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Lay for the Day12th March

1955, New York City: Charlie Parker died laughing at the age of 34. The doctor who examined his body estimated his age as between 50 and 60.


In the West

Add what belongs to you
Minus wrongs done to you,
You’ll find you haven’t much choice left.
You’re able to stand,
You’ve got one good right hand
And the smoking remains of a voice left.

You started out young,
Your foot on the first rung,
Your head in a cloudscape of glory.
You put your time in,
Kept smiling and climbing
On into the uppermost storey.

I know you’re ready to rest.
Believe me, though, you’re still the best.
You know I’d believe if you said
Tomorrow the sun will arise
In the west,
In the west.

Darkness accumulates
Over the pearly gates,
There is no time for wrong turnings.
One little step more
To that great golden doorway
Beyond which lie all of our yearnings.

See, kid, you’re a liar
Because that sacred fire
Was extinguished before you came on the scene.
There’s just ashes and dust
In this heart that you trust
And I’m not even half who I have been.

It’s not like when I was a lad.
Now this world seems weary and sad
And I’ll never get back home unless
Tomorrow the sun should arise
In the west,
In the west.

So lend me a hand, son,
Into that bright mansion
And you take my crown if you care to.
It’s not gold, it’s lead,
And once it’s on your head,
Well, you think you wear it, but it wears you.

See now, I’m slipping away
With one final brilliant ray
And no one knows what happens next.
Tomorrow the sun may arise
In the west,
In the west,
In the west.

 
Words and music by The Children
from Love Walk

 

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar

 

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