lyrics from One More Time Around

Pass It Along

This guitar came from a timber, from the body of a tree
Through the workshop of a luthier, now it's on loan to me
And it's good company after dinner, and it fits my hands just fine
But some day another singer with a pair of hands like mine
Will coax out songs much prettier still hiding in its strings
And sing stronger, braver words than I could ever sing
And folks are gonna love it, of this I'm almost sure
So I'll take good care of it, cause I'm borrowing it from her

Pass it along, pass it along
May it land in careful hands when we're gone
You carry it for a moment
But time won't loan it to you for long
You don't own it, pass it along

This here is my country, sometimes it's hard to recognize it
But I count myself lucky, to have been born inside it
And I'm grateful for the rights others struggled hard to win
And you can be sure I'm gonna fight when they try to take 'em back again
Oh, and everywhere are teachers, though some fell along the way
The words they said still reach us, just like you're teaching me here today
And you may not speak it loud, but it's clear in what you do
And I hope to make you proud, because I borrowed it from you

Seems these days we're in a hurry, to grab up all that's left to use
Putting patents on discovery, making seeds that don't reproduce
If our vision is so narrow, seeing only bought and sold
We'll end up like the pharaohs, buried with their gold
We've all pushed this thing along, we've all been guided by our fear
But the river sings a song we've gotta be quieter to hear
It's in every child's face, new and hopeful as a stem
Best be gentle with this place, cause we're borrowing it from them

Among the Trees

Remember when we played among the trees?
Threw pinecones and skinned our knees
Built forts out of sticks and boats out of paper and wood
And the days lasted so long
Lots of games had their own song
And up until dinnertime, we had the run of the neighbourhood

There was a rainbow in a piece of glass
Dewdrops in the tall grass
Dark smells and shade, and a puddle of water in an old rubber tire
And a hiding place inside it
And anywhere your bones fit
And inside every story with something to fight against, and someone to admire

And the TV signed off at night
But you could read with a flashlight
And games just took cards, or chalk, or jacks and a ball
We played grown-up with candy smokes
And hockey cards in our bike spokes
Climbing a maple tree, the seeds would helicopter as they fall

We'd always known it, but if we knew what it was worth
Would we have traded it for trinkets from the company store?
I ain't saying it was heaven, but at least it was earth
We don't taste much of that anymore

What weight pulled our kites down?
What fear drove us from the playground?
Convinced us there's only one game and the point is to win it?
What modesty clipped our wings?
Traded our dreams for things?
Led from leaf-covered trails to a road with no poetry in it?

And can we find our way back somehow?
Or has our imagination failed us now?
With the world at our fingertips, doors locked and shades drawn
Can we catch a wild breeze again?
Are there still far-aways on the wind?
Stories worth believing, dreams worth betting everything on?

Mama Always Said

A dark-eyed girl with a load of hurt
Mama always said be careful
Took most of it with her, didn't leave a word
Mama always said, be careful with your love

Sometimes the truth's too hard to learn
Mama always said be careful
Can't face it straight, you find a way to turn
Mama always said, be careful with your love

All jacked up on Saturday night
Mama always said be careful
She'll be a stranger in Sunday's light
Mama always said, be careful with your love

Too late for the cops, you're hopin'
Mama always said be careful
Foot on the gas and one eye open
Mama always said, be careful with your love

Oh, Mama always told you, boy
It's you I'm thinking of
You're my pride and joy
Be careful with your love

It'd break her hear to see her boy this way
Mama always said be careful
A whole two-six to get through the day
Mama always said, be careful with your love

And the girly bars that you walk past
Mama always said be careful
Got a hollow face in the window glass
Mama always said, be careful with your love

You got two eyes and you got two lungs
Mama always said be careful
You only got one heart, just that one
Mama always said, be careful with your love

When We're Back Around

Thought of you up in the timberline
Where the cool wide open starts
You're there whenever I clear my mind
There whenever I ask my heart
And there beside the snow-fed creek sliding clear along
Laughing with the clapping leaves and the kingfisher's song
And again along the weary way down
Thinking of someday, baby, when we're back around

Thought of you in the dusky air
With the day's journey just begun
Thought of the autumn in your hair
And the way you wear that setting sun
Thought of all the miles I'm going, all the time we tried
And how long we held on, knowing that I had to leave and why
Wondered if different reasons might be found
Someday, baby, when we're back around

Thought of you when I heard last call
When the hour's hungry for a kiss
I'm tired of barrooms and alcohol
You used to take me home 'fore it came to this
There's a couple young girls making out right in front of their fellas
And the guys think it's all about trying to make 'em jealous
But when she dips her down close to the ground
She whispers, "someday, baby, when we're back around"

Thought of you rollin' through Michigan
With her turquoise lakes and her peeping toads
Getting around to wishin' again
For someone like you to share these roads
I guess we did right parting, but right's still hard to feel
Now I can't hold you darling, so I just hold this wheel
And dream through the time zones and towns
To someday, baby, when we're back around
I just dream through the time zones and towns
To someday, baby, when we're back around

You Don't Find Out in the End

We don't know how we got here
Tell stories because we forget
Probably never know what's out there
If we haven't found out yet
Life's clues fly by thick and fast
And you can't watch the movie again
You don't know the plot, if you're a good guy or not
And you don't find out in the end

It don't always turn out like it should
Despite what some folks say
Here's hoping things tip for the good
But it could really go either way
Each word you let loose from your lips
And every dollar that you spend
You don't know where it lands, or what'll come of your plans
And you don't find out in the end

What if I'd given more?
What if you hadn't missed your flight?
What if the Axis had won the war?
What if I would've called that night?

There's madness in the land
The dogs are at the door
This could well be our last stand
Though they've probably said that before
May be nothing we can do to turn it back now
But who knows, so how can you give in?
You just pick a side, and let your bet ride
You don't find out in the end
You just pick a side, and let your bet ride
You don't find out in the end

Use Your Imagination

I was tired of talking to myself
Tired of young girls talkin' crazy
Said, what I need now is a full-grown woman
Why you wanna be my baby?
And I was staring at my shoes when she took me by surprise
Saying "Use your imagination, babe, improvise"

Unbroken buckskin mare
Wildest thing I've seen
Tear down an engine all by herself
Sometimes she starts a fire with gasoline
I'm falling fast, and it's hard to disguise
She says, "Use your imagination, babe, improvise"

You can put down your best-laid plans
Plot your whole life through
But love's not something you can go out and find
If you're lucky, love finds you
Out here past the edge of my maps, there's nothing I recognize
She says, "Use your imagination, babe, improvise"

When the world's changed the locks
Windows are boarded shut
When your castle becomes your cage
When your highway becomes a rut
When you can't see new horizons with your old eyes
Use your imagination, babe, improvise

I've heard there's two kinds of women'll get you
And I suspect it's true
One kind makes you feel like home
One scares the hell out of you
I say show me how to love you, and she replies
"Use your imagination, babe"

Broke, and So Far from Home

Rain on concrete, worn out and beat
Tired of hearing people talk
We're all rushing by in our hurry to die
When music spills out down the block
And I dream I am somewhere people know what I mean
Where the rain falls grey but the wind blows green
And I know it ain't true, but what's a poor boy to do?
Broke, and so far from home

The winners and losers, the hustlers and users,
Jostle and make deals and shout
And the all-night cafes, and the storefront displays
Promise what this town can put out
She's had her way with so many men
Leaves 'em on the sidewalk when their money's all spent
With nothing but time, and an old cardboard sign
That says, "Broke, and so far from home"

It's in the blue TV light that shines every night
For people with no time to cook
It's in the billy clubs and gas
The way we walk past each other and don't even look
The way we eat when we're not hungry, drink when we're not dry
Need religion when we're hard up, and dollars when we die
And the whole sad mess is just like me, I guess
Broke, and so far from home

When it all comes crashing, only compassion
Might save you, but it's a tenuous thing
To empty yourself to see anyone else
Like a bell must be empty to ring
Whatever you've done and wherever you've been
You're never so free as when you go all in
And you hear yourself singing, empty and ringing
Broke, and so far from home

New Grist

Tune up the strings, rosin the bow
It'll sing if you touch it just right
And you can almost feel
In the kerosene glow
Our ancestors dancing with us tonight
Dust off the old tunes, there's life in 'em still
Sun-kissed, new grist for the old mill

Plant in the spring, gather in fall
Cellars full of jars and brown-bagged seeds
This land's got food and work for us all
If you like flowers, gotta pull some weeds
Dust off the old ways, there's life in 'em still
Sun-kissed, new grist for the old mill

Bluebird days, wood for the stove
Your company and all that time makes
Summer dancing all the sweeter
Hearing creek music and drinking sunshine
Dust off your old boots, there's life in 'em still
Sun-kissed, new grist for the old mill

The old struggle, again begun
Learning to sing our healing songs
Learning that we are the very ones
We've been waiting for all along
Dust off your old dreams, there's life in 'em still
Sun-kissed, new grist for the old mill

The Poet Game by Greg Brown

Down by the river, junior year, walking with my girl
We came upon a place
There in the tall grass where a couple had been making love
And they left the mark of their embrace
I said to her, "Looks like they had some fun"
She said to me, "Let's do the same"
And still I taste her kisses and her freckles in the sun
When I play the poet game

A young man in the hill country, the year of '22
Went to see his future bride
She lived in a rough old shack that poverty blew through
And she invited him inside
She'd been cooking, ashamed and feeling sad
She could only offer him bread and her name
Grandpa said that it was the best gift a fella ever had
And he taught me the poet game

I had a friend who drank too much and played too much guitar
And we sure got along
Reel-to-reels rolled across the country near and far
Filled with letters, poems, and songs
But these days he won't talk to me, and he won't tell me why
I miss him every time I hear his name
I don't know what he's doing, don't know how our friendship died
While we played the poet game

The fall rain was pounding down on an old New Hampshire mill
And the river wild and high
I was talking to her while leaves blew down with a sudden chill
There was wildness in her eyes
We made love like we'd been waiting all of our lives for this
Strangers know no shame
But she had to leave at dawn, and with a sticky farewell kiss
She left me to play the poet game

I watched my country turn into a coast-to-coast strip mall
and I cried out in a song:
If we could do all that in thirty years, please tell me you all
Why does good change take so long?
Why does the color of your skin or who you choose to love
Still lead to such anger and pain?
And why do I think it's any help for me to still dream of
Playing the poet game?

Sirens wail above the fields, another soul gone down
Another Sun about to rise
I've lost track of my mistakes, like birds they fly around
And darken half my skies
To all of those I've hurt, I beg you to forgive me
I to you will freely do the same
There were just so many things I didn't see, with my eyes turned inside
Playing the poet game

I walk out at night to take a leak underneath the stars
Yeah, that's the life for me
There's Orion and the Pleiades and I guess that must be Mars
All as clear as we long to be
I've sung what I was given, some was bad and some was good
And I never will know from where it came
And if I had it all to do again I am not sure I would
Play the poet game

One More Time Around

Magnolia in the mild breeze, roadway stretching south
My thoughts scatter like wild geese, and the words fall from my mouth
I'm missing where I've been, and yearning for where I'm bound
Spin the wheel again, one more time around

I thought of the islands, a canoe in the morning mist
Thought of waking up smiling, thought of leaving all of this
Burning through the scenery wore my brakes right down
Gotta listen to the machinery, to make it one more time around
One more time around

There's joy in the daylight, courage in every start
Landscapes to fill my sight and music to fill my heart
And when the band kicks harder, troubles come unwound
Swing your partner, one more time around
One more time around

Lucky to have the friends I've known, these songs to sing and this earth to ride
Got this sweet life on loan, couldn't keep it if I tried
Just a day's worth of air, feet worth of ground
Somebody's lettin' it ride somewhere, one more time around
One more time around, One more time around