twenty-one times

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If you have followed this blog for very long, you have heard me make reference to my songwriting days with my friend, Billy Crockett. This week, his wife Dodee posted a video of him singing what is perhaps my favorite song we wrote together. The idea grew out of our reading Paul Bowles’ amazing novel The Sheltering Sky together. We were particularly moved by this paragraph.

Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don’t know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life. It’s that terrible precision that we hate so much. But because we don’t know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.

Our conversation led us to this song. Here is Billy offering a wonderful performance. I have also included the lyrics below.

twenty-one times

 

she saw the sun go down

twenty-one times

twenty-one times

in thirty-five years

she saw the sun go down

she thought there’d be a million

and she thought that she would see them

she saw the sun go down

twenty-one times

 

she stayed and danced all night

only one time

only one time

in thirty-five years

she stayed and danced all night

the moonlight fell like laughter

on her happy ever after

but she stayed and danced all night

only one time

 

and over new england

geese are flying south

a november nightfall

settles round about

while a lighthouse

calls another home

 

she walked away from love

so many times

so many times in thirty-five years

she walked away from love

and hearing lesser voices

she turned them into choices

she walked away from love

so many times

 

and over new england

geese are flying south

a november nightfall

settles round about

while a lighthouse

calls another home

 

hearing lesser voices

she turned them into choices

she walked away from love

she stayed and danced all night

she saw the sun go down

twenty-one times

 

Peace,

Milton

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, it’s a good one. You guys put heart and soul into that one. Every autumn I find myself singing, “And over New England geese are flying south.” Love you…and want to see the sun go down in Durham very soon.

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