FIRE ON THE VINE

 

LYRICS
NOAH'S NAMELESS WIFE

Oh the gosling looked up to the goose and the gander
Said, I don’t have a feather to fly
I’m the unfortunate three of a kind

When the flood finally came,
it was Noah’s nameless wife
That looked out from the window
as the city sank
And the rooftop children cried

When her feet hit the ground,
she could still hear the sound
When her feet hit the ground,
she could still hear the sound
Ringing in her ears

And it went ...

THE RIDER, THE HORSE, THE LAND

You fill my cup and I fill yours
You fill my cup and I fill yours

You sang over me, with a tambourine in your hand
About the rider, the horse, and the land
You sang over me, with a tambourine in your hand
About the rider, the horse, and the land

You play my notes and I play yours
You play my notes and I play yours

You sang over me, with a silver bell in your hand,
About your dreams in the morning of a wide and ancient land
You sang over me with a silver bell in your hand
About your visions in the morning of a wide and ancient land

I will be the watchman on your wall
You will be the watchman on my wall
I will be the watchman on your wall
You will the watchman on my wall

BACKSEAT

You were hiding in the backseat of my Lincoln
Underneath a blanket with your head against the door
And I was already halfway through Ohio
When I heard your soft voice singing to a song on the radio

I crept out in the darkness of the morning
Past our sleeping father, a cold cigar lying at his feet
He was surrounded by his books down in the parlor
Filled with all the words that he had wanted us to read and know

But this is not an old American story
About the rugged men who came out from the east And I am not some outlaw from the Badlands
Or a gambler running tables in New Orleans
So I put you on a bus back to Boston
With some money in your shoe for a meal
And I turn my car in the other direction
Just hoping that I hear a note from the backseat

BOYS

Boys from the street,
slum childs come in here together
Boots wrapped in rope and wire
And black hands in cold leather

But I am not one of them.
No, I am not one of them
But they all know me by name.
They all know me by name

Men in the aisles, closed eyes and gold dust on their fingers
They say soon God will come, so hold your tongue
Don’t let your vices linger
They say Elijah was carried off,
caught up in a chariot made of flame
So we too will ride in cars that shine
If you name it, it’s yours to claim

But I am not one of them.
No, I am not one of them
But they all know me by name.
They all know me by name

Girls from the corner, coming from the Corinthian Quarters
That’s my place on Jackson
The Preacher and the Politician,
the Working Man
They come looking to me, they come asking
I know soon God will come and even if I run

His horsemen bound to find me
He’ll ask me why I’ve done the things I’ve done
And I’ll tell him you made the mouths I feed

And I’ll say, I am not one of them
I am not one of them

But He’ll turn to me and say, 
Oh, I don’t know you by name! 
No, I don’t know you by name!

And I’ll think to myself,
You never did make known to me Your ways

SPROUT

She came in the night on the ninth of October
They looked my in my red eyes
and said she won’t last
We all knew that she should’ve slept
until mid-December
When it comes to the lot I have learned,
I can’t count on the cast

That night a vision came
At the same time both vivid and vague
Of a father looking on
As he burns to the ground the house that he made

When I woke, I had been slain in the spirit of reason
Baptized in the rolling dark waters of doubt
‘Cause I’m told it’s Your will to withhold, but it feels like treason
A rain cloud refusing to pour in a season of drought

That night a vision came
At the same time both vivid and vague
Of a father looking on
As he burns to the ground the house that he made

And I heard him say
It was well on its way
Just look how it swayed
How it crumbled and caved
As the crimson glow of the fire caught his eye
I could tell he could hear, as well could I
That along with the crackle and growl of the fire

Came a call quite small from inside—
I’m in here alive
But now, a child is born, she is bent but not broken
A spark, a seed and a sprout
A miracle or catastrophe
This child who’s orphaned her family

THE WORDS OF THE REVELATOR

I have come into your house
You say there’s something I should know by now
and I vow to hear you out 
But as you speak, how I feel the sting
Like the hackles on a dog’s back I rise up to meet

The words you spoke in the middle of the night
They fall heavy like a hammer on my mind
You are the light in the darkness, you’re the fire on the vine

Oh my son, I have known your ways
But I’m the gale that’ll rattle your gate; you shudder,
I make you shake 
You will find what you did not seek
A road less narrow, a way not steep

Oh my child
Don’t you lose your place 
Remember my table 
Remember my face

And the things I told you in the middle of the night 
They fall heavy like a hammer on your mind
I am the light in the darkness, I’m the fire on the vine

You turn away
I’m left alone
Then came a sign
Then came the Revelation

And I said,
You, you will not dig a hole in me 
You will not chop down my tree 
Or hold me under the water
No and you, you will not dig a hole in me 
You will not chop down my tree
Or hold me under the water

THE LAKE

You said, don’t come by, I do not feel like talking 
Not to you or anybody else
You write their names with a trembling, ragged finger 
Upon the pane glass blinded by the frost

And the cold pulls you down 
It pulls you down
Pulls you down, down, down

When I found you, your face it was not moving
Your eyes are ravaged, you’re the land beneath a plague 
Wife and daughter caught weeping out on the water 
When the storm fell heavy on the lake

And the waves pulled them down 
Pulled them down
Pulled them down, down, down

But my brother, don’t let your lantern darken
Don’t be afraid for them
For oh my friend, there is nothing on the other side
We will grow old and plant for them a garden
When the growing’s done we’ll plunge like a stone to join them in the tide

GLORY

Glory, I have known you my whole life
In the morning, you come in gentle as a golden vine
Through my window, you fill up the valleys in my sheets. Glory

Glory, I have known you on a black crow night
From my rooftop, shining in the alabaster moonlight 
And the rats all scratch in the attic under my feet. Glory

Glory, you are the anvil for my hardened heart
Glory, you’re the only mystery I can see
I have known you as the song that goes before me 
And the only one who’ll be there when I’m gone

…AND THE REVELATION

I saw a white-haired child, staring out through hollow grey eyes
I saw men that come to early ends, men who flicker, dim, and die
I saw a kerosene skyline from the suburbs of the city on a hill
I heard the clatter of the coin and the yawning of the few that have their fill 
And the sun, it is a blister, rising like the dead
I drag my shadow behind me, and I drag my body to the edge of my bed 
With my palms pressed to my eyes, I pray this one last time
If you’re someone else I might love you still, but as it is we’re done
Oh and you, you will not dig a hole in me
You will not chop down my tree
Or hold me under the water
No and you, you will not dig a hole in me
You will not chop down my tree
Or hold me under the water

HONEY JARS

I pick up a broken comb
Run it through my thin grey hair 
Though I don’t have any plans tonight 
I’m not going anywhere
Well, I should’ve seen this coming 
Don’t know why I’m surprised
Every vessel on its way down
Takes with it the captain’s life

Though I’m blind, my dear, I see 
The parade goes on without me 
My body aches, my mind, it weeps 
For you, for you

Tonight I’m locked outside my building 
Guess I must have lost the keys
So I’ll sit here on the sidewalk
Let the snow fall on my knees
And if I made it to a payphone
I don’t know who I would call
So for now I close my eyes and rest 
My crooked back against the wall

I read that old men will see visions 
Young men will follow dreams
I believed it when I read it
I see your face in everything
Now your honey jars are frozen
In the window your books have browned 
And there’s too much room inside our bed 
I think I’ll join you in the ground

Though I’m blind, my dear, I see 
Let the chorus sing without me
My body breaks, my mind it sleeps 
With you

THE ROAD

I hold my shoulder tight against the cold that rolls down the road tonight
Though I’ve left the fold, my feet will find a hold

Now I cannot stop
I will not turn around on the road tonight 
Though I’ve left your side,
Still I will find, find a way

The holy garment threads apart, the cloth of white is stained 
The floor has bowed beneath the weight
The beams now bend and break
No longer can I call a home, the place I’ve known so well 
But what may come upon the road, right now I cannot tell

©2016 BRYAN JOHN APPLEBY LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.