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Ephemera

Great Day


rise up
the light breaks
the birds sing
the world wakes
from North Dakota to Bombay
it’s going to be a great day

it’s going to be a great day
one of a kind
sunny or gray
perfect gift
don’t throw it away
it’s going to be a great day

give thanks, say a prayer
open the window to the morning air
clear the web of sleep away
it’s going to be a great day

it’s going to be a great day
one of a kind
sunny or gray
perfect gift
don’t throw it away
it’s going to be a great day

another chance to get it right
leave the darkness to the night
let doubt take a holiday
it’s going to be a great day

it’s going to be a great day
one of a kind
sunny or gray
perfect gift
don’t throw it away
it’s going to be a great day

©1997 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Farther Still


The story that I tell to my friends
is that we do not get along
that I grew sick of disappointment
and tired of always being wrong

in a house of mirrors
moving through the halls
we could see each other but never met
when the mirrors cracked
we scurried for escape
and each found our own exit

then you moved farther away
and I moved farther still

The story that I tell to myself
is that I must have scared you early on
‘cause fear is the root of such hard anger
and violence its ripping song

you threw our past away
like it was yours alone
like evidence somehow incriminating
and left us with no ground
to cultivate a cure
we disconnect
each in our own forgetting

then you move farther away
and I move farther still

The story that I deeply bury
that I deny and I suppress
is though I have hated you and loved you
at last I just could not care less

they say the bond of blood is thickest
I say it really all depends
on how the die is cast in heaven
I thank god that I am truly blessed in friends

still
when I hear your voice
or see some photograph
I’m flooded with the tenderness of false hope
and stand with open arms
on acres of regret
tethered again for moments

then you move farther away
and I move farther still

©1994 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Mine for Good


the fields of New Jersey
are red in the late daylight
big sky up above me
is blue and pink and purple and white

yellow leaves come at me
happy, happy to be free at last
plump birds fly around me
into the future, out of the past

I'm headed for a beach town
though the weather is getting colder
and I feel like I am just beginning
although it seems I am getting older

darkness slips beneath me
I smile as peace and joy erupt
I watch the sun set in my rear view mirror
and I have no idea what's coming up

I think I can
I thought I could
and so I am
away, away
I'm leaving it all behind this time
I’m leaving it all behind for good
leaving it all behind for good
and what remains with me
is mine for good

I watch the choppy, shining sea
as I walk beside the sliding waves
on the sand, in the sun, at the shore
breathing hazy air, bright white and brave

filled with liquid, brisk, exquisite sounds
I am found, content and most secure
where everything is moving
and the sand is shifting evermore

I think I can
I thought I could
and so I am
away, away
I'm leaving it all behind this time
I’m leaving it all behind for good
leaving it all behind for good
and what remains with me
is mine for good

©1995 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Amico in Vasto


I freaked out in Verona
boarded the south bound train
my head was split with anger
and my heart was dulled with pain

Some fool had to leave a message
that my best friend ran away
the home I thought was anchored
floated off to yesterday

Lost and alone
so far from anything familiar
there was no one I could talk with
to relieve myself

Crazy with grief
the new moon cast everything in darkness
I tossed weightless in the strange air
like an autumn leaf

I arrived on the feast of San Martino
when the grapes turn into wine
it was summer in November
as the sun began to climb

The wind flew dry off the Adriatic
I was beckoned by the blue
I walked down to where the coastline changed
and that's where I met you

You ran to my side
as if you'd been waiting for my arrival
and you leaned into my legs
as if you'd come back home

When I looked in your eyes
I could see that your love had found its mission
you were my guardian out of heaven
on a three day loan

Pastore Abruzzese
Amico
my Amico in Vasto

We stood in the waves and got sandy
I painted a picture of you
we climbed the palace steps together
and panted at the view

I bought you bones and cheeses
I fed you at the fountains
I followed your gaze to the crescent moon
as it rose above the mountains

Steadfast and sure
you gave me the company I needed
and the unconditional love
that asks for nothing in return

I don't know where you came from
but I'm grateful that you found me
you saved a wandering soul
from drowning in the dark

Pastore Abruzzese
Amico
my Amico in Vasto

Where would you go when I left town
who would put food out for you
would you find some new soul you could shepherd
would they love you like I do

On the morning I was leaving
you appeared shampooed and shining
on a rope beside a young boy
who would love you like I do

Steadfast and sure
you gave me the company I needed
and the unconditional love
that asks for nothing in return

I don't know where you came from
but I'm grateful that you found me
you saved a wandering soul
from drowning in the dark

Pastore Abruzzese
Amico
my Amico in Vasto

©1997 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




West Wind


West Wind sang september night
accompanied by the leaves in flight
stirred the birches with a solemn rub
teased the clouds across the moon above

caught me in its fragrant air
stung my eyes, played with my hair
brought the first frost of the year
winter is near
winter is near

I listened to the lyrics of the song
the words were clear and the meaning strong
in darkness they declared the mighty rule
no thing would dare to fight

the garden could not disobey
the warm air, the birds flew away
the hunters killed all that remained
the weather changed
the weather changed

silent snow descends and comforts the cold, hard ground
secret snow encircles me with an oath unbound

a fist of gust against my face
pushed me into the saddest place
across the freezing season line
and there a voice roared through my mind

“Take me in like I am your breath
like I am your lover, like I am your death
I will instruct and you will learn
the lessons are hard but worthy to earn

I will teach you to stand alone
how to walk tall with a strong backbone
how to greet your enemies on the road
how to heal your weakness and atone”

silent snow descends and comforts the cold, hard ground
secret snow encircles me with an oath unbound

I built a snow girl in the wilderness
I formed and smoothed the icy mess
up to my knees in a creamy drift
I stood alone in the flaky mist

and I stood alone in my little life
and all I could see was white on white
and all I could hear was the singing wind
bitter cold but my closest friend

silent snow descends and comforts the cold, hard ground
secret snow encircles me with an oath unbound

Spring shall come again
Spring shall come again

©1998 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




The Roswell Incident


My father was a rancher
East of Socorro
southeast of Corona
near Roswell, New Mexico

In the middle of nowhere
no radio, no telephone
1947
I was 12 years old

Big lightning storm one night
beginning of July
we heard an explosion
wondered what, wondered why

Riding out the next morning
over the pasture to check on some sheep
that's when Daddy found it
the big field of weird debris

He brought some of it home then
laid it out on the kitchen floor
bits and pieces
of things we'd never seen before

Like foil but not foil
like wood but not wood
like wire, waxed paper
all weighing much less than it should

Everything was so strong
we couldn't cut it or scrape it
pliable, unnatural
we couldn't burn or break it

There were symbols in purple and pink
like a transparent recipe
ranged out in columns
but nothing we could read

A couple days later
Daddy drove into Corona
and there he heard the stories
what had been seen by others

Near Magdalena
on the Plains of San Agustin
a civil engineer
and an archeological research team

found a disc shaped object
surrounded by creatures
like human but not human
round heads, no hair, small features

A military officer
drove up and ordered everyone to leave
swore them to silence
their patriotic duty

A couple in Roswell
star gazing from their front porch
watched an object speeding
through the night of the big storm

Like two inverted saucers
glowing from the inside
headed straight for the lightning
right out to where we resided

They said
"We know what we saw
no rocket, no weather balloon
Why keep it a secret?
What could we learn?
What could we learn?
Well, we don't know
but we do know two things
we know what we saw
and we know that we are not alone."

So Daddy went into Roswell
where he talked with the sheriff
who called up the army
who came for my father

Took him out to our pasture
with trucks and soldiers
where they picked up the pieces
and carried them all away

Then they jailed my father
and they asked him questions
under guard in a small room
from head to foot tested him

He said
"You know what I saw.
I don't know why you're doing this to me
but I will keep it a secret
because you say it's my duty."

One week later
he came home on an airplane
said forget all about it
he never spoke of it again

But sometimes I asked him
"Daddy?
Was it from another planet?
Was it something from the future?"
but I never got an answer.

Still, I know what I saw
I don't care what they told him
Why keep it a secret?
What could we learn?
What could we learn?
Well, I don't know
but I do know two things
I know what I saw
and I know that we are not alone

I know what I saw
I don't care what you're thinking
Why keep it a secret?
What could we learn?
What could we learn?
Well, I don't know
but I do know two things
I know what I saw
and I know that we are not alone

©1996 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Sacred Ground


See these green fields?
They once were on fire
we watched them catch fire
we burned them

Songbirds soar through
phantoms of dark ‘copters
How can this again
be so beautiful?

Hell on earth
this was hell on earth once
We’ve come back to consecrate this place
sacred ground

Still the nightmares
the faces the voices
as long as we live
we live with this

How could we forget this?
How can we remember ?
No glory no glory
ask someone who’s been there

Saigon
Mekong
napalm
Viet Cong
Tonkin
Johnson
Nixon

Vietnam

Hell on earth
this was hell on earth once
We’ve come back to consecrate this place
sacred ground

©1996 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Sunday Morning


Sunday morning
early Sunday morning
we mix the little bits of dreams remembered
with beginnings of the day

Sunday morning
our limbs extend and curl
the lark is on the wing
and everything seems to be all right with the world

Sunday morning
the sun comes through the trees
the trees move in the wind
projecting light like all the room is silver screen

Sunday morning
the cats sit on the sill
examining the neighborhood
impatient waiting for their breakfast food

far away the world spins round
for today we hold our ground

Sunday morning
the clock’s turned to the wall
the telephone’s unplugged
and all the newspapers remain out in the hall

Sunday morning
now Sunday afternoon
the church bells in the steeple down the hill
ring out a joyful little tune

far away the world spins round
for today we held our ground

Sunday morning
the light is almost gone
we have found the simple ways
to make our Sunday morning last the whole day long

©1996 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Golden Needles


soul packed in a naked seed
released on a springtime breeze
high fever of wanderlust
far flung and delirious

'cross meadow from shady grove
down river and open road
seemed like an eternity
till I fell to earth to become a tree

sunk deep in the cool wet earth
from a new womb another birth
burst open like a nova
unwound like a cobra

stretched myself till I met the sun
I was a seedling and a strong one
I drank the rain, played with the wind
sang hymns, made offerings

Golden needles
precious treasure
I was a temple
a poem
shelter
memories kept in rings
the birds would sing
as I sent new seeds to go wandering

slow dance in a spiral
each day higher
my feast the sun the earth my home
never once did I feel alone

summer fall winter spring
the seasons and I were old friends
centuries on the same spot
everything moved but I did not

Golden needles
precious treasure
I was a temple
a poem
shelter
memories kept in rings
the birds would sing
as I sent new seeds to go wandering

gladly, I would have stayed here
another century, another year
I fed the air, kissed heaven
still, the odds were uneven

mid-winter, late afternoon
approaching rise of the howling moon
I felt a blow, heard a small sound
I fell to night
I hit the ground

Golden needles
precious treasure
I was a temple
a poem
shelter
memories kept in rings
the birds sing
as again my soul goes wandering
released my soul goes a'wandering

©1997 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Shelter for All
for Meredith & Ken Allen


everything lasts
just a little while
the blink of an eye
the length of a smile
all things come
all things go
some more quickly
some more slow

fire burns up
water pours down
cold contracts
the wind blows around
earthquakes shake
the entire ground
buildings go up
buildings fall down

so we begin
begin again

big ideas
detailed plans
faith and cash
in heart and hand
wood and metal
glass and slate
glue and plaster
paper and paint

raise the roof
hammer in nails
wash it up clean
with water from a pail
make it last
for a hundred years
we'll be gone
but someone will be here

build it for good
build it for good

protection from the rain
the crowd
the unknown
a root to heal the pain
just a place to go

empty yet
the rooms are filled
with something waiting
latent still
the soul of a building
the power of a place
style expressed
through light and grace

it's simple, really
a common need
origin, refuge
source, retreat
comfort and love
at the end of a day
may everyone have
a home someday

may everyone have a home someday

shelter for all
shelter for all

©1996 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Meditation at Mount Auburn Cemetery


Today I walked among the stones
beneath the boughs, above the bones
I read the names, I checked the dates
on marble, granite, quartz and slate

I memorized some names of trees
by flower, bark and shape of leaf
I pressed my palms against a beech
while crushing mushrooms underneath

A crow harassed a red-tailed hawk
above the whistles, calls and squawks
of warblers, wrens and orioles
sparrows, finches, vireos

and as I walked along
I whispered prayers to dear ones
now long gone
was I just talking to myself
what does it matter
who can tell

And in the spice of lilac air
pulling soft blossoms from my hair
I wandered 'round Lake Halcyon
and I wondered where the dead had gone

When breath deserts the frame of home
with some regret and undertone
perhaps it sings a song that sounds
like a seed exploding underground

today I walked among the stones...

©1996 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




The Wind Moves Over Heaven


the sky was heavy with indigo clouds
but no rain, no rain fell
the flowers were parched but patient
after such a long, dry spell

wish I could say the same for me
I paced and I shook my head
when’s that rain ever gonna fall?
feels like it’s never gonna fall, I said

what’s it like to wait so long and to never expect a thing?
let me stand just as I am
and say thank you for everything.

from the church of dawn to the crypt of night
I carry these bones like a cross
my mind craves satisfaction and
my heart beats at a loss

isn’t there something I can buy
to fill this emptiness?
the wind moves over heaven
I settle down and I get some rest.

what’s it like to want so much and to never expect a thing?
let me stand with nothing in my hand
and say thank you for everything.

tamed by the power of the shadowy
my heart grows humble and I wait and see

what’s it like to give so much and to never expect a thing?
like the rain again and again
brings earth to life in spring

let me love till I am made of it
and at home with everything.

©1997 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved




Ephemera


the air is clear and the moon is bright
the neighborhood is hushed on a late spring night
I pull my guitar into my arms
we weave our fingers and strings and charms

out of the darkness a melody comes
a rhythm follows like distant drums
like an architect and an engineer
we build a form and an atmosphere

so it comes along
just a little song
meet the thing head on
quick before it’s gone

a whispered phrase, a string of words
a hint from something overheard
calm my mind now keep me still
between daydream and force of will

keep those distracting chores at bay
no, I can’t come out to play
I am plunged in the throes of a mystery
let me have it, let me be

so it comes along
just a little song
right where it belongs
sing it and it’s gone

©1998 Suzanne McDermott/Drexel Road Music (ASCAP/STIM) All Rights Reserved