I don’t generally post song lyrics, unless I’m interspersing them throughout an entry, but this song has been in my head all day, possibly because I rented Schindler’s List from NetFlix, and was watching the bonus features earlier today.

I Remember
I remember sky
It was blue as ink
Or at least I think
I remember sky.

I remember snow
Soft as feathers
Sharp as thumb tacks
Coming down like lint
And it made you squint
When the wind would blow.

And ice like vinyl on the streets
Cold as silver
White as sheets
Rain like strings
And changing things
Like leaves.

I remember leaves
Green as spearmint
Crisp as paper
I remember trees
Bare as coat racks
Spread like broken umbrellas.

And parks and bridges,
Ponds and zoos,
Ruddy faces,
Muddy shoes,
Light and noise
And bees and boys
And days.

I remember days,
Or at least I try.
But as years go by
They’re a sort of haze,
And the bluest ink
Isn’t really sky
And at times I think
I would gladly die
For a day of sky.

The lyrics are actually kind of circular and the song is really very simple. Every version I’ve ever heard of it, though, has been over-orchestrated. If I recorded it, I’d keep it simple. Piano, cello, vocal. (Cello because I am not a true soprano, and therefore violin would be too shrill.)

My first exposure to this song was in the very early 80’s, when Judy Collins recorded it, and Amnesty International used it as a sort of theme song for prisoners of conscious. It’s one of those songs that’s always been in the back of my head though, I think because the words are so carefully chosen, the imagery is there, and enhanced with onomatopoeic sounds… I especially like, “Crisp as paper…” Say it. You can hear paper being shuffled, leaves being scuffled.

It wasn’t until relatively recently (February? March?) when I bought a cd of a couple of really obscure Sondheim shows (The Frogs is one of them.) that I realized this song I grew up with was a Sondheim creation.

But then, once you read the lyrics, it couldn’t be anything OTHER than a Sondheim song, really.

T3: Old/New/Borrowed/Blue

Onesome: Something old- Do you have anything that you’ve owned simply forever? A cherished childhood toy, an antique handed down through the family…
Three things:
-My mother’s button box. The tin belonged to my great-grandmother, I think. It’s read, but I don’t remember what was originally in it. The buttons have changed some, over the years, and additions and subtractions happened, but I remember some of them as being on my mother’s favorite coat, stuff like that.

-My grandfather’s red leather chair. It’s older than I am, and it’s the chair he sat in to read to me, when I was very small. Now I sit in it to read. The upholstery needs to be fixed, but I can’t bear to do it.

-A stuffed Winnie-the-Pooh that I got as a gift for my first birthday. It’s about 12 inches tall, maybe 15, NOT fluffy, and from the time before Pooh was disnified. He has velcro on his front paws, in lieu of actual honey, but alas, he’s naked. Somewhere along the line, his red vest got lost.

Twosome: Something new- Buy anything new lately?
-Other than pens and dvd’s? Not really. I bought some lamps for my dressing room a few weeks ago, but they’re not really new now.

Threesome: Something borrowed- Ever borrowed anything and never returned it?
Yes. My grandmother’s red hat. It’s one of my favorites.

Bonus: Something blue- See anything blue from where you are? What is it?
My stapler. It’s a blue swingline. At one point there was a matching staple remover and scissors, but I’ve no idea where those are. I once read an essay in The New Yorker that compared innovations in staplers to innovations in locomotive engines – if you look at staplers and train engines over the years, they really do echo each other – so now I choose staplers based on how much like a train I think they are. Apparently when I bought this one, I was in my Amtrak period.

Yes, I’m eccentric. We knew this :)

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