Canoe Songs

page 2


Seeds

Tune: “Green Grow the Lilacs”
From Poem “On Favoured Ground”

           G
At the edge of the lake tall aspens blow
                                          C
Stealing the light from the weeds just below
G                             G7            C
Each lives or dies the best that it can
D7                     G            (Am)      D7   G
A life lived by chance and a life without plan

Dandelions in the clearing toss seeds to the winds
Each seed floating blindly as its journey begins
A toss of the dice – soil, rock, or sand
No choice at all where it might land

I came to a campsite, by canoe and with map
Lay myself down for an afternoon nap
Saw a seed drifting, as lonesome as me
Just as lonesome, but not quite as free

‘Cause I like to think I’m an organized man
And don’t go canoeing without a good plan
I’ve thought out each portage and checked out each lake
Considered each ounce of the stuff that I take

Late that evening in a quickening wind
I watched from my tent as thunder rolled in
Each flash of the light from out of the sky
Nowhere to hide for this wondering guy


And sometimes I think, when I’ve finished a route
If ever I bothered to puzzle it out
This September canoeist might seem, at best
Just one more seed, not quite at rest

For flowers of summer toss seeds to the winds
Much the same way my journey begins
River to portage then down to some lake
Not knowing the why of the plans that I make

Yes sometimes I feel, when I’ve finished my route
If ever I bothered to think it all out
This wandering paddler might seem, at best
Just one more seed, not quite at rest


Night, Fire and Spark

Tune: The Leaving of Liverpool.
From the Poems “Come and Share” and Primal Scream”

G                             C                  G
There’s a chill that reaches to the bones
                                      D
As evening skies grow dark
        G                     C              G
And shadows grow among the trees
                  D              G
And reach across the park

Chorus
You are flame, I am spark
And in the velvet night
In torch and touch and sudden flame
We find, then hold on tight

Come and spend this night with me
There’s ashes on the wind
In our tiny tent, we'll find
Where love and time begin

Darkness changes everything
It brings new rules and laws
Enforced by stealth and silence
With teeth and ivory claws

Come and spent the night with me
We’ll listen to the dark
Beneath the vault of endless sky

For you are flame, I am spark
In the night's shadow world
In its endless deep
We hide by fire, and hope
We can escape in sleep.

But the tent it trembles in the wind
And we shift in dreams
Half thinking that we caught the sound
Of some primal scream

Come and spend this night with me
There’s ashes on the wind
In our tiny tent, we'll find
Where love and time begin

Chorus

And I am flame, you are spark
And in the velvet night
In torch and touch and sudden flame
We find, then hold on tight


Summer Song

From the Poems “Downwind Dance” & “Little Waves"
Tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, slowly, without the chorus.

G              
To the downwind dance and cabaret of water, wind, and sky
                            C                                                    G
To the sunshine ballroom of the lake came my canoe and I
               
So many lakes, so many lakes beneath the summer skies
                                               C             D7    G 
So many lakes, so many lakes, but oh! so few Julys

We waltzed on tumbling whitecap wave, bobbled past shoreline tree
Pirouetted when an island swell whirled it to its lee
So many lakes, so many lakes beneath these summer skies
So many lakes, so many lakes, but oh! so few Julys

To the great applause of aspen leaf we rolled to granite shore
Quickly bowed then made our way out the portage door
Another lake, another lake, beneath this summer sky
Another lake, another lake, another brave July

Little waves like the passing days slid by my canoe
I was part of lake and sun and the summer too
Now I find what is, is just part of what is true
I love those brave Julys

The wise canoeist paddles on for the wise canoeist knows
That this land will soon be deep in winter snows
Too many lakes, too many lakes beneath the summer skies
The months and years like little waves go slowly drifting by

To the downwind dance and cabaret of water, wind, and sky
To the sunshine ballroom of the lake came my canoe and I
So many lakes, so many lakes beneath the summer skies
So many lakes, so many lakes, but oh! so few Julys


November Song

Tune: “Ye Banks and Braes o Bonny Doon”
From poem, “Too Early the Wind is Dancing with the Night”

         G          D        G         D
The wind is dancing with the night
     G         C            G                   D
The canoe outside is wrapped and still
         G      D         G               D
By nine the rain is dressed in white
     G            C             D7     G
And waltzes on the darkened hill.

Chorus 1
G                   Bm          G       Bm
In November I put my things away
 D                Bm         Em            D7
Canoe and paddles, packs and tent
G           D7              G        Am
I gather memories at end of day
        Bm         C                        G
And wonder where the season went.

In the basement, paddles varnished now
Reflect the gathered summer gear
The packs are hung, the shelves collect
The sorted flotsam of the year.

In November I put my stuff away
Canoe and paddles, packs and tent
Lake and river, quiet bay –
I wonder what the season meant.

November dances with the year
Trees surrender to the snow
Winter’s lovely, but I fear
I hate to see the season go.

In November I put the gear behind
Canoe and paddles, packs and tent
I sort my memories in my mind
And wonder where the season went.


 

Love in a Canoe

Tune: “Crawdad Song”.
From the Poem “I Have Longed for You”

D
On a little river I longed for you, in our canoe
                                                             A7
On a little river I longed for you, in our canoe
D                      D7                   A7
On a little river I sang for you, kingbird in the maple, too
               D7              A7     D
We were young with our canoe

Sun above us hot and bright, above our canoe
Sun above us hot and bright, above our canoe
Sun above burning white: resting in the shade seems right
Haul in our canoe

Oh, the risks that lovers take when they canoe
Oh, the risks that lovers take when they canoe
Chances circumstances make; lying in the shade awake
Beside our canoe

Scattered seed of summer blows,  past our canoe
Scattered seed of summer blows,  past our canoe
Scattered seed of summer blows, learning now what nature knows
As we canoe.


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