Jack Hardy — Lyrics for The Passing

Copyright © 1996 Jack Hardy Music

  1. The Passing
  2. Black-eyed Susans
  3. Willie Goggin's Hat
  4. The Halloween Parade
  5. The 20th Century
  6. You Only Leave Your Heart Once
  7. That Close to Crying
  8. If I Ever Pass This Way Again
  9. Dachau
  10. Morgan's Dance

The Passing

It was a bird, a petulant bird that pecked upon the window
First so slowly, slowly then with urgent crescendo
As if it could it finally could say what it had to say-o
Its cry so muffled by the glass the structure in the way-o

        Mo ghrá sa'n Bás is deacair a rá
        'S riamh an lá d'ag gabháil-o (siud sa chré-o)

She had lain for many days, no years of indecision
Drifting in and out of sleep, no words describe the prison
With passion all reduced to pain in swollen joints and vision
She once independent now dependent on good wishing

I walked so slow so not to scare this cold bird at the window
Trying the while to ascertain its variegated colors
As if the seasons there had left confusion in the willows
Of leaves and flowers blown apart and covered on the pillow

She had said o'er and o'er that they could take her home now
As if she was some other place with strangers all unknown-o
Was it home to Clay Street to her childhood she would go now
Closer than I would have come this bird had come much closer

This bird was finally dismayed to find its own reflection
Stood so starkly motionless then flew in all directions
By the lines of modern thought the ancient body was consigned-o
The ashes to be placed somewhere where stained glass cast its light-o

Was it there it finally flew, this bird that was at the window?
It looked so free in passing as if the passing opened in-o
'Twas days and days and days before I could finally hear the cry-o
As if this passing the only way that I could say goodbye-o

Black-eyed Susans

Black eyed susans by the road
In all those places time forgot
Run and run from what we know
Sometimes easy, sometimes not

Youth is but a flowered field
Daisies and forget-me-nots
All of this a letter sealed
Reminding us what we forgot

Old enough to touch a heart
Young enough to not reply
To stand upon the kitchen stool
And kiss your mother goodbye

Open to the morning sun
Reveal the beauty 'neath the cloud
Only nature having fun
All for crying out loud

The wind upon the clouds on high
The wind upon the brittle chaff
Birds on the electric wire
To see who will be last to laugh

All these colors on display
They all go so well with you
All so well in god's bouquet
All except for black and blue

Willie Goggin's Hat

Met him on the Killorglin road
Thinking mine was a heavy load
Said to stop and rest awhile
Long enough to find your smile
Said I don't know this and I don't know that
But I know what's under Willie Goggin's hat

        And if it ain't broke don't fix it
        But how many of us ain't broke
        And how many of us ain't died
        A thousand broken hearted lives?
        And how many of us, amen
        Ain't got a broken heart to mend?

And I may be a tinker and I may be a fool
But I'll fix anything as good as new
I can fix anything but the golden rule
For gold can only fill a tooth
Long as I've got the price of a pint
My hands are rough but I can sleep at night

I learned years ago and years since then
There's no such thing as a common man
Don't work for pay, get paid for work
And on the day I forgot these words
I lost the play and I played a part
And I lost the gift of a golden heart

There are those that always buy things new
And those that always must make do
Here's to Mary-Margaret and Maureen
And all the folks from Cahirciveen
Who'd give you the shirt off their back
And gave me Willie Goggin's hat

The Halloween Parade

Over the Pulaski Skyway
Down through the tunnel of love
A school bus in day glow colors
Filled with bygone hippie stuff
Don't laugh, your daughter might be inside
The officer laughs anyway
Don't ask, don't tell, it is just as well
You're heading for the Halloween parade

Here between the police barricades
They won't stop the Halloween parade
They won't paint the line green, the mayor isn't here
There won't be any cuts in aid
There won't be no military fanfare
But it has the blessings of several popes
Jesus carrying his own damn cross
Or carrying just enough rope

        Here on the Avenue of the Americas
        Larger than life, behind makeup and mask
        Everything America is afraid of
        Is lost in a ritualized hell
        All so the children won't ask
        All so we won't have to tell

It's the yearly meeting of the never-minds
The artists and actors and clowns
On this night and this night only
It is the only show in town
We're all of your worst nightmares
We're all of your wildest dreams
The pagans and gays the specter of aids
In a riot of color and screams

It's the morning after the night before
Hanging with the leftover leaves
Deflated balloons and streamers
In the thin arms of the dying trees
There is an awkward silence
As awkward couples come and go
Looking sadly at this boulevard
Wondering if and when they'll know

The 20th Century

The twentieth century was a train
Sleek and fast and so streamlined
Steel and diesel power unchained
Cigars and oysters and black shoes shined

The twentieth century is already gone
Come to think of it the millennium is too
All those years and the buck stops here
Except I fear it's not worth as much this year

Thomas Jefferson was a man
Didn't have to grow up to be president
For no woman had to vote
Nor any man of African descent

Two thousand years of the golden rule
We still keep illegal aliens out of school
Someone's gotta wash dishes and clean toilets too
Someone's gotta play football and someone's gotta sing the blues

This little experiment of ours
Is pretty damn new and shaky so far
We have the freedom to hang out in bars
To buy shiny new guns or shiny new cars

There's no trains left to make run on time
But that's not gonna keep them from trying
How we gonna keep 'em down on Broadway
Let's try religion, sports and a lottery a day

This car screaming down the road
Rebel flag and talk show overload
Passes a school bus on the right
Racing that train to a wreck tonight

2001 candles to blow
Twenty centuries down and one to grow
Except for ten days taken away by Pope Gregory
I lost ten days in college, they didn't name a calendar after me
And this is the America Columbus discovered
Yeah the Vikings could have discovered this one too
The Indians fought the Braves in the World Series
Let's get serious and open another brew

You Only Leave Your Heart Once

All those people who have pieces
Of you spread out 'cross the plains
Left your heart in Oklahoma
Left it lying out in the rain

Left your arms in too many places
With your eyes as big as fun
Calling cards and other traces
But you only leave your heart once

Can I get it get it back?
Can I give it once again?
Said this cowboy to his shadow
Which was made of wind and of rain

When I touch you I feel distance
Never know if yours or mine
Have I left it has it left me
Oh my darling Clementine

The blistering heat and the hay down your shirt
The barbed wire fences where the greenhorns get hurt

At a campfire in Colorado
Or a beach on some dark sea
A smoke-filled room in El Dorado
Singing nearer my god damn to thee

Damp leather and faster horses
And a south wind bringing rain
Too many miles for changing courses
Pushing on the point of pain

Left your arms in too many places
With your eyes as big as guns
Calling cards and other traces
But you only leave your heart once

That Close to Crying

There's not an ounce of softness left within this weathered heart
The hand against the nap of fur disturbs that sleeping part
No need for caution don't need remorse
That close to crying
Bristled and borne an altered force
That close to crying

Semi-automatic steel gray hollow eyes how they stare back
Impassively mechanically annoyed in bluish black
A twitching tail a nervous finger
That close to crying
What tension waiting to slash in anger
That close to crying

A click of light and then a flash of any action taken
Illumined mystery clear and sharp and all of my own making
A shattering crack a full report
That close to crying
Released and slack a slumping form
That close to crying

That close to crying is not close at all what line of fire was crossed
No cerebral contemplation of carefully altered thought
No Hail Mary no desperate toss
That close to crying
The wave awaited recedes in loss
That close to crying

If I Ever Pass This Way Again

And if I ever pass this way again
And if I ever sit alone with you
And if I ever whisper all those thoughts
I did hold inside past our adieu

And if I ever walk that painted deck
And watch the birds that fly so free between
Across the rocks and waves that washed my hopes
As I whittled on a memory

        The sails aloft are filled
        Filled with fickle winds
        That blow across the faces of this land
        There are no corners left
        There are no stones unturned
        That have not all conspired to my return

And if the water trickles down the glen
And if the moss turns green as light grows thin
And if that flower has the will to live
It will cast its fragrance on the wind

And if that fragrant flower so dear to me
So cross the waters to dispel belief
My hand at once upon the rail  and ropes
Till I almost see that telling green


Only a stone's throw
That close to knowing
Over the stone wall
That close to the town

That place you can't go
So hard to travel
Picked up a small stone
Could not put it down

Take all of my money
Take all of my clothing
Take all of my labor
I still do not know

I still cannot feel it
Or make it a real thing
How one to another
Could ever be so

And I'm not a tailor
And I'm not a gypsy
Nor a professor
With my name on my face
A freedom fighter
A left wing conspirer
Who traveled the boxcars
To this lonely place

I'm just a tourist
I take a memento
Or maybe a relic
Though only a stone

Like East Europeans
Posing for photos
In front of the ovens
A video show

I wanted to feel it
That final solution
I want it to touch me
To take me inside
I want it to hold me
I want it to scold me
Make me part of the blame
Why so many died

But only foundations
Are left of the stone wall
Almost at closing
With time running out

I walked in the cold rain
Clutching a cold stone
The gate was still open
For us to walk out

Morgan's Dance

I wouldn't dream of ever following this trail
If I was seen it was a hollow self and frail
Under that sheening of her hair about the wind
And I am clean feeling the air upon my skin

Follow that gleaming to the hallow of this field
Cathedrals greening in the hallow of these trees
Offering me on the all hallow of my knees
And I am free on this the hallowest of eves

        This whistled lore
        Is now a hum
        This thistled floor
        Now smooth and spun
        This listening shore
        Is now undone
        This glistening chorus
        Is now a drum

To feel the cold dirt in the clawing of my toes
Tear off my old shirt or the shawl that is my clothes
My step's most surely in the footfall of the host
In glowing turf there is a healing in the smoke

Perhaps you've seen them only then you've just believed
And when they're fleeing then you feel you've been deceived
But in that feeling something ancient's been retrieved
And in the meantime something new's being conceived

And now the glowing in the halo of the moon
Rising so slowly in the palest of the gloom
The heel and toe now moving closer through the foam
Pulling the flow of all the waves of ocean home

The oak the ash the thorny apple in the breeze
Pale glow of lichen phosphorescent silver green
No thorny crown no iron nails hung in the trees
Only these sounds sung on this hallowest of eves