Friday, June 22, 2007

The last time I saw her...

I'm a fan of story songs.

I especially like tunes that are somewhat ambiguous, that leave something to the imagination. You know something's not quite what it appears. But it isn't clear. The ultimate example has to be Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billy Joe."

But I digress.

Waiting for pages to roll out of compo this afternoon, an old Gordon Lightfoot composition came on the iPod.

Called "The Last Time I Saw Her," the song is a haunting ballad about a doomed love affair. Like all of his best work, Lightfoot's lyric is pure poetry, full of ethos and imagery.

This particular version was recorded not by Lightfoot, but by Glen Campbell. The arrangement fits the song, full of strings and an elaborate presentation. It's one of Glen's most beautiful songs, but I'm not sure it ever became a hit.

Yet another beautiful gem lost to the passing of time. The lyric is below:

The last time I saw her face
Her eyes were bathed in starlight
And her hair hung long

The last time she spoke to me
Her lips were like the scented flowers
Inside a rain-drenched forest

But that was so long ago
That I can scarcely feel
The way I felt before
And if time could heal the wounds
I would tear the threads away
That I might bleed some more

The last time I walked with her
Her laughter was the steeple bells
That rang to greet the morning sun
A voice that called to everyone
To love the ground we walked upon
Those were her good days

The last time I held her hand
Her touch was autumn, spring and summer
Winter, too

The last time I let go of her
She walked away into the night
I lost her in the misty streets
A thousand months, a thousand years
When other lips will kiss her eyes
A million miles beyond the moon
That's where she is

The last time I saw her face
Her eyes were bathed in sadness
And she walked alone

The last time she kissed my cheek
Her lips were like the wilted leaves
Upon the autumn covered hill
Rested on the frozen ground
The seeds of love lie cold and still
Beneath the battered marking stone
It lies forgotten

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