Crooked Path Song and Story
From A Song To Deliver
Artwork by Gail Bradshaw
The Lyrics Would you lie with me tonight? I've healed my broken wings, But I will not take flight. Would you lie with me tonight? I am naked, And the world is flowing through me. Lay your head next to mine, I am dreaming, And the shapes Drift North and West Through fine swirling snowflakes. There are wolves in the forest, With their own loves, And their own sorrows. We walk the same crooked path Out of the same distant past, Wait through the same dark night 'til tomorrow. Would you link worlds in this darkness? Your love has me awake, But between us is a universe of silence we must cross. But, oh, if you listen, the pine trees surround us With their sighing and their crying. We share the same frozen earth. We know the same Summer thirst. Pass through the same clear light In dying. There are stars in the night sky. And they know shining. And they know falling. We spin the same crystal spheres. We live the same numbered years. Though for the stars the years are longer, Their light burns no stronger Than the sparks we have struck With our laughter and our tears, Right here. Right here. So would you lie with me tonight? I've healed my broken wings, But I shall not take flight. The Story
I wrote Crooked Path when I was 22, living alone in an old farmhouse, trying to learn to read music. Fifty-two years later, I found it again and recorded it.
There were many animals in the woods around our farm.
The wolves make an appearance in the song, but the owls did not, so here is a story with an owl, which recounts an experience and maybe a dream I had one cold night around the time I wrote the song.
I often snowshoed out into the woods, following the great horned owls as they roamed Emily Township.
One morning, after a wild night of wind and snow, I opened the back door to fetch some wood and found a huge great horned owl dead on the path.
Perhaps it was the owl I had been following for weeks who had come seeking shelter, or to warn me of the dangers of living alone.
He gave off a powerful odour of skunk.
I fired up the massive Findlay wood stove, heated a few gallons of musty cistern water in the tank attached to the side of the stove, and took a bath.
That night I had the dream.
Sometime later I wrote the song.
The Story Narration:
As I lay alone in the thick night air, Flat back, No hat, The West wind howled and my soul slipped out a crack in my neck. Bye bye soul I whispered, But my soul clung to the ceiling and I closed my eyes and slept. My soul returned, at sunrise, Just in time for me to light the stove, And play some Bach. Maybe I will write a song. Oh soul, where did you go What did you see, O soul? Dead people everywhere, or flocks of the unborn? Cattle on the pampas? Warriors on the run? Vast clouds of stars? Was Jesus there, laughing with the Apostles? Or perhaps Homer, in his little boat? I watched the elms on the horizon, As the morning sky pinkened up, Holding my cracked mug of oolong, And thought: “Too many questions” and yawned. My soul jumped back in and was swallowed. We passed the day in happy union, and at dusk, strode out to the tall maples to watch the owls hunt. Are owls souls? We found the imprint of powerful wings on the fresh snow, small spatters of blood from the vole struck dead and carried off by the mighty talons. Is a vole a soul? Does Jesus laugh with the Apostles as the reddened snow is washed white by the Winter rain, Singing of owls and voles, of warriors and cattle, of the dead and the unborn? Does Homer row or sail? Too many questions, the day is over, and I must lie down again in the thick night air. Dark. Silent. Alone. Bye bye, soul, I whisper. Bye bye.
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