Jack Hardy — Lyrics for The Nameless One

Copyright © 1978, 1998, 2006 Jack Hardy Music (BMI)

  1. Dover to Dunkirk
  2. The Sparrow
  3. May Day
  4. Works and Days
  5. All Saints' Eve
  6. The Three Sisters
  7. Potter's Field
  8. The Nameless One
  9. Blackberry Pie
  10. The Vicious Cycle

Dover to Dunkirk

load them on board
like so many soldiers of fortune
with their knapsacks and their sleeping bags
singing songs and smoking fags
to kill the time
complaining how life's so hard
wondering how to sneak past the guard
with their morphine
(and the old men say)
paris is the place to go
if you have a heart that's broke
no woman is worth fighting for
you're better off with a whore
and i have such a wound
wondering if i should run
or stay and fight for the one
who doesn't care
from dover to dunkirk
with all these faces i'll never see again
from dover to dunkirk
the sea is as quiet as a long lost friend

load them on board
like so many soldiers of freedom
carrying their homes on their backs
the chaplain busy making cracks
to kill the time
wondering if they'll return
or spend their youth as a candle burns
crying for morphine
(and the old men say)
you're fools to go
they proved that at maginot
paris ain't worth fighting for
she's just a tired old whore
and i have such a wound
wondering if i should run
or stay and fight for the one
who doesn't care
from dover to dunkirk
with all these faces i'll never see again
from dover to dunkirk
the sea is as quiet as a long lost friend

The Sparrow

i used to fancy myself as a sparrow on the wing
playing games in the freedom of the wind
i used to fancy myself as a minstrel who would sing
playing tunes on a gypsy mandolin

to live like a sparrow you must fly or face the flame
you must know your weakness like you know your name
and to live like a poet and roam from town to town
you must learn to be lost enough to be found

i used to fill up my days with four-leaf clover dreams
casting lots on the crossroads of time
i used to build my house from fate clothed with words alone
not knowing i was naked in my rhyme

(repeat chorus)

i used to laugh at my loves as they turned from young to old
for the weakness in their hearts and in their ways
but the dark sky above as it turns from black to gold
trades the homing instinct for a lonely grave

(repeat chorus)

May Day

it's not like pan to play his flute
for those who dance for fun
the fire flickers through poison roots
where chance is on the run

it's not elves to hide their gold
where fortune seekers dive
though pirate lore and island shore
yield only ransomed lives

there's may day and may wine
and may i please come home
but the briar grows before the rose
and neither grows alone
we'll dance tonight 'til we faint in the light
of the dawn's sweet song of spring
'round the may pole like a day stole
like our feet are borne of wings

it's not sirens to sing their songs
for sailors with cautious ears
they lure no coward right or wrong
and trade not death for fear

it's not like kings to yield their wines
for hundreds of years of war
though drop by drop the ancient vine
paints blood on every door

(repeat chorus)

it's not like girls to give consent
to men of ragged prose
though poets sing of nursery rhymes
their cradles are filled with hope

it's not like me to give my heart
in these drowsy daffodil days
though dreams they douse the timid spark
where sleep presents its plays

(repeat chorus)

it's not like saints to tell their tales
of nights on windswept moors
where death defies the dreams of fate
to close the cellar door

it's not like shepherds to lay them down
when wolves are on the prowl
though songs they scare the waking town
an ill wind has no howl

(repeat chorus)

Works and Days

please don't sing those sad songs of spring
sunk deep within the sorrows of sand
the cliffs cold color cracks the wind
where swallows hide spirits in their wings

the cliff holds caves where a boy lies wake
soft afternoons and the world that dreams make
painting a promise on the frozen sky
not old enough yet for works and days

though there's no dread in those warm winter eyes
somehow his smile betrays his grief
caught in brief glimpses as the swallow leaves
as lean as the midwinter's bone

silently now the boy slowly wakes
as the swallow now finds his home
far from the rumor's blistering tongue
that forces him choose 'tween works and days

and 'twixt the prayer that is heaven sent
admitting we are nothing ourselves
who knows if the swallow returning home
has been in the company of elves

you are alone with the swallow tonight
balancing on that cliff called love
at once flying towards the phoenix of youth
and towards the delphi of works and days

All Saints' Eve

it was all saints eve
though some call it halloween
and all the saints were there
quite decadent and obscene
when i crashed through the door
just to make myself heard
they said what are you here for
and what are these words

but all my words are for love
all my words are for love
all my words are for love for love for love
for the love of a woman who's scarred on the soul of her breast
with a scar on her breast
with a child at her breast

so here we are awaiting
the judgment of paris
as though we had learned the first time
as though some phantom dare us
i'll have none of your victory
i'll have none of your wisdom
i'll have none of your most beautiful woman of the world

but all my worlds are for love...

the three clowns were laughing
though their redness was from jealousy
and the cymbal was crashing
as to punctuate insanity
and as they all looked behind them
at their pillars of salt
dragging everything with them
that ain't likely to fall

but all my faults are for love...

and now the virgin martyr
disguised as a boy
with her innocence on trial
which is what they enjoy
as the whiteness shows through
in the midst of the flames
they start looking elsewhere
for someone to blame

but all my blame is for love...

maintenant la vierge folle
avec son histoire d'une ame
avec l'epoux infernal
son raison d'Ítre notre dame
and as the bell slowly tolls
gods and mortals they ask
which maudlin is gone
we can't see through their masks

but all my masks are for love...

the nightmare was over
the innocents have fled
tearing bricks from the blockade
leaving stains on their bed
and the alley cathedrals
using bones for their chimes
with the windows depicting
the most famous of crimes

but all my crimes are love...

The Three Sisters

three soft green mountains of jaded jewels
of jasper and quartz that shiver in snow
of jasmine and chamomile in the cracks on the road
three sisters alone showing spring less cruel

long before the coast makes claims with its spray
o'er the inland plains of fair favored fields
where nature shares secrets in autumn's yield
three sisters alone winter's wishes betrayed

the oldest looks out o'er the workers who slave
the toil of the fields and bread of the oven
blessing the blood with a song that is woven
three sisters alone sing of grapes and of graves

the fair one shows kindness in nature's full force
the wrath of the sadness with softness within
where treasures of beauty show no guilt of sin
three sisters alone as the seasons change course

the youngest shines youth as it blossoms with love
the pureness of passion for cause and for birth
a kinship of sorrow and friend of the earth
three sisters alone are memories enough

three sisters of mercy who are one yet their own
'cross the desert of madness they beckon you come
towards fullness of life as you grow wearisome
three sisters alone but love brings you home

Potter's Field

thirty days has september
thirty days in the sun
april june and november
all those days on the run
but you've got to stop somewhere
'fore you're betrayed by the wheel
take my love by the hand
for a walk down to potter's field

thirty pieces of silver
from a long-ago scheme
that's the price that you kill for
fulfilling jeremy's dream
but it's all blood money
familiar friend at your meal
but the flowers still bloom
every spring down in potter's field

thirty years in youth's doorway
for philosopher kings
thirty more that you work for
tombs retirement brings
but you can't take it with you
every day that life steals
time in the end
puts us all down to potter's field

The Nameless One

when the leanhaun shee* draws blood for freedom
only the nameless one cries
when she dances her victory on through the ages
under the blistering lights
the streetwalkers set the stage
the characters scream from the page
the girl who won't tell her age offers opiate to ease the pain
but no monument cries in the bride street cellar gloom
only the nameless one lies in the tomb
as the dark lady madness plays with the truth of discipline
and she whistled him down with the wind

when the leanhaun shee* writes plays of passion
only the nameless one sighs
intimidating witnesses who vie for visions
twisting and injuring his words
well there are those who suffer and learn
and there are those who suffer and turn
and there are those who just long to burn in the fire of her opiate words
but as she fades from the stage we hear her call
because i take things lightly i am master of all
as the laughter mocks the call of the plaintive violin
and she whistled him down with the wind

when the dark faery queen claws on the season
south where the nameless one flies
venting her victory on the red ribbon genius
on the trampled wings of rhyme
but the flight has become most absurd
for the four winds of desire are hers
and she is tending them all like a shepherd with her opiate cure
and the gull that flies from fishamble street
in the cholera cold he dies of the heat
not far enough from the seed of his origin
and she whistled him down with the wind

when the leanhaun shee* lays down her teasing
after the nameless one dies
when she calls for her pay and is sold as a slave
only the nameless one cries
we have come to the end of our play
realizing they all have our names
as the houselights melt all the stains that carved all the blame
and the poet of freedom screams in the night
as the nameless one lies awaiting the light
the two-penny opera making heads of heroes and tales of heroin
and she whistled him down with the wind

*"The Leanhaun Shee (fairy mistress) seeks the love of men. If they refuse, she is their slave; if they consent, they are hers, and can only escape by finding one to take their place. Her lovers waste away, for she lives on their life. Most of the Gaelic poets, down to quite recent times, have had a Leanhaun Shee, for she gives inspiration to her slaves. She is the Gaelic muse."—W. B. Yeats

Blackberry Pie

i stopped all day to pick wildflowers
down by the banks where the blackberry grows
all in the shadows of the late autumn hours
all in the brambles and the late blooming rose
i picked all of the white ones and picked all the blues
for those are the ones that would go with her dress
and i'll dance tonight, wear holes in my shoes
'til i am the one that she loves the best

so dally down where the river runs
where the forest bathes the senses clean
dally down where the fiery sun
and the rhythm moon makes a faery dream
and you might think that my heart would lie
that many a girl had caught my eye
but my heart all along belongs to the girl
who baked me a blackberry pie

though i've stayed single all of these years
'tween the twisting rope and the wounding wind
never staying long enough to see the spring
where i had seen the harvest in
and i don't give a tinker's damn for the road
though many they say i'm bound to roam
and i just might be the last one in
though i will be coming home

(repeat chorus)

and many a glass i'll drink tonight
where the wine-red hand is from work or fight
there is no judge more fair than time
for there is no one to change his mind
each time i look in the parting glass
those years that look both ways to know
i'll sing the last song of my youth
but i'll sing it again tomorrow

(repeat chorus)

The Vicious Cycle

out plowing his fields alone
a man with his harvest unsown
his circles getting wider and wider
dragging stones to build his home
seal the tomb of his unknown
his loneliness a gnawing spinning gyre              
though the roots of corn lay trampled and torn
as the damp wind proclaimed the winter's end        
when a friend made haste to bid him good day       
and that has made all the difference

do you exist at the moment in the solitude of noise 
do you exist at any moment at all
are you truly a friend to those you call friend
is your work worth the worry of it all
i am alone i am alone i am alone
how long can this cycle go on
i am reaching out a hand to you reaching out to you
please do not refuse do not refuse

in a far-away city room
a girl pants her poems to the moon
her walls eclipse all of her pagan dreams
when reason wed with chaos
cries deliver a saint
her patron ghost caught in the candle screams
my garden is placed on my shelf with my pen
where it is safe from all that scraping pain
shall i chance myself my reflection again
and go back naked to the rain

do you exist at the moment that your kiss turns cold...   
around a nearby corner                                  
in the hour of the stumble-home drunks                  
when the beggars all line up at the bakery              
though they call for the loaves
the man knows all of their names
and he smiles as he bids them all good day
no smoke-filled rooms eating crow with a silver spoon
pouring salt into the wounds of friends
this shall be our rite of spring to simply say we exist
and then go back naked to the rain 
do you exist at the moment that your bottle's full of empty...

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