Time Heals

Thinking back, it seems that I
can lie beside you as I never truly did,
in afterglow - no afterwords at all.
Only writing love songs when it's gone and dead;
only paying words out in strings of
half-forgotten sentiments...

I mean...
I meant...
I never really quite could say the way it was.

The first time that we met I said
'I bet that she's the one',

but I was talking to myself then, as always.
As time went by our steps entwined,
unwritten lines drew taut

and I tried to find a way to make it all safe...
Into the play - what a production! -
into the days and ever more suction:
you hold me close, but hold me farther
away from yourself - I make me a martyr,
for pain and love go hand in hand....
And hand in hand go you and my friend,
you are his and I am yours and just cannot evade you;
my days a dream, my nights unseemly,
stolen moments all I live for,
but theft is no way to persuade you
to come with me, leave him behind you;
my hurtful eyes try to remind you
it's all I can do to keep from screaming
'I love you, I love you!' - I wish I was dreaming,
but the steps we take all leave footprints...

Sooner or later the whole thing will be blown:
you will leave him or I'll be left here, alone.
Either way someone loses someone
but I won't mind that,
I just would quite like to know

who we love the most -
well, I guess that's ourselves.

The days are strange, at night we're strangers,
lie in bed and lie inside our heads,
we come no closer than as dancers.
Your eyes are change, your presence danger,
won't look me in the face and yet
you kiss and make up the answer
to all the questions that fly unanswered, unreasoned -
death in the sky, death in the season.
If you leave me now, it might nearly kill me....
Remember me?
Remember we three?

It all seemed so important at the time,
we came so close to wrecking all our lives,
and now it's all just song lines.
Time heals,
time heals -
oh, but I still bear the weals.

Thinking back, it seems that I
can lie beside you as I never truly did,
in afterglow - no afterwords at all.
Only writing love songs when it's gone and dead,
only paying words out: streams of
half-forgotten sentiments...

I mean...
I meant...
I never really quite could say
the way it was.

Too many of my yesterdays

So many years ago, I thought you were the one -
who knows when people change, surrender into strangeness,
adrift upon their lives, encompassed by the past?
Who knows which one becomes the last goodbye?
Don't try to tell me nothing dies.
Don't try to tell me nothing's changed,
don't try to tell me nothing's new,
too many of my yesterdays belong to you.

I shelved my broken heart, I put you from my mind,
I got up from my knees, I picked up all my pieces,
but seeing you again puts shakes into my soul.
Just when I think I'm finally over you,
don't come and show me that's not true.

Tell me about it, talk to me - I hear it coming,
I feel it coming,

the way you want this thing to be.
You're only trading on our memories
don't go and say you still love me.

You're trading on my memories,
you're trading in a rosy past;

you know I'm lost on stormy seas...
but I still stand before the mast,

beneath the stars and under sail
towards horizons out of true...

Behind the dance of seven veils I still see you...

Tell me about it, have your way;
I see it coming, I hear it coming,
I know what you're about to say.
You've had too many of my yesterdays,
and I don't want to fall again.

Don't try to tell me nothing's changed,
don't try to tell me nothing's new,
too many of my yesterdays are lost in you.

Time to Burn

Time to burn, we could talk all the problems through...
Are the promises still unbroken,
do the spoken words still ring true?
Oh, and where are you?

Time to burn, wakes and weddings, celestial choirs,
and while one hand shakes on the bargain
see the other stoke the suttee pyre;
so we're all on fire,
burning for tomorrow.

So much time wish- and hoping,
soon the future will come
with a bridal wreath for the wedding
in the hands of the prodigal son.
So much left undone,
here we are with time to burn.

So much time wishful thinking,
all the whitest of lies
with the prodigal caught at the border
and the order of service awry.
No time for goodbyes,
will we ever start to learn?

Time to burn, wakes and weddings become confused,
all the faces over-familiar
in the whirlwind of deja-vu...
Oh, but where are you?

Time to burn, all our lifelines are gathered round
with a speech from the back of a postcard
all the memories free in one bound.
Free, and gone to ground,
free, and gone forever.
Free, and gone to ground,
so I will remember
so much lost and found.
Here we are with time to burn.

The Mercy

What I once thought was everlasting
all of a sudden been and gone.
It is finished, it is finished but mercy’s moving us along.
What can you carry for your brother
when you can’t stand up on your own?
It’s hard to keep up, it’s hard to keep up,
this part you have to do alone.

Each time you make a resolution
who knows what lies in your intent.
There goes the story, there goes the story
here comes the circular descent.

If I say “good night and god bless”
I might yet confess I’m hoping to see
that when daylight breaks
I will face a fait accompli.

When the time comes I hope I’ll say
this is the moment I must stay
my hand in mercy.
I don’t intend to let you go,
I never meant to leave you lonely.
This is the moment I must show
my hand in mercy.

What I perceived as everlasting
now I just see as overlong.
Beyond endurance, beyond endurance,
beyond this point you can’t carry on.
But I believe what someone told me:
when we are pushed right to the edge,
right to the limit, when it is finished
it is the mercy.

So I say “Good night and god bless, sleep tight”.
Counting sheep and closing my eyes
I will drift away from the livelong day,
up the wooden hill slowly climb.
So I say “Good night and god bless, sleep tight”.
I must go outside and I might be some time.


I can't think of anything I did or was doing,
I can't seem to get a hold on what's come to pass,
here with half a mind on something else
and half a finger in the glass,
since you ask.

I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be going:
in the end every journey's only pawing the ground
and I've half a mind just to jack it in,
but for this torn-off ticket stub I just found.
Since you ask about the shape I'm in
I'll try my best to pull myself around.

Amnesiac if you say it's so;
amnesiac what happened long ago?
Oh, now I just don't know.

I can't think of anyone that I'd rather be with
but I don't know why you should want to stick here with me
when I can't even find what was on my mind
for all the holes punched in my memory:
it's a wasteland, and I'm terrified
to admit, to let go, to accept I don't know,
all those blanks won't be filled,
I'll be found by the chill of the glacier run
of what I might have done...
Since you last asked about the state I'm in
it seems I've lost all grip on where I'm coming from....

Amnesiac does it so plainly show?
Amnesiac as if I didn't know,
Amnesiac oh say it isn't so...


Been alone so long

Been alone so long
that I've forgotten what it's like
to feel somebody next to me
and hear her breathing peacefully
when I wake up at night.

Been alone so long
that I've forgotten what to say -
if I meet somebody who
might easily resemble you
I smile, but look away...
I look away.

Been alone so long
that I've forgotten what to do:
how to make the whole thing right
and how to help if she's uptight
and when to run and when to fight...
how to make her stay the night -
that's if I ever knew.

Been alone so long
that I've forgotten what it's like
to feel somebody next to me
and hear her breathing peacefully
when I wake up at night,
wake up at night

(Chris Judge Smith)

The Birds

Spring came far too early this year:
May flowers blooming in February.
Should I be sad for the month,
or glad for the sky?
The birds don't know which way to sing
and, my friend,
neither do I.

Two days ago, a girl I truly thought I loved
suddenly didn't seem to matter at all.
Should I sing sad farewell to things
I'm really glad I've left behind?
The birds don't know which way to sing
and, my friend,
neither do I.

In another day, heavy snow will lie upon the ground
and buds prematurely bloomed shall fail;
and every creature living now,
then will surely die...
The birds don't know which way to sing
and, my friend,
neither do I.
The birds don't know if it's time yet to fly;
they don't know which way to go
and, my friend,
neither do I.


Wash your hands clean,
don’t let anybody see the dirty work.
Keep those secrets
locked away from sight forever,
hidden safely where your darker side still runs berserk.

So much stored-up resentment,
all that background fallout from so long ago,
it’s still here to haunt you.
In a trunk locked in the attic
are the clothes that dressed the actions
you discarded but you can’t outgrow.
There’s a false wall in the basement
where you hide away the history you dare not put on show.

And when the hammer hits the nail upon the thumb
then the unvarnished truth is what you stumble on.

On your best behaviour,
keep on playing out the lily-white,
but you’ll always be stuck there,
going round and round in circles,
the mistakes which you repeat form up the framework
which defines your life.

You couldn’t quantify the depths you’d have to plumb
or the damage you’ve collaterally done...
still your own footprints are the tracks you stumble on.

And it’s less by design than by random occurrence
that you filled up your timer, that you built up the current
to spark the life you’ve led, the person you’ve become.
With the end in sight the excuses are all gone.

The truth is, this conclusion’s what you’ve stumbled on:
behind you lies the wreckage that you’ve stumbled from.

Last frame

Pretty keen - yes, my hobby keeps me busy
and if I talk to myself, what's the crime?
In the darkroom I am a dealer in space and time...
When all memory is mellowed,
when the photograph is yellowed,
still it never lies.

There you are, your eyes laced with secret pleasure,
saying that you're on the way to change,
devouring in inordinate measure
every diversion that's arranged.
For every appetite, a cruel attraction,
but there's a panic in your actions...
oh, I never saw you look so strange.

Fixing memory chemically,
holding time on the stop-clock,
hanging back from that last frame
just in case it didn't show you
in the way I used to know you...
I thought you'd always stay the same.
(But you won't)

Oh, the red light, the silver, the black and the bromide;
the silence, the waiting for overview...
The past seems under-exposed, low tide,
but still the images ghost through.
And you're there in the bath,
which is all this has led to,
and I can't say your path
is a right one to choose...

But then I only have a negative of you.

Friday afternoon

Why wait for life to happen,
when right before our eyes
blind fate unwraps its patterns?
I just said "See you soon".
My piano was in tune
when you walked out of the room.
It felt like any normal Friday.

At concert pitch, 440
the pressure's many tons;
the weight of life befalls me.
I wish I could pretend
my piano's on the mend.
You treated it like a friend,
left it to settle down over the weekend.

You've got a ticket on the terraces
for the game on Saturday

and afterwards you might go for a beer.
On Sunday afternoon you'll take the family to the park
and later, when it's getting dark
you'll say
"We've still got that old spark",

you'll say
"Oh, aren't we just so lucky to be here..."

So stupid and so senseless...
Sometimes we're pulled up short,
quite shockingly defenceless.

I don't know what to do: my piano's out of tune...
it's not as if I can assume
that it's ever going to get any better now.

A liquid lunch appointment when the working week is done,
there's time for one more just before he goes.
A quick glance at the watch
and now it's time to head for home.

And so it's goodbye to the ladies,
grabs the keys to his Mercedes,
thinking "Maybe I should get a cab..."
But no.

Blind drunk, he met you head on.
On a normal Friday afternoon.


I mark the high days and the holidays
red-letter on the page;
fast-forward into memory,
prepare to be upstaged.
The envelopes I push against
so rapidly become
a wrap to keep me safe and warm
but soon enough I’ll be undone.

And if, for instance, I had spent a lifetime
in the service of cleanliness and godliness
I’d still be washed up now.

My history doesn’t make much sense,
no corner has been turned.
The future's brooding and immense
and everything I’ve learned
seems tiny in the scheme of things,
the reckoning’s begun -
I hold together what I can,
the stitches bound to come undone.

And, for example, if I’d spent a lifetime
in pursuit of miraculously common sense
I’d still feel stupid now.
I’m waiting on a final clue,
a final validation
of what I did,of what I hid,
of all I called my own.

Our high days and our holidays
are numbered, every one.
So quick the hours rush away
and everything we’ve left’s undone.

Your Tall Ship

Far, so far away...
surely you remember
log book pages frayed
that fanned the flames of long ago,
guttered in the grate,
shadows in the embers...
look away, look for home.

Voices on the air,
running with the current;
wind and tide set fair,
ship to shore the message goes,
all in love is fair -
across the raging torrent,
sail away, sail for home;
look away, look for home.

Land-locked lovers, landlub friends, in procession:
all rites of passage have an end.
Look away, sail away,
sail your tall ship home.

We are ocean-borne, far from any harbour,
from our moorings torn,
ghosts that fly for all we know...
turn to face the storm
that's building off to starboard,
sail away, sail for home,
look away, look for home.

Look away in the Roaring Forties.

Land-locked lovers, littoral friends,
the succession never ends...
the spirit's willing to carry on;
all rites of passage make us strong.

Sail away, sail away,
sail your tall ship home.

Traintime (partial)

Along the tracks the wires are humming
in bursts of code like far-off drums.
Fathering the message:
further up the line someone's shouting
down the passage of time.

The corridor restrains the window,
no view without the eye within.
Bold upon the threshold
but holding on the line
we're shouting down the passage of time.

Relatives speak on the phone, on the train,
talking before they have thought to explain;
voices pitched wildly on tracks in the night
can't pick the pace up...
oh let there be light!
How light becomes the soul.

You know yourself the centre of attention,
you see yourself the locus of event.
I'm sorry if it's painful quarrying the lime,
stage centre, shouting down the passage of time.

The corridor retains its shadows,
its secrets compartmentalised.
Damping down on ambience,
clamp the teeth and grind,
shouting down the passage of time.

What's there to see or make clear?
What's there to know
when the voice is right here?
What's there to promise or vow?
What's to believe, when the time is right now?

Relatives spoke on the phone, on the train,
talking before they had sought to refrain;
voices projected, spears in mid-flight
frozen forever...
oh let there be light.

Let there be light!


You stare out in yellow eyes larger than my mind;
in viscous pools of joy, relaxing, we glide...
it's all too beautiful for my mind to bear
and, as we shimmer into sleep,
something's unshared.

But, seeing the flower that was there yesterday,
a tear forms just behind the soft peace of your shades...
The world's too lonely for this message to slip
but between the dying rails of peace you trip.

The petals that were blooming are just paper in your hand;
your eyes, which were clear in the night,
are opaque as you stand.
You were too beautiful for it to last...
these visions shimmer and fade out of
the glass.

The petals that were blooming
are just paper
in your hand.