Songs of Townes Van Zandt


The lilting sound of Townes Van Zandt –

It’s a sound that speaks like the nameless town

At dusk, when people expect something.

And they won’t find it, but they can dull it

Until they forget they ever wanted anything at all.

It’s something in the air that brings you to tears

Because it reminds you of something simpler

And now you’re stuck between one responsibility

And another. Both reach out to you when you try to leave.

It’s something like a mountain too far to see,

Like a river of promised wine in a depression era song;

It’s an ear to the wooden floor in the hoping

That something will soon go wrong.

It’s the echo of Spain in the West Coast

That doesn’t speak as romantic as the language

But hides the poetry in its pleading.

Sometimes the light beating wings are just as misleading

As the songs from a hopeless heart.


Two Haiku

A small running stream –

Wind chimes from the neighbour’s porch.

Blue tired evening.


Sunrise on the hills –

White snow rests on their high peaks,

They seem far away.

Alex Chilton’s Song

Just for a moment,

A shadow that lay over your life lifted,

And all that could be seen in your dark eyes

Was sincerity, insecurity,

The need to be loved and happy.

The cold plague that held at you,

And the voices that tried to remind you

Of the troubles of your years,

All fell to silence,

And just for a moment

You found that the simplest words would do.

Uni Years

In the years of learning and city freedom

The breeze always seemed blue.

My feet sprang from the Victorian pavement

And my eye caught the beauty of buildings,

Fallen leaves, a car pausing to let a passer by

Cross the road. I walked through art

Like Van Goughs whirling night,

And left my thoughts to run with words,

Words to play in the paradises of my creation.

I had some to share it with, and some I wish were there.

But it was never more-easy than when I walked

Through the days when I knew I was part of the rhythm

Of everything.

Lust for Adventure

It is a winter of inquiry and romance

And against better judgement I read the news,

Nothing much is going on but the offers to fly

Are enticing. I’d rather gaze at the fair Italian moon

Than the crimson wash of the Manchester sky.

I’ve got excitement within my reach,

But as soon as my heart starts to pound

I retreat into the crescent arms of early night.

I’d rather feel an African joy than the woes of a northern boy,

But my hands are pale like a river

And the choirs in my town are solemn and repressed.

I’m sure I’m awake to the fire of Elvis

And the conversation of Richard Harris,

But the wind that follows the car are ribbons reaching home.

Good Morning

I’ve kept the curtains open

So as to rise with the sun.

It comes cold and golden into my room,

And grows as the Mersey River runs.


It is only just gone five

And the songs of morning birds arrive,

The roar of speeding trains

Has yet to break through the tired day.


I’m happy to know the world still sleeps

And I sit in bed awake,

Still too lazy, maybe, to leap up to my feet

But pleased to steal what there is of life to take.