Sunday, July 22, 2012

Issa's Sunday Service, #132: "Goodbye, Hello"

Lao Tzu

Goodbye Hello - Tim Buckley
The antique people are down in the dungeons
Run by machines and afraid of the tax
Their heads in the grave and their hands on their eyes
Hauling their hearts around circular tracks
Pretending forever their masquerade towers
Are not really riddled with widening cracks
And I wave goodbye to iron
And smile hello to the air

O the new children dance ------ I am young
All around the balloons ------ I will live
Swaying by chance ------ I am strong
To the breeze from the moon ------ I can give
Painting the sky ------ You the strange
With the colors of sun ------ Seed of day
Freely they fly ------ Feel the change
As all become one ------ Know the Way

The velocity addicts explode on the highways
Ignoring the journey and moving so fast
Their nerves fall apart and they gasp but can't breathe
They run from the cops of the skeleton past
Petrified by tradition in a nightmare they stagger
Into nowhere at all and they look up aghast
And I wave goodbye to speed
And smile hello to a rose

O the new children play ------ I am young
Under the juniper trees ------ I will live
Sky blue or gray ------ I am strong
They continue at ease ------ I can give
Moving so slow ------ You the strange
That serenely they can ------ Seed of day
Gracefully grow ------ Feel the change
And yes still understand ------ Know the Way

The king and the queen in their castle of billboards
Sleepwalk down the hallways dragging behind
All their possessions and transient treasures
As they go to worship the electronic shrine
On which is playing the late late commercial
In that hollowest house of the opulent blind
And I wave goodbye to Mammon
And smile hello to a stream

O the new children buy ------ I am young
All the world for a song ------ I will live
Without a dime ------ I am strong
To which they belong ------ I can give
Nobody owns ------ You the strange
Anything anywhere ------ Seed of day
Everyone's grown ------ Feel the change
Up so big they can share ------ Know the Way

The vaudeville generals cavort on the stage
And shatter their audience with submachine guns
And Freedom and Violence the acrobat clowns
Do a balancing act on the graves of our sons
While the tapdancing Emperor sings "War is peace"
And Love the Magician disappears in the fun
And I wave goodbye to murder
And smile hello to the rain

O the new children can't ------ I am young
Tell a foe from a friend ------ I will live
Quick to enchant ------ I am strong
And so glad to extend ------ I can give
Handfuls of dawn ------ You the strange
To kaleidoscope men ------ Seed of day
Come from beyond ------ Feel the change
The Great Wall of Skin ------ Know the Way

The bloodless husbands are jesters who listen
Like sheep to the shrieks and commands of their wives
And the men who aren't men leave the women alone
See them all faking love on a bed made of knives
Afraid to discover or trust in their bodies
And in secret divorce they will never survive
And I wave goodbye to ashes
And smile hello to a girl

O the new children kiss ------ I am young
They are so proud to learn ------ I will live
Womanwood bliss ------ I am strong
And the manfire that burns ------ I can give
Knowing no fear ------ You the strange
They take off their clothes ------ Seed of day
Honest and clear ------ Feel the change
As a river that flows ------ Know the Way

The antique people are fading out slowly
Like newspapers flaming in mind suicide
Godless and sexless directionless loons
Their sham sandcastles dissolve in the tide
They put on their deathmasks and compromise daily
The new children will live for the elders have died
And I wave goodbye to America
And smile hello to the world

So, why is this song selected as Litrock, one might ask.  This line, and its variations, are what does it -

As a river that flows ------ Know the Way

- and it's the caps that cap it.  Know the Tao, Know the Way.

Know the Tao, Know the Way.

blown to the big river
floating away...
cherry blossoms
translated by David G. Lanoue


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Ed Baker said...

A-Mazing ! another co:insident.
up in this morning's 4 a.m.
to pick up in Burton Watson's:
the section: 'The Lao Tzu or Tao te ching'
and BW puts this in his section "Philosopy" (rather than in the "Poetry" section) and opens with:

"Of the three most famous Taoist texts, the Lao Tzu, the Chuang Tzu, and the Lieh Tzu, the Lao Tzu or Tao te ching has traditionally been accepted as the oldest. It was attributed to a sage and recluse named Lao Tan who was supposed to have been a contemporary of Confucius. Scholars now generally agree that the biographical accounts of Lao Tan are no more than a jumble of confused legends, and that the text called Lao Tzu is probably no older than the fourth or third century B.C., though it may incorporate older material. (etc)."

again DW
neat 'stuff' ....
food, here, for thoughts and actions..

LoneStarLibrarian said...

Think I will play my Tim Buckley stuff today as I make art -- I've always been a big fan. Thanks, Don.

Charles Gramlich said...

What great lyrics.

Lyle Daggett said...

So much in life is about context and juxtaposition.

For some reason, reading this, I flashed on the opening lines of the Tao Te Ching, and thought immediately of the current presidential campaign:

"The way that can be named
is not the eternal way."

Interesting how a classic work can take on startling relevance at random (or not-so-random) moments.

Theresa Williams said...

Tim Buckley is one of my faves. What a voice he had.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Been reading Chuang Tzu lately and my head has been spinning. Two philosophers as poets - every time I read, something different, that is the same, emerges.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Should be an interesting session of creating, K.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Charles, he is amazing.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


How the great masters somehow accentuate what is on our minds, as it seems both Ed and LoneStar are saying in their own ways above.

The Buckley just floors me.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Theresa ...

Well, the voice of an angel idea is overused but the sweetness and range of pain and emotion is unique in its depth and scintillating timbre.

Fine work.