WATERED: REFLECTIONS OF NURTURE

Words and Music by M.K.Blanchard
Gotz Music
(860) 673-1032

Immigrant's Dream
Farm's as Deep as the DNA
The House
The Pond
Love Has My Life
'Til The Terrors Are Done
Snowday!
Tippy, My Good Dog, Gone!
Hayin'
Humphrey Too
The Boys Are Back
Why, That Was You
The Harbor
Call Me When You Get There

Immigrant's Dream (Listen)

There are faces that hang on the wall of my soul
A family of immigrants down from the north.
Six girls and four boys out of Newfoundland's cold
My uncles and aunts in do course.
Two stayed behind on that wind weary isle
One in a convent, one in a grave.
My grandparents pined with the death of their child
But both children with God it was time to escape.

So a family of twelve came to this foreign soil
Wide-eyed and wondered, gainful but poor.
They were socially generous with their time and their toil,
Grafted and grateful, maple leaf on their door.
The girls from start, worked through their teens.
Studied for nursing and teaching careers
But all lost their hearts to the boy of their dreams
And soon there were church bells and children to rear.

(Chorus)

It's an immigrant's dream to leave where you've been
Go where you're going and be home again.

The boys took to baseball like birds to the air.
Library learned, Canada didn't play.
High school to town teams, sandlots anywhere.
They pledged their allegiance to the land in this way.
One was a draftsman and one was a priest
And one was the mason who laid our house in.
One was my old man with a fiddler's yeast
That would rise up in tunes at the reunions.

They all loved to dance; it was their one common trait
Even the nun on rare visits would twirl to a reel.
Across a Friday night floor most found their soul mates.
To be swept off your feet is as fine as you'll feel.
I remember a couple weddings or more
For some older cousins at the K of C hall.
My aunts and my uncles out there on the floor
It's a portrait forever on my soul's wall.

(Chorus)

It's an immigrant's dream to leave where you've been
Go where you're going and be home again.

Celestine married Jesus, Louise married Ted.
Jack married Edna, Genevieve married Ed.
Cecilia had Frank, Ena had Tom.
Mike had the church and Pop had Mom.
Helen and Jackie, Cossie and jean,
Teresa and Eddie...

Immigrant's dream to leave where you've been
Go where you're going and be home again...


Farm's as Deep as the DNA

Momma's first stories were of cows and fields.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.
Plow the back forty till your sunburn peels.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.
Favorite horse, dog, of course, chasin' chickens in and out of the barn.
Up in the loft, tumble and toss. Little girl giggles in her daddy's arms.
My mother woke up early even holidays...
I tell you farm's as deep as the DNA.

Daddy's best memories were Canadian.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.
Big Catholic family up in Newfoundland.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.
Frosty morn to the pasture gone, warm his bare feet where the cows laid down.
Choppin' wood, stackin' it good. Packin' in heat before the snows come 'round.
My father worried 'bout winter till his dying day.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.

(Refrain)

Fills your speech with its metaphors.
Has a reach into your every day.
Sweat that seeps out of every pore
Farm's as deep as the DNA.

Up the road at the big gray barn.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.
Charlie and I found the muscle in our arm.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.
Bending our backs for George and Max, two Vermont brothers with forty head.
Close to men who on the land depend, hayin' those summers as the childhood fled.
When we get on the phone still talk of the days.
Farm's as deep as the DNA.

(Refrain)


The House

Now the place went up in '46 on a plot from the old farm.
There were rocks to lug, cement to mix and Uncle Jack to make them one.
Though the frames and walls, roof and halls were bought with a GI loan.
It was Daddy's will and Grandpa's skill that finished off the home.

The first floor was a hardwood sea beneath a plaster cloud.
Where rooms and rugs kept company with stuffed chairs and a flowered couch.
There was a dining set, cherry cabinet, a fireplace with a fame.
Books on shelves and china bells and a seven-foot concert grand.

The kitchen wore linoleum shoes, pine cupboards for its clothes.
Big steel sink with a back yard view, two burners worked on the stove.
There was a cookie jar and a mini-bar in a closet by the back door,
That led, of course, to a sitting porch where pies cooled and Grandpa snored.

(Chorus)

Wood and stone 'round flesh and bone
Where souls are gown and freed.
Wood and stone 'round flesh and bone
Call it home to me.

Off the back hall there were two bedrooms for my sisters and my folks.
Black phone on the wall, a closet for brooms where Mother hid her smokes.
Bathroom small, tiles on the wall, a tub and a toilet bowl
And a big ol' mirror to confirm your fears, you're too young or you're lookin' old.

Up the stairs in the room to the right was the barracks for us boys.
Lyin' lone ranger nights, imagination for our toys.
Across the way, guests would stay, brother priest or sister nun,
And now and then a Canadian, would bring the old world to us some.

Last and least, first and most was the cellar where we played.
It was a scary beast with a well room ghost, but a club house on rainy days.
In a back alcove was an old wood stove, a phonograph and some 45's.
We'd light a fire and never tire of living make-believe lives.

For twenty years, in the latter half, of the twentieth century
We lived in there, cried and laughed and love this family.
The house was more than walls and floors, it was a mold for memories,
A holy place that held a grace in this heart's history.

(Chorus)

Wood and stone 'round flesh and bone
Where souls are gown and freed.
Wood and stone 'round flesh and bone
Call it home to me.


The Pond

The springtime of each year would break, with black bird songs from its far bank.
breezes ricocheted and raked this floating field like unseen tanks.
Outside my window wild would awake with cries of courtship, need and thanks.
As moods and minnows flash its face and condemned the winter walks its plank.
Around the edges I would take my rifled heart loaded with blanks
And witness with each splash or wake, shoreline sentries breaking ranks.

Summer came with bullfrog praise that turned their home into our swimming hole.
The water boils in the heat and haze with a neighbor navy on patrol.
Limp on inner tubes we lay as horseflies would scold.
Then diving down to the mud and clay we chased the bullheads and tadpoles.
Later on the sky would gray then darken with a thunder roll
Sending the sailor on their way, before heaven's lost control.

(Chorus)

If times are left to "long ago" and "far away" and "once upon"
Some of the best ones that I know were when we played around the pond.

Then like dusk the autumn came, a jester at a requiem.
The lion land with its maple mane, roared red 'round the wet kingdom.
Down the brook we had a game of racing boats out to the pond.
Like Kate and Bogey's African Queen, we pushed and pulled till the light was gone.
And sometimes as the day would wane against the last sad blush of the sun,
A big blue heron wrote its name, the masterpiece was signed and done.

Winter fell upon the year with frost and frigid northwest winds.
Black ice formed its cold veneer sealing all the critters in.
Soon across its face appeared, the scars of skaters and their kin.
And when the snow fell it was cleared, so the hockey games could begin.
Some Sunday mornings I'd wake to hear, solo blade cut sharp and spin.
Our family doctor would be there, to twirl away his worryin'.

(Chorus)

If times are left to "long ago" and "far away" and "once upon"
Some of the best ones that I know were when we played around the pond.


Love Has My Life

"Work to live, don't live for the work place," my dad would often say.
His job didn't give him lines on his face and I'm glad it turned out that way.
Meter man for the utilities,
Company van, vacation - three weeks,
He covered the land in half a dozen counties
Had a gift for remembering side streets and names.
When he was home was there to stay, what with four kids and those baseballs to toss.
Didn't wait by the phone or think about the next day.
He was a freeman 'til the alarm clock went off.

(Chorus)

Love has my life; my job has the rest.
I'm a mother and wife; their photographs are on my desk.
I kiss 'em goodnight; they're safe and I'm blest.
Love has my life; my job has the rest.

The sign on her desk said, "Never Relax". She was an English teacher for twenty-five years.
My mother confessed a certain peace she lacked. She had her reasons and seasons for fears.
Freshman to seniors came through her door.
Dunces to genius - Shakespeare explored.
A teacher of teenagers but mom to the core,
It was weeks before she passed back a test.
On her way home she'd plan out the meal, then stop by and take a shut in for a spin.
Listen as we moaned 'bout the day's raw deals, check our homework before tuckin' us in.

(Chorus)

Love has my life; my job has the rest.
I married my wife not a time clock or desk.
Tuck them in at night; they're the reason I'm blest.
Love has my life; my job has the rest.

The sweetest lessons my parents taught
Is that true blessing can never be bought.
Your job's just the dressing that lays there on top
To season the family feast.

(Chorus)

Let love have your life; your job have the rest
Be you husband or wife, behind a wheel or a desk
You are the light in which children see best.
Let love have your life; your job have the rest.


'Til The Terrors Are Done

They've all gone to sleep and left me alone
To hear the house creak and outside the wind moan.
The harder I try the later it gets.
I don't want to cry but I'm scared and upset.
"Hey Dad, it's me. Were you awake too?
I can't get to sleep no matter what I do.
For a little while I thought you could tell me about
How Grandpa caught that big trophy trout.

"My ear is on fire, someone come quick!
The fever is higher; I'm woozy and sick.
When I swallow it hurts, when I cough I see stars.
I've soaked up my shirt and the chills are coming hard."
Then a creak of a bed; a thump on the floor
Something whispered is said, then he's outside my door.
A Lucky Strike lit blows warm on the pain
Tellin' stories he sits 'til I'm sleeping again.

(Chorus)
At the cusps of a fear, or with an ache in my ear
Or when self-doubts would rear up and run.
They would lead with their hearts, stayed up in the dark,
Kept me from fallin' apart til the terrors are done
There 'til the terrors are done.

"I'm stupid and slow, the worst in my class.
The test told me so, I just barely passed."
Then the story I wrote didn't follow the rules.
The teacher said in his note, I must work harder in school.
On the refrigerator near the grocery list
On my D- paper was my mom's asterisk
"I loved every word, you got something to say.
That man is absurd, I'd have given you an 'A'!"

(Chorus)


Snowday!

First there is the rumor as you're heading home from school.
Somebody thought they heard somebody say
Too soon to get excited, disappointment is so cruel,
But there just might be some snow on the way.
So you fight the big temptation to start making your plans
Forget about it just let the dumb thing lay.
But unbidden speculations congregate in your heartland
Oh please can we have a snowday.

SNOWDAY. It's the topic of your prayer as you're there down on your knees.
SNOWDAY. All you ask of the One up there. "Kind Shepherd give an ear to Your sheep."
You'd not presume to tell a Pro, how much it ought to snow
But oh Lord, could it go a couple feet.

In the middle of the night you wake up from a dream,
A fantasy of blizzards and winds that howl.
But reality is often first heard before it's seen.
So you listen for the sound of a snowplow.
Stumbling to the window, you look out on the lawn.
It's blowin', but just a dusting coming down.
The clock says 5:09; still an hour before dawn.
Come on; let's get some white stuff on the ground.

SNOWDAY. I really need it bad. I got three tests and a lab report that's due.
SNOWDAY. It sure would make me glad, if this one and only dream could come true.
It's not a big request. It'll help me do my best.
With another day of rest. I'm begging You!

Somewhere in the house the radio goes on.
Like waiting on death row for the Governor's call.
The list of cancellations is half an hour long.
And so far a certain school hasn't been mentioned at all.
Then the Warden and the Chaplain come to your bedside.
It's time to face the music child, now don't resist.
Then the DJ interrupts a song to sheepishly confide
That there's one more school he's adding to the list.

SNOWDAY. Its music to your ears. All your doubts and fears have come to an end.
SNOWDAY. Reprieve is finally here. Across the town are cheers from the condemned.
Then your alarm clock rings. Your mother yells something.
This just can't be happening...(Too Cruel)

SNOWDAY. The best day of the year, a vision that appears when it's cold.
SNOWDAY. It really is quite clear. Everybody needs a snowday, young and old
To chase the blues away, bring sunshine to the gray. I recommend a snow day...let it snow.


Tippy, My Good Dog, Gone!  (Listen)

Some dogs know the moment they're home.
Tippy ate down the road, but it was our house she owned.
Knew my voice in a crowd, which school bus I was on.
Wore a path down, across our front lawn.

I remember the day her owners called up.
Said come down and play with our new rabbit hound pup.
She almost smiled in a way, then ran straight to my cuffs.
What can I say, it was love sure enough.

Soon she was sitting there at our front door.
From dawn's early air till she heard the house snore.
"She can't come in here," were house rules we ignored.
'Cause one shivering stare, bought a space on the floor.

(Chorus)

Oh what a good dog, though for years she's been gone.
She was Tippy my good dog. Dog gone.

Now she liked to hear the sound of her voice.
Her echo came clear out on the back porch.
Noon siren she cheered, and fire trucks, of course.
Day's end she'd be there, happy and hoarse.

A beagle half-breed she loved to be close.
She'd sit next to me like it was her special post.
I'd rub her tummy till she was near comatose.
Then out of a dream she'd ruff at a ghost.

A hunter no good, she had too much to say
Laughing, rabbits would run the other way
She never really could separate her work from her play.
But she was good dog, a good dog anyway.

(Chorus)
As I grew to teenage, Tippy grew old.
Time turns the page, new chapters unfold.
She was sick for some days, they had to do it, I'm told.
There were tears on my face and in my heart was a hole.

Yeah, some dogs know the moment they're home.
Tippy ate down the road but it was our house she owned.
Knew my voice in a crowd, which school bus I was on,
Wore a path down across our front lawn.

Oh what a good dog, though for years she's been gone, gone, gone.
She was Tippy my good dog. Dog gone.


Hayin'

In the high meadow the long grass is bending
The breath of God drying its tears.
Now with the grain in the silo and summer descending
The first of the hayin's here.

Max does the mowing, quiet and careful
As row after row topples down.
And after that comes the rolling while frantic and fearful
The wee critters scoot under ground.

The tractors tuned, the bailer is barkin'
The laborers lie in the shade.
Then just after noon the job gets started
No time to kill, a barn to fill,
The weather will not wait.

Charlie is working out there on the wagon
George and I back in the barn.
Two hours in like a curtain the sky starts a saggin'
As thunderheads rush on the farm.

Max speeds it up as the crows commence cawin'
The sky turns dismal and dark.
Rain on the crops turns the hay into straw
And that's how the winter debt starts.

One load to go the wind starts weepin'
The leaves turn their back and run scared.
Just one more row, the clouds are seepin'
Then race it in, the flood begins,
This time we win...by a hair.

After unloading on the porch eating ice cream
The tempest's last tantrum gives way.
No one is boasting just thankful the sky seemed
To wait till we brought in the hay.


Humphrey Too Listen

When I was a lad my family had a castle by the sea
Once each year we'd go down there returning royalty.
Oh my, the bluebird sky above an azure bay
Arrive at noon, pick out our rooms then each go our own way.

It was a clapboard cape that slept eight with a view out to the Sound.
Musty halls, paneled walls and a porch that wrapped around.
A lawn of laughs, barefoot paths to beaches by the score,
For a week away we made the trade of suburbs for the shore.

The first few days my dad would graze for sandworms on the bar.
Then with oars for noise he'd take the boys out deep but not too far.
Good night how the porgies fight and sparkle on the waves.
We'd bob and ride a swelling tide and fish the day away.

(Chorus)

La da...

Mom would land on the simmering sand as morning clouds recede.
Umbrella shade, she'd swim and play, with a bag of books to read.
Daughter talks, beachcombing walks for colored glass and shells.
Then yell at the men as we're rowing in, "You'll clean those fish yourselves!"

About midweek a horn would beep, my two aunts had arrived.
Single folks, menthol smokes, opposites in life.
One read, one swam, without a man you have things your own way.
But their pocketbooks found ice cream trucks for each kid everyday.

The last full day dad slipped away and we all knew to where.
Like giant bugs, in washing tubs, the lobsters were prepared.
Cobs of corn, bibs were worn, butter on the chin.
A final feast to cap the week..."Can we do this again?"

(Chorus)

La da...

The day we leave, we start to grieve just getting out of bed.
Clean our rooms, in a growing gloom, walk to the water's edge.
With every year, a bigger fear, this one could be the last.
But the car is packed, we're whistled back as the present leaves the past.

(Chorus)


The Boys Are Back

Jimmy lives across the road, he's older by two years.
But with our little guys a world unfold, decades away from here.
Beneath the porch, a GI force fights the foreign foe.
He's in my sister's class but while the weekend lasts
We're soldiers down below.

(Chorus)

That's cause the boys are back; it's Saturday.
The boys are back; it's 1958.

Phil lives farther up the street, a triangle calls him home.
The power lines are where we meet, Smith Farm where we roam.
We hunt for squirrels, scout out woodchuck burrows, camp beneath the stars.
Once we flipped a canoe, with his dad in full view
'Bout stopped that poor man's heart.

(Chorus)

The boys are back; where is my knife and gun?
The boys are back; it's 1961.

Ricky lives down by the river in an apartment with his mom.
That boy's as skinny as a sliver, blue eyes, hair straight blond.
On the trestle track we smoke a pack, we cuss and talk of girls.
Fill jars with gas and watch 'em blast
On the pilings where they're hurled.

(Chorus)

The boys are back. Don't you mess with me!
Yes, the boys are back; it's 1963.

Dennis lives across town; he's Irish Catholic, just like me.
We talk a lot; we walk around we drink our share of tea.
He writes some poems, I write some songs. We court the same sad muse.
And in between, we swap some dreams
Wear Dylan boots instead of shoes.

(Chorus)

The boys are back, and words have come alive.
The boys are back; it's 1965.

Jimmy is a CPA, lives somewhere in the South.
Phil's a forester today, pine trees around his house.
Don't have a clue where Rick got to, but Den and I still talk
And raise a toast to childhood ghosts
That now and then we'll stalk.

(Chorus)

The boys are back; they've been away.
But the boys are back, and in here they're gonna stay.


Why, That Was You

Why that was you in the gone by days
As the pond side talked in tanager praise
Skimming rocks across the water's face
Mom and I walking down in the glade
October hawks their cries cut through
I should have know...
Why, that was you when the dark would dread
Up all night long by my old spool bed
Singing me songs that are ghosts in my head
Hot chocolate, warm Marmalade bread
Those times are gone but their memories renew
I should have know that was you.

Do you still walk around in disquise?
Peek out from behind a mother's eyes?
Speak with a gigle, weep with a sigh?
Take a breath away with a sundaown sky?

Why that was you in the fun we found
Shooting hoops or just tossing it around
In our bathing suits as the freckles turn brown
Or lacing up the boots then toboggans racing down
In cahoots with the joys we knew
I might have known....
That was you up on the farm
Sunburned back, ache in the arms
Bales to stack in a windless warm
Thunder smacks and we race it home
A joke is cracked when the work days through
I might have known, that was you.

Do you still green an April yard?
Line a hospital room in get-well cards?
Treasure what this old world discards?
Turn a heart to flesh that's been stone hard?

Why, that was you when running wild
Forgiveness called this willful child
And as I'd fall flush with denial
Back to the wall your mercy smiled
It is, after all, the thing you do
Of course it was, that was you.

Do you still cologne the morn with dew?
Save this world with a baby's coo?
And though my faults are far from few?
Do you still ask your dad to forgive what i do?

In most things I don't have a clue
But this much I know, that was you.


The Harbor

Dad's heart was kind though tears would collect inside a mind that held emotions suspect.
He was gentle, sublime, the first hand on the deck
But he had no permission to cry.
Faith was a birthright, not questioned or cursed.
A cloak for a cold night, a part to rehearse.
Though conviction was slight,
A soul could do worse than to trust the ancestral sighs.

Mom's heart had broken before falling in love. Her soul joints swollen from a much older shove.
The stain of it soaked in no matter how hard she'd rub,
Like a birthmark of sorrow and shame.
Faith was a lifeline attached to a kite that sailed above time
Gave her hope in its flight.
The sacraments, mealtime and she savored each bite,
Like an orphan come in from the rain.

(Chorus)

There in the harbor, safe from the gale
Empty of cargo, pulled in of sails
They tipped aft to starboard as the four winds wailed
But there in the harbor they were safe from the gale.

Their union was holy, human and hard, like a cure that can only heal as it scars.
Love flowered slowly to four kids in the yard
And a home of gregarious grace.
Their faith was commanded to a conscription of souls,
Who chaffed at its mandates, ran away from the fold.
But though the form was abandoned,
A hope did take hold that smiles out from every child's face.

I've been sailing for years thinking Jonah was right, collecting my tears, heart broken at night,
But as each port appears I keep looking for kites
While whispering a prodigal's prayer.
Though I've traveled much farther,
I'm not sure where I've been.
I find I long for the harbor my parents moored in.
For the winds they blow harder as this journey ends
The winds blow harder out here.

(Chorus)

There in the harbor, safe from the gale
Empty of cargo, pulled in of sails
They tipped aft to starboard as the four winds wailed
But there in the harbor they were safe from the gale.


Call Me When You Get There

The first long trip alone I made when barely ten years old.
Road a "gray dog" one late winter day till the sun was low and cold.
Momma made a lunch and snacks. Bought a pencil and a pad.
Packed them in my green knapsack with a little note that read:

Call me when you get there. Let it ring a couple times.
'Cause you know me. That I'll fret, dear. Till I know that you are fine.

Growing up I was gone a lot. Many nights away from home.
Sometimes it was a nearby spot. Sometimes the world I roamed.
As I'd leave she'd call my name. Get up close so she was heard.
In her tiny voice proclaim those now familiar words:

Call me when you get there. Let it ring a couple times.
'Cause you know me. That I'll fret, dear. Till I know that you are fine.

A smile, a wink, a lifetime blinks. Dad died, she lived alone.
A laugh, a sigh, a call to say "Hi", from her room at the senior home.

One last long trip alone I made, the night my mother died.
Her breathing short, her face so gray, no soul kiss from her eyes.
"She still might hear," a kind nurses said. "Speak slow and get down near."
Just one thought was in my head, so I whispered in her ear:

Call me when you get there. Let it ring a couple times.
'Cause you know me. That I'll fret, dear. Till I know that you are fine.

After the graveside grieving came home feeling sad and small,
The telephone was ringing. Once, twice, and that was all.