Jack Hardy — Lyrics for Noir

Copyright © 2007 Jack Hardy Music

  1. Memphis
  2. Uley Mill Song
  3. Breakout
  4. The Lady Turned Away
  5. The Ladies of Cork
  6. The Dust of Africa
  7. Winter Sunlight
  8. In Memory of Federico Garcia Lorca
  9. Empires
  10. London Town
  11. Dig a Hole to China
  12. Saint Clare

Memphis

Twenty naked women painted on the ceiling
even inclement weather has style in this town
mirroring my feelings this ornate oracle
elements of stories evidence of miracles
on the table by the door

who am I gonna pray to, what trickster of a god
as I lift mine eyes unto the hills and try and lift the logic
from androdgenistic lust not noticing the rust
trusting in the miracle try to manifest a miracle
with a sparerib in my hand

One more naked woman painted in a corner
soft skin of Memphis moonlight, cryptic letters on the door
grateful to what deity has given me my voice
and left me speechless turned a salty pillar
by a burning bush

who am I gonna pray to, what trickster of a god
as I lift mine unto the hills and try and lift disguises
from androdgenistic lust trying not to notice
you did not stay till morning to manifest a miracle
ribs and burning bush, soft skin of Memphis moonlight
painted on the ceiling and the table by the door

Uley Mill Song

I left Ireland long ago
to work the mills in the Cotswolds
so Nelson's tars and Wellington's guards
could fight the tyrant Bonaparte

every day I walked to work
down past the pub and the Norman church
I saw the light up in your room
and through the day I thought of you

for fourteen hours we toiled in gloom
the water powered the broadcloth looms
we dyed our wool a deep woad blue
far deeper still are the eyes of you

one market day you caught my eye
and for a moment even smiled
but for that moment I scrimped and saved
and dreamed how we would fly away

but now they're all for steam and coal
the millwork's moving to the north
they cut our wages to the bone
and with my brogue I was the first let go

I walk down the Owlpen road
past manor houses locked and sold
stopped by the Old Crown for one last pint
had not the heart to say goodbye

Breakout

staring out the dirty window
equations
yellow wax on linoleum
brittle voices
chalk dust
the white cliffs of Dover
concrete and abstract

battle of Britain
airwaves
statistics
molecules
German beetles
Can't buy me love
not payin' attention

breakout

writing in margins
dissection
diagramming
good poetry
garrets and gables
a certain slant of light
dust motes distraction

breakout
breakout
the door the hall
the spring has fallen prey
breakout
breakout
the spring has sprung
release me sweet release
sweet release

The Lady Turned Away

and the lady turned away
I could not follow after
nothing more to say
nothing more to ask her
frozen in a play
'tween the sorrow and the laughter
all answers on display
with your happily ever after

and the lady turned away
and took the morning with her
if she had come to stay
she'd have found her heart I am sure
her regal distance cost me
far more than I could spend
a thousand broken promises
I could never mend

(chorus:)
I know who you were
and I know where you've been
I know who you loved
and who you left and when
I know how you've been hurt
and the story of each scar
when all I want to know
is who you are who you are
now

and the lady turned away
hair matting in the tears
you said you think you love me
you think too much my dear
can't will it into being
or will it out damn spot
you cannot stop an arrow
that already has been shot

(repeat chorus)

and the lady turned away
at the very point of wonder
it's the present god damn it
it's not the morning after
it's a long way to fly
just to fly away
I wont let you turn this moment
into another yesterday

(repeat chorus)

The Ladies of Cork

all the ladies of Cork are my friends
if I ever just come back again
so says Padraig a compadre of mine
he means well but he might be lying

(chorus:)
all the ladies fair and blond
with their gingham dresses on
all the ladies dark
with eyes that pierce the heart
in red this time
this poor heart of mine

all the ladies of Cork are aroused
by the tale of a desolate house
and the man who stands in the door
who's the woman that he's waiting for

(repeat chorus)

all the ladies of Cork are amused
by the temptation of a man confused
who thought that he'd done everything right
only to find he's put out in the night

(repeat chorus)

all the ladies of Cork are in love
with this man from New York they're in love
so says Padraig about me concerned
but have they no more cities to burn

(repeat chorus)

The Dust of Africa

the dust of Africa is still in my throat
the dust of Africa is still in my throat
as I follow trucks on an unpaved road
many black-skinned men as part of the load
through the endless miles of the barren Caru
the diamond mines and the garden route
there is a wealth that's there which is never shared
and the women stand by the side of the road
and the children know what they are not told

the dust of Africa is still in my throat
as I climb this mount of ancient stone
and the cape the town that is spread beneath
cradle of our civilization's grief
and the bachelor and the bride to be
the purloined fruit from the garden of Eve
there is a banishment that goes unseen
that rocks the cradle that rocks the boat
the dust or Africa is still in my throat

the dust of Africa is still in my throat
in the airport lounge it is time to go
and the silent sound of the shanty town
is a powder keg and a thousand rounds
and the children of the Brits and of the Boers
are fighting over forgotten wars
and I'm puzzling over pieces that overlap
and a blond haired girl with a plane to catch
is asking me if I have a match

Winter Sunlight

winter sunlight on a red brick wall
caged bird singing across the hall
each of us feeling that we've missed a call
for reasons we remember this season

what a difference a year does make
red brick tile to cold blue slate
and all the ways that a heart can break
when nobody can offer a reason

(chorus:)
oh how the needle lies low
and holds against freezing
oh how the people I know
have chosen this season

it turned cold with a vengeance this year
spilling sunlight through a cracked mirror
on painted floors and the cheep veneer
of the desk where I shattered your picture

too many photo booths in train station bars
posing as heroes in some forgotten war
this is the first day of the rest of your life
so smile and take a picture

(repeat chorus)

some meet the devil and it changes their life
some meet his double and call it a wife
it's not that I'm against selling my soul
but he better make it worth my trouble

tenacious leaves clinging to that tree
flaunting their own infidelities
defying laws that would set them free
and leave me without a shadow

(repeat chorus)

In Memory of Federico Garcia Lorca

came to love those sad eyes
that could not hold their sorrow
looking out the window for hours
holding a cold cup of tea

came to love those sad eyes
that could not see beyond the pane
the reflection of the candle wax
melting into a sea

far away across the ocean
stones hold their history
the light and airy window sash
is the lie of poetry

the fascists came, a sudden thud
they overran Granada
books and papers on the floor
spectacles bent and broken

came to love those sad eyes
that held for us these memories
of the firing squad and the warm wind
blowing through the curtain cloth

Empires

they say that Rome wasn't built in a day
down down down
but somehow it certainly fell that way
down down down

fire is a hard lesson to learn
down down down
a few bricks left that didn't quite burn
down down down

  king George said "everything's for sale"
  mercenaries bought for a little bit of tail
  a little bit of gold or a "get out of jail"
  but the empire's going down

those who live by the sword die by the sword
down down down
whether or not they have faith in the lord
down down down

some have too much of what too many lack
down down down
you push too hard and they push back
down down down

  king George said "I'm not as nuts as I seem
  I might lose a colony but gain thirteen
  some day they'll do my fighting for me"
  as the empires going down

preacher blessed the heathen on the white house lawn
down down down
god said "man, you must be puttin' me on"
down down down

trying to hit the high notes with Francis Scott Key
down down down
while the white house burns in effigy
down down down

  king George said "I'm a down-home boy,
  jumpin' Jehovah and jumpin' for joy,
  barbeque and Barbie-doll toys"
  while the empire's going down

Genghis Kahn rode into history
down down down
but his sons carved up his destiny
down down down

Saladin united all the Arab lands
down down down
now we steal their oil and kick their sand
down down down

  king George said "I've got a plan:
  we'll build a wall around the promised land"
  but one in the bush just got out of hand
  and the empires going down

London Town

little bird that sings
spread your downy wings
fly away fly away
o'er the rolling downs
far from London town
fly across the sea
and there you will find
a girl who is blind
to the roar and the smells of this street
and she does not know
I have nothing to show
for the labors of my hands and my feet

(chorus:)
old love is sharp and young love is blind
and all love is colored by time
but the love in my heart is as clear and as fine
as the day I left love behind

climb the tallest hill
in the morning chill
haul away haul away
tall ships foreign bound
all their sails turned down
haul across the sea
some bound for Catalina
and some bound for china
some bound to the will of the wind
but the sound of my feet
pound this dark and dreary street
says that some ships are never coming in

(repeat chorus)

on the first of May
all the ladies gay
say it's a lie it's a lie
dressed in gorgeous lace
pressed in corset stays
say come and lie with me
and the drink and the seedy
strength of my weakness
is dark and abhorrent to me
and she does not know
of the depths that I go
with this fire that is raging in me

(repeat chorus)

Dig a Hole to China

don't I know it now with each day passed
each post- hole dug sunk in sound and fast
don't I know it now wooden bolt in the door
closed to that thief no reason anymore

(chorus:)
did a hole to china dig a hole in clay
dig so deep and final I finally could say
don't I know it now don't I know it now
don't I know it now

though you always told me I could never guess
I had anything to lose or confess
but don't the floorboards creak with each footfall
as I pace and turn my back to the wall

(repeat chorus)

where a daffodil is lost in the snow
it is hard to dig when the ground is so frozen
and I cannot tell you how many times
this time of year has sent me crying

(repeat chorus)

Saint Clare

Copyright 1996, 2001 Jack Hardy Music
call on that saint
and the candle that burns
keeping her safe
until her return
plaster and paint
holding the fire
a poor woman's saint
holding all man's desire

bold little bird
fly away home
could I but ride herd
on the wind and the foam
all of the souls
that curl by the fire
they'll never know
of all man's desire

watercress clings
to the banks of the stream
in the first grip of spring
when the snow turns to green
barefoot and cold
and holding a lyre
by the side of the road
holding all man's desire

call on that saint
when the white candle burns
keeping her safe
until she returns

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