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.

One thought on “Lyrical

  1. Sounds interesting, nice lyrics in any case, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard it.

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