Testament

Testament

In memoriam Boris Pasternak

All night long I read your testament

And I felt my soul returning

Fevered again with that high malady

The storm, the salt, the yearning

I was standing in the vestibule

Of the dark woods' deep unknowing

When by the grave at Peredelkino

I saw the candle glowing


(Chorus)

My sister, my sister, life is calling

My sister, my sister, life is here

We look outside the window where the snow is falling

And we say to the children, what century is it out there?


The music played, I don't know what it was

It seemed to rise inside her breathing

We draped our clothes, wet from the river bank

'Cross the rafters in the ceiling

They hung like angels come to warm themselves

'Gainst the chill of starry heaven

The room dissolved into another realm

Where none refuse what earth has given


(Chorus)


Well it's a power that cannot force its way

It must be felt in its diffusion

Like a wave dispersing into spray

Like the spring in its profusion

The crowd grows still, I step onto the stage

Catch the echoes from the future

I'll play the role that's written on the page

Till it becomes a second nature


(Chorus)

Don't Get on the Train

The train has pulled into the station

It's putting out a poison steam

The cloud is rolling 'cross the platform

It's like you're moving in a fever dream

You can hear the conductor calling

He's calling you by name

But if you take that ticket, friend

You'll never be the same


(Chorus)

Don't get on the train, no

Don't get on the train

It ain't going where you want to go 

So don't get on the train


Well the dining car is fancy

From the outside looking in

It's all carpet and curtains and brass and gold

Fine ladies and gentlemen

But the driver's got a body of iron

And the head of a crocodile

He'll be chewing on your spiritual innards

From here to the river Nile


(Chorus)


In the first-class carriage there's people

Who look a whole lot like you

They smile when they see you coming

Ain't no favor that they wouldn't do

But they give you rot-gut whiskey

Stewed from the water of graves

That burst their sides when Gabriel blowed his horn

And couldn't find a soul to save


(Chorus)


Well sister I know you need to leave here

And find a place where you can grow

Brother I know that you're seeking

Some people more simpatico

But it's just a one-way journey

On that beast of a machine

You'll be better off taking the backroads down

In the dirt that'll keep you clean


(Chorus) 

Scarlet Gown

Give me your cast-off cigarette

The one your lips pressed on

Give me the glass that you left behind

Streaked with the traces of dawn

Give me the scrap of your scarlet gown

Whose hem tore when you slammed the door

Give me the ghost of your body and soul

That I'll never hold any more

Give me the light of the summer stars

That bathed us in your father's barn

Give me the fire of the horses below 

As they stirred at the approach of the storm

Give me the scent of the pouring rain

That flavored the taste of your kiss

Give me the moment of ignorance

That I could ever lose something like this

(Chorus)

I'll take whatever I can get

From the wreckage of a love that's burned down

If it's just your cast-off cigarette

Or a scrap of your scarlet gown

Give me the road that we walked down

Before it forked to a future of pain

Give me the mist that clung to our skin

And the wind with its wordless refrain

Give me the smudge of mascara 

That the night left beneath your dark eyes

Give me the world that you tore away

When you shrugged and said your goodbyes

(Chorus)

Shifting Sands

Every day I wake up in a different place

Lying in the same old bed

Every glass I pass shows me a different face

Stuck on the same old head

Every thing I think is with a different mind

Than the one I had the night before

Every day I step into a different world

Walking through the same old door

From moment to moment

You know the sands will shift

At the slightest mental breeze

One minute is filled with wonder and joy

The next with a queasy unease

I used to pray that I would be made whole

Made perfect, untroubled, complete

But now I know that the human soul

Is just a tumbleweed, a-tumbling 

Down the street

One day I know she's going to run away

And find herself a singular man

Someone who ain't just some kind of haint

Trying to take any shape he can

And when she's gone you know it won't be long

Till what's left of me is scattered in the wind

Drifting here and there and just anywhere

Never to be gathered up again

Sally's on the River

Sally's on the river,

On the river once again

She's going down to Vicksburg

To see her special friend

Oh Sally, oh Sally

Where's this gonna end?

Mary's on the river

She's coming to the shore

She'll be here till the evening

Then she won't be here no more

Oh Mary, oh Mary

I can't help it that I'm poor

I followed this old river

Until I lost my way

I know it's going to kill me

If I go or if I stay

I've been on the river

Since back in '33

That's when my first love left me

For a man in Tennessee

Oh darling, oh my darling

Do you ever think of me?

Give me understanding

Go easy on my soul

One day you might be broken

And left out in the cold

Oh Sally, oh Mary

Oh my darling, my sweet lost darling

Can the river take me home?

Mystic Cord

Late one night the wind was blowing

Like an ocean through the trees

The air was charged with fearsome presence

And it drove me to my knees

I hugged the earth like Karamazov

And my tears bedewed the grass

I could feel the planet tremble

In my arms as he went past

(Chorus)

I was born to preach the gospel

I was born to praise the Lord

But he filled my mouth with silence

And he cut the mystic cord

In those days existence sparkled

A million diamonds filled the air

With every breath I drank in wonder

Saw secret wisdom everywhere

'Go seek the truth!' the Lord commanded

But the truth tore through the veil

Of the mystery and the meaning

Where my soul had sweetly dwelled

(Chorus)


Then there came the dreadful knowing

Of evil that is here

Interlaced with all the beauty

Co-created in one sphere

Now the doomsday book is written

And it's filled with human smoke

The heart is bitterly divided

Beyond belief, beyond all hope

(Chorus)

Now I'll live with what he's left me

These tangled weeds of thorn and briar

In the dark and empty desert

Where no voice calls from the fire

(Chorus)

Sugar Water

All night long we drank sugar water

Trying to keep the heat at bay

I was poor, she was a poor man's daughter

But we weren't too poor to play

We couldn't buy wine, we couldn't buy beer

Even Drag Donald's mash was a little too dear

So we just laid back with that sugar water

And we let the night roll on

It was late July, dry as a bone

Dust laying heavy on the fields

She'd sneak out of her unhappy home

And meet me by the water mill

She'd steal a little sugar, I'd bring a little cup

And when the sun went down we'd stir it all up

Yeah we just laid back with that sugar water

And we let the night roll on

(Chorus)

She's taking down her hair, slipping off her shoes

She's dancing to the rhythm of the midnight blues

The sugar and the sweat, trailing down her skin

You know it hit me harder than bath-tub gin – all right!

Time goes by, the world moves on

Age comes creeping up behind

The creek's been dammed, the water mill's gone

Ain't nobody pays the slightest mind

That poor man's daughter is a rich man's wife

She danced away from me into a whole other life

But I just keep tasting that sugar water

When we let the night roll on

(Chorus)

Light of the Crown

I started out as a preacher

I was on fire for the Lord

But I found a new way of burning

Down where the whiskey is poured


That's where I met Margarita

A sad and a sweet broken soul

She could dance like the Queen of Sheba

And wail with a grief dark as coal

(Chorus)

We took the wrong road down, boys

We took the wrong road down

We took the wrong road down, boys

We took the wrong road down

One night I told Margarita

We got to get out of this town

And go where the whiskey can't follow

Before we're pulled under and drown

She looked at me with the brightness

You sometimes see at the end

She said the lover you took me away from

Came back and claimed me again

She opened the front of her bodice

She showed me the wound in her breast

She died in my arms like an angel

Cast out of the realm of the blessed

(Chorus)

Now I just drift and I wander

I sleep in the streets and the fields

And if somebody gives me some whiskey

I ascend to God's holy hill

I know the devil will catch me

I know he'll drag me down

But tonight I'm almost in glory

I can see the light of the crown

(Chorus)

Take this Stone

We knew peace, but we'll know peace no more

We knew strife, and there is strife yet in store

We knew blood, that dread word, would find its way to our door

We knew peace, but we'll know peace no more

Hear me Lord, from the mouth of the grave

Hear me Lord, with this voice that you gave

Hear me Lord, note by note, tone by tone, stave by stave

Hear me Lord, from the mouth of the grave

Lay it down, let it go and be free

Your one task on this earth is to be

Any power that you seek will only leave you blind and weak

Lay it down, let it go and be free

Take this stone from my hand, it's for you

Ocean-glazed, shiny-smooth, deepest blue

All it holds is the soul of the world made anew

Take this stone from my hand, it's for you

Take this stone from my hand, it's for you

Down Cana Way

Well, he went to a wedding down Cana way

(Jesus turned the water into wine)

To bless the marriage bed and hear the music play

(Jesus turned the water into wine)


They made a joyful noise till the grape was gone

(Jesus turned the water into wine)

He said 'Draw up from the well, and let's carry on!'

(Jesus turned the water into wine)

(Chorus)

Oh Jesus turned the water into wine, wine, wine

Jesus turned the water into wine

I guess he thought a little alcohol was fine

Jesus turned the water into wine

You know them revels lasted till the sun came up

(Jesus turned the water into wine)

They hailed the consummation with the loving cup

(Jesus turned the water into wine)

(Chorus)

Come on pretty baby take a sip of this

(Jesus turned the water into wine)

He blesses every bottle, blesses every kiss

(Jesus turned the water into wine)

(Chorus)

All songs © Chris Floyd