Thursday, September 20, 2012

Four and Four: Some Mood-Setting Bits

Not by me, I must say.  But still, inspirational, and/or related.  The first half is an excerpt (OK, four excerpts, but conjoined as one) from an old and epic poem.  The second half is Canadian swing.  Dig it.  :)

In Memoriam A.H.H.
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
(Queen Victoria said that this was her sole comfort, aside from the Bible.
I'm not so sure that's a solid recommendation.
But hey, what do I know?  I just think it's rad.)

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death, and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him:  thou art just

Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou:
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith:  we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness:  let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster.  We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seem'd my sin in me;
What seem'd my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise




Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;

That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy'd,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;

That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell'd in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another's gain.

Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last - far off - at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.

So runs my dream:  but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.


The wish, that of the living whole
No life may fail beyond the grave,
Derives it not from what we have
The likest God within the soul?

Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life;

That I, considering everywhere
Her secret meaning in her deeds,
And finding that of fifty seeds
She often brings but one to bear,

I falter where I firmly trod,
And falling with my weight of cares
Upon the great world's altar-stairs
That slope thro' darkness up to God,

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.


'So careful of the type?' but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, 'A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.

'Thou makest thine appeal to me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does but mean the breath:
I know no more.'  And he, shall he,

Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law - 
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed - 

Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,
Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal'd within the iron hills?

No more?  A monster then, a dream,
A discord.  Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music match'd with him.

O life as futile, then, as frail!
O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.

 - - - 

Night of the King Snake
this, and the following songs, by Big Rude Jake
(And yeah, good luck tracking down reliable lyrics for a Canadian swing band...)

There's a freight train in the Badlands that carries my baby to me
Through the darkness of Wyoming, just a-rockin' my baby to sleep
Well, there's an ill wind blowin', there's a thunder rumblin' down in the East
And there's a king snake coiled up in the arms of an old pine tree

The king snake says to baby, "Don't you know that I'm a jealous man?
And I would never let you leave me to wrangle alone in the sand
You were never meant for roses, you were meant to know the wisdom of the fang
Take these thirty silver kisses, and live with me in these Badlands."

And then the king snake purrs as he slithers up close to her breast
She feels a tug on her earlobes and a tingle creepin' 'round in her head
He says that "You can make believe that this is what the fates intend,"
As thirty silver kisses go slidin' down the back of her neck

And on the night of the king snake, time hangs in the seamy gloom
I was hanging 'round the station, I was waiting on the twelve-oh-two
Well, the brakeman finally told me, "Don't you know that you been made a fool?
She loves them thirty silver kisses, she don't love you."

Well, do you know what it means to love a woman with the king snake blues?
Well, you can love her like no other man, and lifter her up when no one else would
Well, bang your head against the wall, it really makes no difference what you do
She loves them thirty silver kisses, she don't love you

She loves them thirty silver kisses, she ain't comin' back to you.

Swing, Baby!

When they turn the lights out, faces in the shadow
When they turn the lights in, tappin' at your window
Skinny up out of your bedroom, shimmy up on the drain-pipe
Stand tall on the rooftop and let's slip into the night

Would you surrender to despair, or go on as if you're unawares?
Would you let 'em tear apart your mind, or would you come runnin' with our kind?
Tell me now, what would you do, if it turned out that they had lied to you?
If every single thing they said was untrue, tell me, what would you do?

Swing, baby!

And they'll hate you for what you are, boy, and they'll say you ought to be ashamed
They'll lock you in the pantry 'til you learn how to behave
But days of ash and cinder are the good boy's last reward
'Cause once they got you where they want you, they don't want you any more!

3 Drunks at Last Call

Well, the cowboy with the coin-slot eyes comes on like a cripple at the foot of Christ
And he's beggin' me for one last Ballantine
He's a coin-slot, a buckshot, a gut-rot belly-pot
He wants to rickenback the clock to stop and slowly unwind
And spend the rest of his days in a misty whiskey haze
In the minute 'fore they call closing time

I been a fly on the wall, and I been a flash in the pan
I've been the cock of the walk, and a flim-flam man
But for all I've seen, I just can't understand
Why a fool won't fold while a fool still can

And an old mangy cat goes and draws out her claws
And stares down the broad at the end of the bar
Convinced that that chick is movin' in on her time
She's a barbell, a cocktail, a bombshell ne'er-do-well
And in the pell-mell nutshell that houses her mind
She's gonna make that bitch pay in some kinky, slinky way
She's gonna win her man back 'fore they call closing time

Because big-money brothers love to spend your dough
When the crunch comes down, baby, you'll find you drink alone
I say, attitudes and platitudes and affected sounds abound
You can call her a free spirit, I call it gettin' jerked around

And with his hands on the bumper in a parlor in town
Some kid goes and puts his last dollar down
His knuckles go white, but he's gonna let that bundle ride
Well, he's a chalk-blue, a pool cue, a gumshoe billiard fool
He's gonna follow through, that's true blue, but he's still four days [???] behind
He ducks an old, fat and sweaty roly-poly-ish landlady
He's gonna win it all back when they call closin' time

And I wish I could tell ya exactly how it feels to finally leave this whole bunch behind
But nothing ever sounds all that profound when the lights come up at closing time.

Chili Bean's Final Carouse

(Lyrics divined from the album version... that's not what this is, but I can't find that on YouTube, so enjoy!)

A one, two, three, four

It was a night in November when Roach finally surfaced just like a World War II U-Boat submarine
At a twenty-four hour Mexican diner, talkin' to a cat they call Chili Bean
Well, they got a reputation for lots of talk and no action, drinkin' tequila and just flappin' their jaws
Well, they come over all quiet, so I think tonight they just might do it, they gettin' ready for the Final Carouse

They got a plan that don't work, and an alibi that don't stick, they got a motive clear as a sun-shiny day
But Beanie don't care, 'cause this is better than dyin', and beats the Hell out of just wastin' away
So while Uncle and Rudy trade hillbilly trivia with a cowgirl in a red chiffon blouse
Well, Roach and Chili Bean will be tradin' last instructions, gettin' ready for the Final Carouse

So we'll have one last drink, we'll have one last toast, to all men who are good and civilized
We'll have one last drink before we leave you all to go and kick this world square between the eyes!
Yeah, and Bean is lookin' like a stone poker face that's peekin' up from behind a full house
Just wait 'til they see when he throws down his cards and he bets it all at the Final Carouse!

And when the employment counselor asked little Chili Bean just exactly what it is he wanted to do
He just shrugged his shoulders, looked down at his hands, and he couldn't bring himself to tell her the truth
That he wants to kick a hole right through the middle of Main Street, wants to slaughter al them sacred cash cows
He wants to feel this whole town tremble like a wet, frightened puppy in the wake of the Final Carouse


Well, circus coney pornographers sell distractions on all the corners here
But even the cheapest thrills are gettin' too expensive for me
So clear across town to where the big-shots live, you gotta hit 'em at the last alternative
On the night that'll make a legend out of the man they call Chili Bean

And then Bean is lookin' like a stone poker face that's peekin' up from behind a full house
Just wait 'itl they see when he throws down his cards and he bets it all at the Final Carouse

Well, I can see Bogart spittin' lead from a pistol holed up in a cottage on the coast of Key Largo
And I can see Cagney bendin' in the white heat of a gas flare inferno
And tonight Chili Bean will be his own little Caesar, no more bendin' knees or bashful bows
He'll have a big slice of pie that comes straight from Hell's Kitchen, and take it along for the Final Carouse!

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