Song Of The Bailing Man (1982)

The Long Walk Home
On the long walk home thoughts stride long and crankily.

The antelope are swaying to the song of the buffalo groaning
old buffalo moaning as the heat beats down
like a hammer.

The lay of the land is like a frying pan
as the heat beats down
like a hammer.

Molecular excitement means nourishment.
The orchestrations of biochemistry are eloquent.
Still the heat beats down
like a hammer.

On the prairie floor the insects roar.

The nights were cool.
Oh, the nights were cruel.
But the days are hot.
The days are hot on the long walk home.

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



Use Of A Dog
It brings a tear to the eye to see the kind of trust that bears many strains.
It brings a smile to see trust that believes many things.

Who would question the worth of a dog?
Who would query the use of a dog?

Fidelity is a fine attribute.
His loyalty to his master is never in dispute.

Who would question the worth of a dog?
Who would query the use of a dog?

Watchfulness is a valuable trait.
Here's a friendly fellow who looks left and right to cross the street.

Who would question the worth of a dog?
Who would query the use?

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



Petrified
Not so many thousand years before
these old rocks were the bones of the haplocanthosaur.
Old, old rocks.

It was as tall as a house,
Might have been as gentle as a mouse.

Bare bones are petrified
then later they are classified.
A skeleton may indicate
but imagination animates.
The mind's eye does need to see the fluid grace and subtlety
of animals fitted perfectly to a world not like the one we see.

The bones of a flying animal now called the pterosaur
have been found a hundred miles from the presumed seashore.
Old, old rocks.

One kind had teeth like a whale. One kind had a hair covering.
One kind would've been 37 feet wing to wing.

Bare bones are petrified
then later they are classified.
A skeleton may indicate
but imagination animates.
The mind's eye does need to see the fluid grace and subtlety
of animals fitted perfectly to a world not like the one we see.

Here's the sort of bird that we don't see.
In some of the books it's not treated quite respectfully.
Old, old rocks.

Has the short end of the stick
been given archaeopteryx?

Bare bones are petrified
then later they are classified.
A skeleton may indicate
but imagination animates.
The mind's eye does need to see the fluid grace and subtlety
of animals fitted perfectly to a world not like the one we see.

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



Stormy Weather
Stormy weather
it might get better in a week
or a wink of an eye.

It's clearing off by Monday.
That's what the weathermen say.

It's good for ducks so don't complain
when the rain comes tap-tapping on the window panes
cuz someone is napping.

When do you think it will quit?
What is the outcome of it?

Who, who? Why so blue?
There's other things we can do.

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



West Side Story
He's on his feet and his feet are on the go.
He anticipates a show
when winter comes home to Erie.

The day is burned away and evening comes as an after-thought
while down below the lake
salt mines are a subtler plot.

The ore boats cross the lake and birds hurry up and down
riding in the wakes
when winter comes home to Erie.

The clouds turn to stone and the city looks as frail as bone
that was carved by a chinaman
and left because he died alone.

That's Erie.

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



Thoughts That Go By Steam
(weigho-weigho)
Thoughts may go where the winds may blow
or they may steam ahead wake in tow.

(sizz fizz)
Thoughts go by steam.

(weigho-weigho)
Thoughts may go where the tides dictate
or they might navigate,

(sizz fizz)
Where are the thoughts that go by steam?
Rolling over the ocean's expanse.
How is it done?
Stoking with coal.
Thoughts go by steam.

Smoke curling in a cloudless sky.
The hull churns the wash.
The engines impel and the reply
as the great wide sea unfolds, it's swell.

Thoughts that go by steam are something to see
as they come into view of...
Tooting horns! Tooting horns!

Thoughts that go by steam are met with jubilation
all the banners and bands and the...
Tooting horns! Tooting horns!

(sizz fizz)
Where are the thoughts that go by steam?
Rolling over the ocean's expanse.
How is it done?
Stoking with coal.
Thoughts go by steam.

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



Big Ed's Used Farms
I had a good time.
Forgot to thank you for that good time.
In went the good air and out went the bad.
I like it there.

Alive!

I see him everywhere.
He looks just like me.
He's such a happy guy.
Just like me.

Why-di-i-di-i?

Who can stop that happy guy?

I had a good time.
Forgot to thank you for that good time.
I looked back on a day well spent
and I went to bed with a sense of accomplishment.

Beehive!

Beetle Man, Beetle Man
scutters cross the field.
Through waving grass plowing air
like a ship he heels.

I see him everywhere.
He looks just like me.
He's such a happy guy.
Just like me.

Why-di-i-di-i?

Who can stop that happy guy?

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



A Day Such As This
[Part 1]

On a day such as this
insist on more than the truth.
H Y P E R B O L E

Today, dear poet, we must insist on more.
More than the ordinary turn of phrase.
Other than the usual stock in trade.

Such a day as this cries out for emphasis.
Where are the thoughts that swing from the trees?
Where are the hats that hang in the breeze?
Where are the words that'll freshen the air?

On a day such as this
insist on more than the truth.
H Y P E R B O L E

What is the designate etiquette on such a day?

[Part 2]

At last, by reasoning cast as a character peevishly bound
the solution came clear.
Persevere.
I was nearly drowned.

The folderol of fretful peregrination.

It rained cats.
It rained dogs. It rained logs.
It rained hats.
It rained trees. It rained fleas.
It rained spats.
It rained boxes to put it all in.

The trumpet call of rampant exaggeration.

With each ensuing sneeze
raindrops shake from the leaves
and they shake from the trees.
They shake from the leaves of the sheltering trees.

Grumbling over the goats they go.
Mumbling over their coats they know.
Bundling into the boats they row.
Who knows where they go?
They go where they go where they go.

The folderol of fretful peregrination.

Yo-ho! Oh-ho!
If the rain doesn't stop
and the boxes pile up
then we'll pass on the motion to bail out the ocean with buckets.
That's the word that's overheard.

The trumpet call of rampant exaggeration.

What is the designate etiquette on such a day?

[Part 3]

Some will say the feet
and some will say a dog.
Some will say a man's best friend is hyperbole.

What is the designate etiquette on such a day?

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



The Vulgar Boatman Bird
I did not hear the vulgar boatman yesterday or the day before.
The dawn coming on the river reflecting flashed a semaphore.

Tomorrow, manyana. Manyana, tomorrow.
I'll get up early, get up early and I'll wake you up.

Who would know where the vulgar boatman goes?

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



My Hat
Some hats are shaped like Oklahoma.
Some hats are shaped like the Zuider Zee.
Some hats are small and dusty objects.
Some hats look like me.

Some hats are thinking caps
unmindful of their dinghy flaps.
Some hats are springboks
startled by low-flying trucks.

Don't want to know why o-we-o-we-i

Some hats tumble and fly through the air.
Some hats sit on foam heads and stare.

O-we-o-we-i please don't ask me why.
Don't want to know why o-we-o-we-i.

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.



Horns Are A Dilemma
As we roll out to sea
I think of some things we may need.
They are awkward moments, minutes rather
as we roll out to sea.

As we roll out to sea
I designate the horns 'A' and 'B.'
As the alternatives are weighed
the coastline fades.

Square pegs. Round holes.
Round pins. Square holes.
Square pegs for round holes
and round pins for triangles.

No cause to be so glum
according to the rule of thumb
it may be a small thing
a small thing to overcome.

As we roll out to sea
we'll need to rely on ingenuity.
As we roll out to sea
a passing remark referred to a part we may need.

As we roll out to sea
we think of the things we may need.

Writers: Fier - Maimone - Ravenstine - Thomas - Thompson.
©1982 Fire Songs, under license from Ubu Projex.
Lyrics by David Thomas.

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