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The Crane Wife

Released October 2006

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  1. The Crane Wife 3

    The Crane Wife 3

    And under the boughs unbowed
    All clothed in a snowy shroud
    She had no heart so hardened
    All under the boughs unbowed

    Each feather it fell from skin
    .Til threadbare while she grew thin
    How were my eyes so blinded?
    Each feather it fell from skin

    And I will hang my head low

    A gray sky, a bitter sting
    A rain cloud, a crane on wing
    All out beyond horizon
    A gray sky, a bitter sting

    And I will hang my head low

  2. The Island

    The Island

    1. Come and See

    There.s an island hidden in the sound
    Lapping currents lay your boat aground
    Affix your barb and bayonet
    The curlews carve their arabesques
    And sorrow fills the silence all around
    Come and see

    There.s a harbor lost within the reeds
    A jetty caught in overhanging trees
    Among the bones of cormorants
    No boot-mark here nor fingerprint
    The rivers roll down to a soundless sea
    Come and see

    The tides all come and go witnessed by no waking eye
    The willows mark the wind
    And all we know for sure amidst this fading light
    We.ll not go home again
    Come and see

    In the lowlands, nestled in the heath
    A briar-cradle rocks its babe to sleep
    Its contents watched by Sycorax and Patagon in parallax
    A foretold rumbling sounds below the deep
    Come and see


    2. The Landlord.s Daughter

    As I was a-ramble down by the water
    I spied in sable the landlord.s daughter

    I produced my pistol, then my saber
    Said, .Make no whistle or thou will be murdered!.

    She cursed, she shivered, she cried for mercy
    .My gold and silver if thou will release me!.

    .I.ll take no gold, miss.  I.ll take no silver.
    But I.ll take those sweet lips and thou will deliver!.

    3. You.ll Not Feel the Drowning

    I will dress your eyelids
    W. dimes upon your eyes
    Lay you close to water
    Green your grave will rise

    Go to sleep now, little ugly
    Go to sleep now, you little fool
    Forty winking in the belfry
    You.ll not feel the drowning
    You.ll not feel the drowning

    Forget you once had sweethearts

    They.ve forgotten you
    Think you not on parents
    They.ve forgotten too


    Hear you now the captain
    Heave his sorrow.d cry
    The weight upon your eyelids
    Is dimes laid on your eyes

  3. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)

    Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)

    Soldier: Heart carved tree trunk, Yankee bayonet
    A sweetheart left behind

    Girl: Far from the hills and the sea-swaled Carolinas
    That.s where my true love lies

    Soldier: Look for me when the sun-bright swallow
    Sings upon the birch bow high

    Girl: But you are in the ground with the wolves and the weevils
    All a-chew on your bones so dry

    But when the sun breaks to no more bullets in Battlecreek
    Then will you make a grave? For I will be home then
    I will be home then.

    Girl: When I was a girl how the hills of Oconee
    Made a seam to hem me in

    Soldier: And there at the fair when our eyes caught, careless,
    Got my heart right pierced by a pin

    Soldier: But O did you see all the dead of Manassas
    All the bellies and the bones and the bile?

    Girl: No, I lingered here with the blankets barren
    And my own belly big with child


    Soldier: And stems and bones and stone walls too
    Could keep me from you
    This skein of skin is all too few
    To keep me from you

    Soldier and Girl: But O my love though our bodies may be parted
    Though our skin may not touch skin
    Look for me with the sun-bright sparrow
    I will come on the breath of the wind

  4. O Valencia!

    O Valencia!

    You belong to the gang
    And you say you can.t break away
    But I.m here with my hands
    On my heart

    Our families can.t agree
    I.m your brother.s sworn enemy
    But I.d shout out my love
    To the stars

    So await for the stone on your window, your window
    I.ll await by the car and we.ll go, we.ll go

    When first we laid eyes
    I swore to no compromise
    .Til I felt my caress
    On your skin

    How soon we were betrayed!
    Your sister gave us away
    And your father came all

    But O Valencia!
    With your blood still warm on the ground

    And I swear to the stars I.ll burn this whole city down

    All I heard was the shout
    Of your brother calling me out
    And you ran like a fool
    To my side

    Well, the shot it hit hard
    And your frame went limp in my arms
    And an oath of love
    Was your dying cry


  5. The Perfect Crime #2

    The Perfect Crime #2

    Sing, muse, of the passion of the pistol
    Sing, muse, of the warning by the whistle
    A night so dark in the waning
    A dawn obscured by a slate-sky raining

    Five and twenty burglars by the reservoir
    A teenage lookout on the signal tower
    The mogul.s daughter in hog-tie
    The mogul fingers the wrong guy, all right

    It was the perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect crime

    The bagman.s quaking at the fingers
    The hand-off glance a little lingers
    A well-dressed man in the crosshairs
    A shot rings out from somewhere upstairs


    It was like a ticker-tape parade
    When the plastique on the safe was blown away
    And we all gazed from eye to eye
    As we mouthed our silent goodbyes

    The valley.s sleeping like a bastard
    It stinks of slumbering disaster
    Two words are spoke on the tap-wire
    The agents. ploy finds a sure-fire backfire


  6. When The War Came

    When The War Came

    With all the grain of Babylon
    To cultivate, to make us strong
    And hidden here behind the walls
    Our shoulders wide and timber long
    .til the war came
    .til the war came

    A terrible autonomy
    Has grafted on to you and me
    Our trust put in the government
    They told their lies as heaven-sent
    .til the war came
    .til the war came

    And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul
    And the war came with all the poise of a cannonball
    And they.re picking out our eyes by coal and candlelight
    When the war came, the war came hard.

    We made our oath to Vavilov
    We.d not betray the solanum
    The acres of asteraceae
    To our own pangs of starvation
    When the war came
    When the war came


    With all the grain of Babylon
    With all the grain of Babylon

  7. Shankill Butchers

    Shankill Butchers

    The Shankill Butchers ride tonight
    You better shut your windows tight
    They.re sharpening their cleavers and their knives
    And taking all their whiskey by the pint

    .Cause everybody knows
    If you don.t mind your mother.s words
    A wicked wind will blow
    Your ribbons from you curls
    Everybody moan, everybody shake
    The Shankill Butchers want to catch you awake

    They used to be just like me and you
    They used to be sweet little boys
    But something went horribly askew
    Now killing is their only source of joy


    The Shankill Butchers on the rise
    They.re waiting .til the dead of night
    They.re picking at their fingers with their knives
    And wiping off their cleavers on their thighs


  8. Summersong


    Rambling, where to begin?
    I tasted summer on your peppery skin
    Been saved, the warm of the waves
    I felt a slip into a watery grave

    My girl, linen and curls
    Lips parting like a flag all unfurled
    She.s grand, the bend of her hand
    Digging deep into the sweep of the sand

    And summer arrives with a length of light
    And summer blows away and quietly gets swallowed by a wave

    Waylaid, the din of the day
    Boats bobbing in the blue of the bay
    In deep, far beneath
    All the dead sailors slowly slipping to sleep

  9. The Crane Wife 1 & 2

    The Crane Wife 1 & 2

    It was a cold night and the snow lay .round
    I pulled my coat tight against the falling down
    And the sun was all
    The sun was all down

    I am a poor man, I haven.t wealth nor fame
    I have my two hands and a house to my name
    And the winter.s so
    The winter.s so long

    But all the stars were crashing .round
    As I laid eyes on what I found

    It was a white crane, it was a helpless thing
    On a red stain with an arrow in its wing
    And it called and cried
    It called and cried so


    And how I helped her and how I dressed her wounds
    And how I held her beneath the rising moon
    .Til she stood to fly
    She stood to fly away

    My crane wife, my crane wife

    My crane wife
    Arrived at my door in the moonlight
    All star-bright and tongue-tied
    I took her in

    We were married
    And bells rang sweet for our wedding
    And our bedding was ready
    When we fell in

    Sound the keening bell
    And see it.s painted red
    Soft as fontanel
    The feathers in the thread
    When all I ever meant to do was to keep you
    My crane wife

    We were poorly
    Our fortunes fading hourly
    And how she vowed me
    She could bring it back

    But I was greedy
    I was vain and I forced her to weaving
    On cold loom in closed room
    With down wove


    There.s a bend in the wind and it rakes at my heart
    There is blood in the thread and it rakes at my heart
    Rakes at my heart

  10. Sons And Daughters

    Sons And Daughters

    When we arrive, sons and daughters
    We.ll make our homes on the water
    We.ll build our walls of aluminum
    We.ll fill our mouths with cinnamon

    These currents pull us .cross the border
    Steady your boats arm to shoulder
    .Til tides all pull our hull aground
    Making this calm harbor now home

    Take up your arms, sons and daughters
    We will we arise from the bunkers
    By land, by sea, by dirigible
    We.ll leave our tracks untraceable

    Hear all the bombs, they fade away
    Hear all the bombs, they fade away

  11. After The Bombs (* Outtake)

    After The Bombs (* Outtake)

    After the Bombs

    And after the bombs subside
    And this long, low campaign
    Calls it good for the night

    Will we meet in the streets
    Will we meet in the bar’s cold light?
    When we grip at our hands
    Will we hold just a little tight?

    After the bombs
    After the bombs

    And after the rockets calm
    And the glimmer of fire
    Portends an early dawn

    Will we pinch at our skin
    While we wonder how we
    Escaped harm?

    We forget all our trials
    All there
    In our baby’s arms?

    After the rockets
    After the rockets

    Then we’ll go dancing
    Won’t we go dancing
    Yes we’ll go dancing

    ‘Till it all
    Starts over again

  12. Culling Of The Fold (* Outtake)

    Culling Of The Fold (* Outtake)

    Cut him up, boy
    You’ve got to cut him up, boy.
    He’s a wicked disgrace,
    And he said it to your face
    You better cut him up boy.

    Take by the teeth,
    Get him down on his knees,
    With your hands all shaking,
    That’ll teach him how to take it,
    Gotta cut him up, boy.
    (And how…)

    Ply her heart with gold and silver.
    Take your sweetheart down to the river.
    Dash her on the paving stones,
    It may break your heart to break her bones,
    But someone’s got to do the culling of the fold.

    Cut him up, girl.
    Really cut him up girl
    He lives by himself,
    In a hole in a wall
    You’ve got to cut him up, girl.

    You can take him in a stitch,
    Dump his body in a ditch
    Leave his limbs all naked,
    That’ll teach him how to take it,
    Better cut him up girl.
    (And how…)


    Listen up boy,
    And listen up girl.
    It’s a shallow little trench,
    And it’s giving off a stench.
    It’s a shallow little world.

    Feeling down in the face,
    Could you use a little space?
    When the radio crackles,
    And the in-laws cackle
    Better cut ’em up boy,
    And cut ’em up, girl.

  13. The Perfect Crime #1 (* Outtake)

    The Perfect Crime #1 (* Outtake)

    I got a gun, I got a girl
    I got a bullet-proof plan to pull
    The perfect crime
    I got the perfect crime

    I got a warehouse down at the docks
    I got fifteen precincts of cops bought
    The perfect crime
    I got the perfect crime

    You got to get your clock locked
    Get your stopwatch synchronized
    You got to get it so you can’t put a pin through your alibi
    To pull the perfect crime
    To pull the perfect crime

    I got a guy bought on the inside
    I got a night guard gagged and hog-tied
    The perfect crime
    This is the perfect crime

    I got a brain, I got a brawn
    I got all the proper papers for the gendarmes
    The perfect crime
    C’est ç the perfect crime

    I got the mob boss bought
    I got a letter from the DEA
    I got a mock-up of the lockup
    Where they stock up on their pocket change
    To pull the perfect crime
    This is the perfect crime

    We hit a snag when we tripped the alarm
    Because the dock side spics had been tipped off in time
    To this perfect crime

    Called out the dogs, called out the cops
    I caught the deputy ops
    In a cold cock.  I will do time
    For this perfect crime

    So we ran around town with the cops snapping on our tails
    Because we’d rather brave death then a fist-fuck in county jail
    Just for the perfect crime
    For the perfect crime
    This is the perfect crime

  14. The Day I Knew You’d Not Come Back (* Outtake)

    The Day I Knew You’d Not Come Back (* Outtake)

    The day I knew you’d not come back
    I made this castle out of glass
    But I could never understand
    Where the windows and walls began and end
    I built this colonnade of sand
    Stretched out like fingers from my hand
    But with the waves coming in
    In the morning I had to build again

  15. Hurdles Even Here (* Outtake)

    Hurdles Even Here (* Outtake)

    So it started in your ovaries
    A stone, a seedling
    Our bones entwined
    A warning from the orderlies
    A bulge for bleeding
    This will take it’s time

    So it all ran down the telephone
    And saw me clearly
    Only nine years old
    Calmly cast in styrofoam
    In my Tony Llamas
    When the shock takes hold

    Mom, there are hurdles here
    That I cannot seem to clear
    Dad, there are demons ’round
    I know I said that I
    Said I’d be all right, I lied
    I lied
    I lied
    I lied

    So fix your brood and belly now
    Til your sinews sweeten
    And your veins retire
    It’ll eat you from the inside out
    Until it comes out screaming
    Until it all falls away

    Dad, there are hurdles here
    That I cannot seem to clear
    Mom, there are demons ’round
    And though I said that I
    Said I’d be all right, I lied
    I lied
    I lied
    I lied