Songs and Words in Songs

Have you seen the Freakonomics Blegs series? It’s fun. Great lines in movies, things like that. I gather that  bleg is a contraction for blogging and begging, a play on words related to asking readers for contributions.

It made me think of some great lines in songs. Some of these are pure poetry. Or so it sees to me.

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

I’d trade all of my tomorrows for a single yesterday

Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobbie McGee

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

The last time I felt like this I was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire

and I stood on the mountain in the night and I watched it burn

Emmy Lou Harris, Boulder to Birmingham

You of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by. So help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die. Teach your parents well, their childrens’ hell will slowly go by. And feed them on your dreams.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Teach Your Children

because the cops don’t need you, and man they expect the same

Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand, and rivers that ran through every day. I must have been mad, I never knew what I had until I threw it all away.

Bob Dylan, I Threw it All Away

Cowboys like smoky old poolrooms and clear mountain mornings

Patsy and Ed Bruce, Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys

I married her because she looks like you

Lyle Lovett, I Married Her Because She Looks Like You

Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance

Paul Simon, Train in the Distance

Why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard

Paul Simon, You Can Call Me Al

All I ever had: Redemption songs: These songs of freedom

Bob Marley, Redemption Songs

In the end, only kindness matters

Jewel, Hands

And, if you happen to speak (or read) Spanish, how about these:

Simon Blanco tuvo suerte. De tres balas que le dieron, solo una fue de muerte.

Anonymous corrido, Simon Blanco

Yo soy como el chile verde, picante pero sabroso

Anonymous, la Llorona

Moonlight on Granite

High mountain near midnight bright moonlight outside the tent

and cold, and almost barefoot, but I was out there and I stopped,

suddenly, stopped,

cold, and looked at the landscape.

Moonlight on granite.

The granite held it all steady and solid:

mountain lake and the lakeside meadow, the peak above it,

and the rockstrewn snowpatched cliffs between.

But the moonlight made it magic — crystal, sparkled, rock-flecked magic.

The rock, like solid time, relentless …

draped in a silver moonlight as equally unreal as rock is real. my people asleep in the tent in the meadow.

The slopes, the pass, the peak, everything there rested on granite.

Think about solid rock, miles deep, mountains made of it, that’s the granite.