Prairie Girl

Prairie girl, sitting on a fencepost, watching the backs of the birds flown away,
felt the cold of fall on her shoulders,
opened her wings to the south just to say...

"Oh take me! Don't foresake me!
Who will keep me warm in the winter!"

Prairie girl, sitting in a shade tree,
watching the sun going out of its leaves,
smelled the earth turning brown, turning under,
sank down her roots, her heartwood to freeze...

Prairie girl! The winter is coming!
Prairie girl! Light a fire in the hearth!
Prairie girl! Be a woman of the winter!
Prairie girl, the snow's about to start...
Grumman Canoe

I can't stop thinkin how all I wanna do
is spend my day fishing in my Grumman canoe.
My grandfather bought 'er after WWII,
he knew that sittin' on the water could see a man through!

So take me to the river if you'd be so kind;
another moment on this shore'll make me lose my mind!
Got my fishing pole ready and my stinkbait too.
Those catfish better watch out, cuz I'm in a canoe.

I can't forget, I gotta let you know
that sittin' on the water's gonna save your soul!
Jesus did it lotsa times, he taught those guys
and bit by bit it fed em after just a few tries.

So go dig some worms, go and find some line,
there's nothin quite as good to do with your time.
Maybe make a sandwich, maybe find some beer,
just don't forget to take me with you out to the pier!!

When I'm really tired, when I'm nearly dead,
I hope someone'll take me to the river's bed.
A canoe's the greatest coffin, its a stylish grave
and you're already in heaven when you're ridin' a wave!
Carry Your Shoes

When you speak, speak the truth! When you sing, let it loose!
When you walk, carry your shoes, now carry your shoes!

They say that knowledge is power by who or what you know.
But all the information of this age won't light the fire in your soul.
Take up your cross you people!
Bear witness in the love of your land!
'Cause it all means nothing to the eager child if you gesture with an idle hand.

Our freedom doesn't come free, and we know that it doesn't come cheap.
Somehow we've forgotten how we got here, to the comforts of home, lost the light that we once lived to seek.
Take up your cross you people!
Bear witness in the love of your land!
'Cause it all means nothing to the eager child if you never learn to take a stand.

And we've borrowed this earth from our children; an inheritance gnawed to excess.
We the prodigal sons and daughters destroy, in denial of love for our flesh.
Take up your cross you people!
Bear witness in the love of your land!
'Cause it all could be lost to the eager child if we forget we are mortal man!
The House Song

I could build my house on a mountaintop, enjoy the climb, enjoy the view.
Or I could build my house in the valley so green,
with the ground wet below, the sky above blue.
I could build my house on the prairie plan,
with the wind in my hair, and you calling my name.

What's a girl to do? I can't stop thinking of you.
And do you love me today? And what of tomorrow?
Is another one waiting at sea?

My house on the mountain top could burn,
and it'd have so far to fall.
And my house in the valley could wash away,
one rain could take away all.
My house on the prairie could be lonely at times,
lost in the grass, losing my mind.

So I'll build my house not of stone or of wood,
no nails shall hold it together.
And I'll build my house not of plastic or steel,
but it will survive any weather.
I'll build my house of pure skin and pure bone,
within myself, I'll make my home.
At the End of Stone Barn Road

These woods, they made me a woman,
These trees, they made me a beast,
My skin and my hair cured in nettles,
Oh, I'll bear (bare) nothing to them but my teeth,
Oh, I'll bear (bare) nothing to them but my teeth.

My burs will cling to your sleeves.
You'll lose buttons as you walk off the trail.
And the sound of the owl will leave your mouth dry.
The crow will make your tongue fail.

The vixen, the doe, and the jenny
flow like water and light through the trees.
And the trillium, spider-wort, lily
save all of their secrets for bees.

Mosquito and tick, they will find you,
hungry mothers, just living to feed!
And the blood, that we shed to the mushrooms,
in the cycles of death and of need!

Now my bones left spidersilk smooth!
My flesh loved. Consumed, and well-sought.
Oh, and into these timbers and thickets, oh,
will I wander to bless and to haunt!
Know You're Near

Beneath the dome, I saw the crashing waves.
No hope awake, no welcome to we who came.
My eyes were opened in the dark.
No storm can take me by the heart
by the heart
by the heart
by the heart

But God said, "Let there be light today."
And so we go, we go into the pines to pray.
And the sun, the sun will always find us here.
And your daughter will know you're near.
And your daughter will know you're near.
All is Well

It takes a little time, and sometimes a longer time to find where your home is.
You're walkin' down the line, two steps back, three steps forward
wonderin' "How can I know this
Complicated world, all its ins and its outs,
all its people and my future and my manifold doubts.
Where do I go?"

All is well with my soul, with my soul.

Sometimes you gotta live without being okay,
and know that its okay
to manufacture wings as your're plummeting down,
to see only today's
problems, 'cause its all you can fit in your mind,
to know that you just gotta take your time,
and you don't have to know.

All is well with my soul, with my soul.

They say, "Look to the birds when you're feeling down,
how they keep on flying."
They neither sow nor reap, yet the grace in this world
sustains them from dying.
And ignorance is bliss to the faithful heart
when you're scooped up by that low-swingin' sweet chariot
taking you home.

All is well with my soul, with my soul.
Little Birds

I've seen my share of dead little birds,
dead little birds, my oh my.
So small and so sweet, how I pray they will meet
in the sky, in the sky, in the sky.
I can't save them all from the ground.
Maybe not any at all.

I've sung my share of old country songs,
old country songs, my oh my.
The stories I told were seldom my own, 
but somehow they still make me cry.
Some part of them somehow is true.
Some part of me singing to you.

And I've lost my share of hope in this world,
hope in this world, my oh my.
But my part I shall play in the light of this day,
like the bird in the sky! in the sky!
And my moment on faltering wings
is the moment I'm starting to sing.

I've seen my share of dead little birds,
dead little birds, my oh my.
So small and so sweet, how I pray they will meet
in the sky, in the sky, in the sky.
To the Bison

Long ago, before the stars were made, oh I met you in that meadow.
All we saw, lit only by the moon; we were creatures in that nettle.
Simple of mind and simple of tongue, wise in the ways that water takes,
we were ancient and we were young, as the dawn that waits to break.
 
Oh mighty heart!
Oh thunder feet!
Oh restore my inner beast!
Standing firm to face the wind,
we greet our winter once again!
 
How our spinning world turned meadows into rows, moments turned to measured time.
Lovely fur stripped down to naked skin; I was not yours, you were not mine!
Electric light and electric sound! A world through windows seldom seen!
We are ancient and we are young as what has been and what will be!
 

 
Possum

Oh possum, you’ve far to go,
Go possum, go through the snow.
Naked eye, and naked tail,
naked feet goin’ down the trail.
 
Play dead for the coyote’s (owl, etc.) eye
Pray pray he’ll pass you by…
then rise, like Lazarus, from the grave!
Rise up and go on your way!

 
 
When Your Tower Falls

I don’t know your name, but I’ve seen your sign,
man behind the curtain, writing all the lies.
You fill the history books and the TV screens
with false prophecy for profit, and artificial dreams.
 
But I’ll know when I see your tower fall to the ground,
to the sound of a wrecking ball,
to the tune of a tide that won’t be lost in the sea of a people
who’s lives you cost.
 
You’ve sold your eyes for money and are living blind.
You’ve gone deaf to the music of your own kind.
You’re tired, but never hungry, and your spirit is dry.
You’re partly a machine, part genetic modified.
 
Your children will be trained for the corporate stream.
You’ve cooped them up inside with their companion machines.
And your legacy is planned, a statue and plaque,
but somehow you’ve forgotten you ain’t never comin’ back!
 

 
Every Day

I had a bad day.
It happened again.
I looked around,
couldn’t see a friend.
My heart was broke,
and my skin was cold.
I fell asleep,
I was feelin’ old.
 
But every day,
every day,
I wake to the sun through my window,
Wake with new breath in my lungs,
Pray that the song in my bloodstream
Gives me the strength to go on.
 
I saw the birds,
they were full of song.
I saw the trees,
they were standin’ strong.
I took delight
in the riverbank.
So much to love
so much to thank.
 
I saw the moon
light up the sky.
I saw the stars,
like loving eyes.
I took a breath.
I let it go.
I felt a pain
and I let it show.

 
If I Couldn't Go Walkin'

If I couldn't go walkin', I'd have to cry. If I couldn't go walkin', I'd have to cry.

I'm glad I can, livin' on this land!
Doin' my thing, singin' my song,
take my love for the world along.

If I couldn't go dancin', I'd have to hide...

If I couldn't go singin', I would go dry...

If I couldn't go breathin', I'd have to die...
Ode to the West Wind

I first caught the scent of you back in January,
ran out the door just to say your name.
Left in the cold, but I heard you in February
carrying the geese, their familiar refrain...

"Zephyrus, you spring breathing west wind.
Zephyrus, sing sweetly to me."

Zephyrus, I've ached for your songbirds and seedlings,
a desire so deep, I've lost sight of the sky.
Zephyrus, my lust is a powerful feeling,
no comfort can sate me, but you, by and by.

Zephyrus, the winter was cruel to me,
She left me a shell of who I used to be.
But Zephyrus, your kisses are life in my bones,
your touch on my skin, like light on the snow.

Zephyrus, bring forth the rains and the timpani!
Make wet every form which crawls and which grows!
Zephyrus, bring life to this slumbering symphony!
We'll warm to your wonder that we've come to know.
What's it Gonna Take?

What's it gonna take to get a little rain? What's it gonna take to get a little rain?
What's it gonna take to get a little rain?
What's it gonna take to get a little rain?

Oh wash over me!

What's it gonna take to find a little peace?
What's it gonna take to find a little peace?
What's it gonna take to find a little peace?
What's it gonna take to find a little peace?

Oh wash over me!

What's it gonna take to see a little hope?
What's it gonna take to see a little hope?
What's it gonna take to see a little hope?
What's it gonna take to see a little hope?
My Words

On days I need no promises of heaven,
my words flow under the bridge.
And on days I feel no love from my brethren,
my words flow under the bridge.

My words flow under the bridge.
My world both a rock and a ridge.

On days that I sit with the peace of the stones,
my words flow under the bridge.
On days I am restless with my worries and my woes,
my words flow under the bridge.

On days that beauty fills me with wonder,
my words flow under the bridge.
On days that darkness pulls me under,
my words flow under the bridge.

On days my faith sails clear on the waters,
my words flow under the bridge.
On days I have no hope for my daughters,
my words flow under the bridge.
Go Down to the Low Down

Go Down to the Low Down
Go down, to the low down,
to the lowly, lowly, lowly, lowly low down.
 
We’ll find shelter from the wind,
to shield our weary souls.
We’ll find shelter from the wind
in the low low low low low low down.
 
We’ll find cool pools of water,
to quench our weary souls.
We’ll find cool pools of water
in the low low low low low low down.

 
I am Going to the Valley

Oh my darlin’, where you goin’?
“I am going to the valley.”
What lies down there in the valley?
“Bones and stories, in the valley.”
 
“I saw a woman white as snow,
in the valley long ago.
I saw her daughter cloaked in black,
in the valley a while back.”
 
Oh my darlin’, where you goin’?
“I am going to the valley.
I am going to the valley.”

 
Find Where I'm Goin'

Your grandmother was a tree, lost two good men & still stood tall.
Your mother was a stone, as stubborn as the day is long.
I was born in South Dakota. I remember the parsonage by the tracks.
But the snow & the wind & the bugs made you want to leave and not come back.

But to find where I'm goin' I must journey where I've been.
I'm finding old strength mustered in the trials of my kin.
I can hold ground in the storm! Hold the earth in the wind!
Its in our blood, dear mother, before, and now again.

But the plains still call me to the open where the women of our family lived and bore.
I want to find a fearless piece of land, though you may have dreamed I'd find something more.
Your daughters are full of mighty water! It will save us in the desert of our pain.
Mother, you've done well in your keeping, & your babies have grown to do the same.

And to find where we're going we must journey where we've been.
We're finding old strength mustered in the trials of our kin.
We can hold ground in the storm! Hold the earth in the wind!
Its in our blood dear mother, before, and now again.

Salty Moon

In circles humming like a vulture in the air,
drunk on borrowed whiskey, I saw you there.
Salty Moon, my darling, gonna take what you are due,
Salty Moon, my darling, Salty Moon.

Sometimes I ask, “Just what can I get away with?
Can I run off and live with the wolves?
Will they come and find me or just let me be,
Let me chew on these bones quietly.”

In straight roads brimming up with traffic and with grey,
I missed your face as I staggered through the day.
Salty Moon, my darling, gonna take what you are due,
Salty Moon, my darling, Salty Moon.

Caught between the cosmos and the rat race of this age,
Every dog’s house may also be his cage.
Salty Moon, my darling, gonna take what you are due,
Salty Moon, my darling, Salty Moon.

 

 

 

The Skinner's Song

Give me two black birds with painted wings,
my fighting kings, to my heart bring soul food and things
that I need to sing…
 
And when we’re all alone and our truths are told
May our skin come off, may our guts be known.
 
Give me three small bears to body guard,
it isn’t hard when the danger comes around for them to start and startle
what gnaws on my heart…
 
Give me four tall trees to build my fort,
its so important and I can’t afford to feel this cold anymore,
winds breakin’ down my door…
 
Give me five raccoons to think it through,
clearly in the blue of what’s happening to you and thereby to me too and I hope they’re comin’ soon
because there’s nothin’ I can do…
 
Give me five raccoons!
Give me four tall trees!
Give me three small bears!
Give me two black birds!
 
Or just one girl to live and be,
that girl is me! I said, that girl is me and how I’d love to see you happily
with blackbirds on a nearby tree….

 
 
The Truth Is

Your words may be worms, but I know the truth,
and the truth is a bird who eats worms for breakfast.
And through the air she flies on the winds of your lies
with strength only found from eating worms from your mouth.
 
Hear her sing! Hear her song! I am singing along!
While your words lay dead on the ground, on the ground,
while your words lay dead on the ground.

 
Bring My Fiddle Along

I’ll take myself to the riverside and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
I’ll take myself to the riverside and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
I’ll bring my fiddle along, bring my fiddle along,
I’ll take myself to the riverside and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
 
I’ll walk on down through that valley of death, and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
I’ll walk on down through that valley of death, and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
I’ll bring my fiddle along, bring my fiddle along,
I’ll walk on down through that valley of death, and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
 
And I’ll dance on any grave you name, and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
And I’ll dance on any grave you name, and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
I’ll bring my fiddle along, bring my fiddle along,
And I’ll dance on any grave you name, and I’ll bring my fiddle along.
 

 
Last Will and Testament

This is my last will and testament: I don't need no box! no box from the establishment!

Just throw me to the river!
Feed me to the crows!
Plant me with your flowers!
Play music with my bones!