Owls

by Danny Schmidt

/
1.
Once upon a sinkhole, a prince who'd lost his people Slipped out through Daddy's keyhole late one night With no land left to fight for, nor love quite fit to bite for The crown felt far too tight to slip from sight But when the stars came calling, so free and free for falling Their sparkling arcs across the sky Like fireflies on fixtures, like drops of devil's tinctures He'd drink their liquor and go blind He'd lay for days and wonder, and crawl through caves of slumber While happily ever under, gone for days But in his dreams a lover sprang forth from under covers A crest of deafening colors, songs, and rays With stripes and spotted feathers, a storm of sunny weather She smiled as if forever high But in her eyes were embers of memories long dismembered Of sparks so clever tempers rise So he made to understand her in all her grace and grandeur While flames that only fan her, rise and fall And though the fire burned them, he raked the coals and turned them The steady breath of learning, rise and fall Cause surely as tomorrow has yesterday to borrow A light to follow through the caves Through dark and ancient paintings, of children's rants and ravings Her lantern eyes might light the way
2.
Seems to me it's just as plain as please It's plastered the news Cause every day there's a new display Of cannons come loose Once was tough, two's a called bluff, three's enough's enough Four was cruel, five's a dead school, six is like they're gunning for you So tell me this, when the spirit slips And can't hardly stand What will it grasp if it falls too fast I hope just a hand But if not, if the shell's shocked, if there's no angels near If fury finds that in the chambered mind, there's just bullets and steel So blame the guns or blame the crazy ones It's almost the same Cause in the home of the free and brave These tools are insane The best dirt on the free earth and we can't shake our pride We're two sides of a mudslide, and we're both buried alive So tell me now, tell me anyhow When will it end? Cause every time it's a friend of mine The ghosts and the men It seems to me it's just as plain as please
3.
If they fill the dirt with water make them drink If they fill the dirt with water make them drink A tar pit like a heart exposed, an empty chest of liquid gold The slurry of a long and broken nose If they're poaching in the ocean drag them down If they're poaching in the ocean drag them down Cause everything a net can fill is fair to catch and free to kill They can until they drown and so they will Holy roller, space and time Keep my children under Watchful sight and mindful eyes As they've been known to wander Holy roller, time and space A garden bench to borrow Rest your head and hide your face For soon the earth shall swallow If the seeds are stamped by lawyers hide your corn If the seeds are stamped by lawyers hide your corn They'll send the scarecrows out to reap a harvest that The Man can keep And keep the chaff as hungry as they need If they're banging on their cages hose them down If they're banging on their cages hose them down When times are tough the bars get greased, and all that shines shall beg release So let them beg but don't let them out for free Refrain If they take away your children don't be sad If they take away your children don't be sad Cause if all the fruit and all the seeds and all the fish in all the seas Are gone, then what's to feed a child's dreams Tell me, what's to feed a child's dreams? Tell me, what's to feed a child's dreams?
4.
Wouldn't you believe a man Who showed you how to rise and stand And hold your own forsaken hand And lead you through the years I would, I would, I'd follow if I could But faith has always flashed and disappeared Wouldn't you believe the words A lover's lips might share with yours Forever and forever more A love that's not at war I would, I would, I'd promise if I could But faith has never touched my heart for good Wouldn't you believe in work If every day from death to birth You turned a wrench that fixed the earth With sweat that clenched a thirst I would, I would, I'd labor like I should But faith has never filled that hole with dirt But every time and every where A safety net of silver hair That every climber knows is there And all who fall would swear And I would, I would, I'd swear it if I could But faith has never caught me unprepared So wouldn't you believe in life If every blessed guess was right And every question answered twice Like shadows filled with light I would, I would, I'd wake because I could As faithful as the sun just knows to rise
5.
The ground grew grey and dead in August The bed lay barren, just crying for rain It's been a bad year for the sweet pea harvest It's been a bad year for the sugar cane It'll all grow back again We've all been led by a promise that the heart can mend He'd wake each day and pray for thunder And carve like lightning down the rows And throw his seeds at dreams and numbers And drink himself like dirt that won't It'll all grow back again We've all been led by a promise that the heart can mend It was a storm last spring that sealed his troubles When Eva left him in an unmade field Now he carries that weight, but he drags his shovel Just waits for the ugly wounds to heal It'll all grow back again We've all been led by a promise that the heart can mend Cause that April day he'd fought the combine Caught by the arm and the combine won Now who's to dance with a one-armed farmer Who's to bandage a one-armed farm That ground grew grey and dead by August The bed lay barren, just crying for rain It's been a bad year for the sweet pea harvest It's been a bad year for the sugar cane
6.
Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky My my, oh my, I might give my hand a try And try and try and try Looks like god forgot to fill the desert floor Looks like god forgot to fill the desert floor Lord lord, oh lord, the faith to say no more No more, no more, no more Looks like god just tore the mountains at their seams Looks like god just tore the mountains at their seams So clean, so clean, the tree line from the streams So clean, so clean, so clean Looks like god just broke the moon in half again Looks like god just broke the moon in half again Man man, oh man, it's still twice again as grand So grand, so grand, so grand Like a rope on a stallion's neck Hope in a poor man's chest Everything that's broken had to be Or like paint on the northern lights Restraint in a lover's eyes The perfect pitch of broken harmonies Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky Looks like god just spilled a sunset on the sky My my, oh my, I might give my hand a try And try and try and try
7.
In the sunrise of my life when the sun was at my back And my shadow stretched before me like a playmate in the grass I'd chase her, for to catch her, we might merge upon the day That the sun would shine upon us all the wisdom of the aged In the noontime of my life when the sun was overhead I'd lie upon my shadow like drunk lovers in strange beds And I'd wish to slink away, but she'd follow underfoot So I'd hide beneath the shade trees til she'd melt into the roots In the afternoon of life the sun would blind me from the front And my shadow'd sneak behind me like a bloodhound on the hunt And where I used to chase my shadow, now my shadow she'd chase me And I'd flee forever forwards while she'd bite me at my feet In the sunset of my life I'd sit and count the golden rays And my shadow'd sit beside me, but she was gentle, thin, and grey And we'd laugh at how we chased each other back and forth all day All the while holding hands, in love and in dismay And I've always dreamed of nighttime and always wondered what's the means That clicks the gears of time each day, and what fills the time between When you've made your bed of clay and when the sun's beneath the floor What brings around a newborn day and the cries of shadows born?
8.
The leaves up on the trees today are green green green And the clouds behind the leaves right now are white as they can be But the sky behind the clouds, it's as blue as cherry pie And it's all the more to sit and wonder why The kids out on the playground they just play play play The mama of the kid that fell can kiss those tears away And the dad don't say a word, he just counts his lucky vows And it's all the more to sit and wonder how The lovers on the benches they just love love love And the old men on the promenade preside like silver doves While the doves and dirty bums eat crumbs of hope and bread And it's all the more to sit and wonder when The runners by the waterside they run run run And the rowers on the water top they skim the top like bugs While the cattails on the shore they blow like Buddha's hair And it's all the more to sit and wonder where The pretty girls with tiny clothes they dare dare dare The boys with pretty skateboard tricks pretend that they don't care And the woman in the grass with the book and purple bruise And it's all the more to sit and wonder who The sun upon the sunset it just glows glows glows The moon takes up its perch and says it's time to get on home And I wish upon a star that it might fill our dreams with dust And it's all the more to sit and wonder what
9.
Maria in the morning was a vision all in orange And all the nasty boys would wipe their eyes with dirty minds It'd been that way for years, a monster in the mirror A beauty so composed the notes might cry She cried and cried, now all the dirt's revived So cry on the flowers when you cry Maria in the window, an outline and a symbol A pedestal so simple only dogs and children see But solitude can keep a perfect girl asleep Unattached and sadly gone to seed She cried and cried, now all the dirt's revived So cry on the flowers when you cry Maria on the doorsteps, the last of many first steps To face the open air again, to sigh upon the breeze When her eyes broke through the clouds, a flood of rain poured out A storm of bitter tears and sweet release She cried and cried, now all the dirt's revived So cry on the flowers when you cry Maria in the garden, the hangman and the pardon Forgiven and forgotten for a moment of a day Cause yesterday has served the time that it deserved While the rest of life just sighs and walks away She cried and cried, now all the dirt's revived So cry on the flowers when you cry She cried til her face was shiny, cried til her dress was clean She cried til the water rose above her knees She cried til the garden drank, and cried til the soil sang She cried until the flowers ate the weeds Maria on the altar, a gift for all who offer A penance and a pittance and a petal from their bed Roses round her hips, and honeysuckle lips And violets where the violence once was picked She cried and cried, now all the dirt's revived So cry on the flowers when you cry
10.
Paper Cranes 03:57
Remember the days when our feet led the way When a kiss was the cost of our slowness And the circles we'd run were like laces undone To be young and get caught once again Remember the time long before the design When the ink was as wet as the ocean And we'd dance in the tide til the ink would subside And our feet would print poems on sand Remember the years when the days disappeared Like the pages torn free from the ledger Though the fury of hands met the day's chief demands It was story so full, now it's empty When was the line that we crossed and we signed When we promised ourselves we could make it Now we lie in the yard and plant seeds in our scars And await the next rain that might wake us Now remember the years when the days disappeared Like the pages torn free from the ledger And off they would fly, paper cranes in the sky Til the moon was obscured by our treasures Now the moon is obscured by our treasures
11.
Last time I saw you, both your feet were on the ground Your mind and body sound And your thoughts connected dots, at least, if not the most profound Last time I saw you, you were digging in the dirt And the stains upon your shirt Were the sweaty kind a steady mind creates and then deserves Ooh, ooh, you're floating away Ooh, ooh, now you're floating Last time I saw you, you had seeds of every kind That you'd planted in your mind And you cried they were the last kind words that your father left behind Last time I saw you, you had eggs of every size And so you buried them alive You swore to me that each good deed would free a bird to rise refrain Last time I saw you was the break of harvest day With your bounty on display But the laughter in your eyes was of the kind that flies away Last time I saw you, all the birds were in a cage With their feathers stripped away Your arms out wide, the glue all dried, like the wings of no restraint refrain Last time I saw you was the day you learned to fly When you climbed the mountain high And you ran until the ground stood still and then you spilled into the sky Last time I saw you, you were floating away Carried by the breeze of better days Hopes and dreams, or a mad man's schemes, off into the sun Til it all went white, a flash so bright, that I had to look I had to look away refrain

credits

released May 19, 2015

Produced by David Goodrich
Engineered by Keith Gary

Musicians:
Danny Schmidt - vocals & guitar
David Goodrich - electric guitars
Lloyd Maines - lap steel guitar
Mike Meadows - drums
Andrew Pressman - bass
Keith Gary - piano
Carrie Elkin - harmony vocals
Daniel Thomas Phipps - harmony vocals
Ali Holder - harmony vocals

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Danny Schmidt Austin, Texas

Named to the Chicago Tribune's "50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years," Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, with lyrical depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt. ... more

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