Tag: bill callahan

Bill Callahan, “Too Many Birds”

poetry

Too many birds in one tree
Too many birds in one tree
And the sky is full of black and screaming leaves
The sky is full of black and screaming

And one more bird
Then one more bird
And one last bird
And another

One last black bird without a place to land
One last black bird without a place to be
Turns around in hopes to find the place it last knew rest
Oh black bird, over black rain burn
This is not where you last knew rest
You fly all night to sleep on stone
The heartless rest that in the morn, we’ll be gone
You fly all night to sleep on stone, to return to the tree with too many birds
Too many birds
Too many birds

If
If you
If you could
If you could only
If you could only stop
If you could only stop your
If you could only stop your heart
If you could only stop your heart beat
If you could only stop your heart beat for
If you could only stop your heart beat for one
If you could only stop your heart beat for one heart
If you could only stop your heart beat for one heart beat

~ ~ ~

This song is very beautiful on the page, especially that last section, where each line has this new nuance that carries you along. But – the song must really be heard to be loved.

James Wright and Bill Callahan

musicpoetry

This poem is one I always think of when Spring comes around…I’d say it’s one of my top-three favorite poems, and on springy days like this it’s definitely number one. The following poem is one that always sneaks up on the first one in my mind and rides piggyback through my imagination, or the two of them are holding hands and wandering through together.

James Wright, “A Blessing”

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

* * *

Bill Callahan, “Let Me See the Colts”

Knocked on your door at dawn
With a spark in my heart
Dragged you from your bed
And said let me see the colts

Let me see the colts
That will run next year
Show them to a gambling man
Thinking of the future

Have you been drinking no
Nor sleeping
The all-seeing
all-knowing eye is dog
tired
And just wants to see the colts

We walked out through
The dew dappled brambles
And sat upon the fence
Is there anything as still
as sleeping horses
Is there anything as still
as sleeping horses

* * *

Now if you’re thinking…man, I wish “Let Me See the Colts” was a beautiful, mind-expanding song I could listen to right now, well you’re in luck, because Callahan is a songwriter, and one of the world’s finest at that, and his band’s called Smog:

[audio:http://www.jacksonhays.com/music/headphone_love/10%20Let%20Me%20See%20the%20Colts.mp3]

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