feel weak
And it’s not cause you’re smart (though you are)
It’s the way that you know
When you dare, dare, dare
To wonder and care
I marvel at how you bring life to the seeds that you sow

You can have your say without me
You can win the day without me
You can make your way without me
That’s how it should be

When they’re tiny, your one job's to bring in the light
and explain what they world's all about
When they grow up, the hitch:
you're supposed to flip off the switch
and let them figure it out

When you cry, cry, cry
Oh I won’t lie
It’s all I can do to not climb through the telephone line
And I know, know, know
You’ve got it under control
But child, I won’t sleep til I know that you’re feeling fine

You can fall apart without me
You can heal your heart without me
You can make a new start without me
That’s how it should be


Before You Go

Cricket song, starry night, velvet air
Headlight gleam, windows down
Just an after-dinner drive to buy some ice cream
at the Mobil on the edge of town
You crane your neck to catch a satellite’s tail
I pray for time to slow
I could probably count how many drives like this we have left
Before you go

When you were buckled up in back
I’d strain to make out every word you said
Now you’re riding shotgun up here next to me
I try to listen with my heart instead
You nod along to the sounds of the sweet summer night
Like you were listening to the radio
I could probably count how many drives like this we have left
Before you go

Right now our world’s this dark, this drive
This road, this ride, the bullfrog hum
Eyes straight ahead I let your words shade in my picture
Of who you’ve become
I know you’re ready
But how can I get ready
It’s harder than you know
On these sweet summer nights buying ice cream
Before you go
These sweet summer nights
Before you go

Melodic, fresh, and easygoing, with storytelling prowess on full display…recalling the likes of Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez.”

-Unxigned

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