Sandpipers

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If I could
I’d run away today
And meet you there
Roll up our jeans and run like the clappers
With the sandpipers chasing the tide
Would you run with me?
Darling, would you run with me?

Warm ourselves
With black coffee
In the harbour cafe
As gulls watch the men leave their fishing boats
To tables of full English breakfasts
And union jack mugs of tea
Would you run with me?

It seems like forever since I saw the sea
If you could
Oh, if you could
Would you return there with me?
Darling, would you run with me?

Drag our weary legs
To the station platform
And wait for our train
To take us home thru’ sleepy hills
Sparkling city lights
Shooting stars on distant motorways

It seems like forever since I saw the sea
If you could
Oh, if you could
Would you return there with me?
Darling, would you run with me?

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The Way My Heart Flies

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See the little bluebird
How he flies
Up above the chimney pots
High in the sky
That’s the way my heart flies
When you go walking by

Sunlight on the water
Dancing bright
Copper bellied kingfishers
Darting in flight
That’s the way your smile
Dazzles me

If I could only speak to you
I would be
Gladder than a barn swallow
Up in the eaves
That’s how happy I would be
If you would only talk to me

And I would ask you
If I could take your hand
Step out on the floor
As they strike up the band
And we’d glide
Like birds over water

Go Back To Her

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Go back to her
And all her pretty little ways
If you’re in love with her
There’s no time to waste
Don’t worry about me, I’ll get by
Love’s but another drink away
With some or other guy

Run into her arms
Don’t waste another minute
Look into your heart
You can see that I’m not in it
There’s no point in pretended breathless sighs
I only wish I knew the words to say goodbye

There’s no moon above
Shining down on me and you
It’s clear that we are through
We’ve had our day
You really don’t need me
To tell you what to do
Don’t pour another drink
Cause I can’t let you stay

The love we shared
It’s just a tired and withered thing
Don’t kid yourself
It would ever rate a ring
There’s no tomorrow in your heart for me
And you know why
So don’t risk losing her
Just say goodbye

The Painted Ponies

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This time
We’re gonna get it right
We’ll ring all o’ the bells
Light up all the lights
This time
And the band will play our song

This time
Nobody takes a fall
Nobody takes the blame
We’re gonna have it all
This time
We just can’t go wrong

You’ll tell me
I’m your one and only
We’ll be laughing
On painted ponies

This time
Before the closing of the doors
We’ll face ’em all and take a bow
And all of the applause
This time
And the band will play our song
This time

A Ghost Story

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She did not answer. She focused on her work at the sink and ignored him. It had been like this for some time. The moods, the silences. He’d had just about enough. He could wring her neck!  But he avoided an argument and went back up the stairs.

Hearing her struggling to close the knife drawer, he paused, remembered he ought to fix the runners. Not right now though – wait until the air has cleared. The whole thing will blow over soon enough.

But he knows it won’t. It’s been getting harder these days, and resentments seem to linger. Still, he was too tired to face this right now. Maybe after he’d slept.

Turning at the top of the stairs, it seemed to him the bedroom was colder now. He checked the window was still tightly shut, climbed back into bed, and pulled the clinging wet crimson sheet back over his cold grey body.

Meet Me In The Summer House

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“Meet me in the summer house,” she whispered, then fled into the garden, into the night air of sweet lilac, to wait for him.

She watched the other guests leave, and wondered when he would break free to run into her arms. She could still taste the claret on her lips. He had championed her right to drink with the guests. “She’s no longer a child – perhaps it’s time she had a drink with the grown-ups.”

Indeed she was no longer a child – she hadn’t really replaced her mother, but she’d been looking after the house for years now.

She crushed a rose to her soft lips, to her teeth of moonlit pearl. Her tongue sought him within it’s folds. Would his kiss be so soft, his tongue so knowing?

She smoothed the organza skirt of her dress – the one she’d chosen for his arrival – as she studied the perfect symmetry of her feet. “Look at you – all grown up and prettier every year!” he had said. The moon inched forward for a better view, criss-crossing her legs with a trellised shadow to ribbon and bind them there.

Then she heard his footsteps on the path, and every nerve took flight. Her heart started with the engine ignition, and leaped to the chase as his car pulled down the drive – though she found her legs were still bound where she sat when her father called her name.

The Mute Girl

Do We Really Need A Moon : The Mute Girl

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I had heard of her many times, in many places – even far outside the county. When the first snows fell, when the year’s first snowdrops blossomed, when the air glittered with frost, they spoke of her delicate, unblemished skin and the perennial youth of the mute girl.

She was spoken of in every town and village. She had become something of a legend, and a dearly cherished mystery. Woodsman and prince would make their way to her door to humbly woo her heart, but she was never at home. Her mother received the guests, the most eligible, handsome gentlemen and stout fellows, but always apologised for her daughter’s absence in the forest.

I was hawking for carpentry jobs on the edge of the county when I came to her house. Her mother welcomed me warmly, and told me my passing was such beautiful providence. A simple job of replacing the floorboards in her daughter’s bedroom, where their dog had repeatedly scratched at the bottom of the door over the years, though – with all her mother’s questions and small talk – I was rather late in completing the job.

And that is how I came to meet the girl, as she returned home from the forest at dusk, with her basket of gathered herbs and flowers. She seemed a rather indefinite shadow approaching the house in the low evening light, but when she stepped through the door into the kitchen, she took on an unrivalled radiance. All I had heard of her was true. Her simple, unadorned beauty was no exaggeration.

When her mother suggested I take my supper with them, I could not find the good manners to decline. How I tried to avert my gaze from her silken hair, haloed by the lamplight. I found myself trying to clumsily pass every table condiment just for the desperate chance of touching her delicate snow white hands, catching the shy gleam of her glance. She smiled often, and appeared to be entertained by every foolish thing I uttered, but she would not meet my eye.

She had a strange childlike beauty – not a line or blemish in her young innocent face – but the grace and line of a young woman. I could not discern her age at all, but the tales of her had passed through the land for a good few years, so I knew she must have come of age. But where were her suitors? Perhaps people were put off by her affliction.

At the table she told of the daily events of the forest animals. She could utter no sound whatsoever, instead using a curious language of signs, which her mother translated to me, but the girl never looked my way for understanding. I thought of what a wonderful mother she would make with such a colourful imagination. When I left, her mother assured me there was more work needed doing, and begged that I return in a week. It was quite a journey for me, but I was only too glad to be asked back.

The following week, my task was to repair the legs of the bed, which had been chewed terribly by their mischievous dog. Again, the mother availed me of a great many questions and small talk – was I married, how was I with children and animals – and kept me till suppertime. I had desperately hoped she would, and that I would have a second chance to acquaint myself with her charming daughter. Then somehow, by the end of the night, I found myself engaged to be married.

The mother assured me that, although her daughter’s hands showed no callouses, she was actually very practical and industrious about the house. I assured her in return that I had no doubts about the girl, but made an apology that I could not accommodate a dog – which was met with a very confused look.

Well, the wedding went as weddings go – it’s a woman’s place to indulge in those details. It was joyfully attended by a great many, and the feast, though not extravagant, left nobody hungry.

And then the guests left, and we were alone together in the candlelit silence of our home. It seemed we both marvelled at the strangeness of it all. I had built this house, but somehow it looked unfamiliar and new when I thought of it through her eyes. I looked upon my bride, my wife, my own. But she would not meet my gaze.

I took her hand and led her towards the bedroom, but she stopped at the warm hearth and would not move. She looked so magical there in the firelight. I unribboned the lattice front of her dirndl dress, but she stayed my hand from undressing her. She took my hand and turned it up to her mouth, kissed the palm, and held it to her cheek. I was too overwhelmed to know or care for how long we stood in our kitchen in silence. I only recall our guests return for their cheerful great shivaree, clattering and screeching outside our little home like some deranged unbridled beast.

I laughed, and she looked up at me with those big doe eyes. But there was only fear in them. A wild eyed fear. How my heart broke for her. I drew her into my arms, my dear sweet thing. I kissed her forehead, my fingers all up in her hair, cradling her sacred head. I kissed her cheek, and found tears upon it. I held her precious face in my hands, lifted her ruby lips to mine – and she bit me! Not playfully at all. A good stinging bite on my lip. I could taste the blood strongly.

She flung herself from my grasp and looked at me. A strange, hungry, fearful look. Of longing and sorrow and – pity. Then she spun towards the window, and seemed ready to throw herself through, but I caught her by the arm. She bristled at my hold and swung at me with long flashing nails. I stopped the blow and held her, bewildered. Whatever had possessed her?!

Panting, she looked down at her straining arms and then flashed me a raging glower I could not even describe, as she bared her sharp teeth in a feral snarl, lashed her long tongue at my face. Her milk white skin became strangely mottled, darker now, then sprouted the blackest hair, as the guests outside hooted and clattered at their pots and pans.

And then she screamed – a great roaring tearing of the air – and my hold was broken. She twisted from me, tore from her dress, and I tried to grab her tail as she leapt and crashed out the window into the night. The clattering ceased, and I stood numb in our suddenly wintry kitchen.

There was an uncertain disquiet amongst the wellwishers outside. They neither knocked nor called out. They just stood, listening. When I opened the door, they looked at me with apprehension and concern. I followed their eyes, to my reddened lips, the wedding dress in my hands. They looked at each other’s moonlit faces and started to chuckle. They nodded and winked conspiratorially, wished me luck, and started on their way from the house.

I turned back into the house, fell into a chair, crushed the dress to my face, and wept.

When dawn came, I was still sat there at the kitchen table with her dress in my hands. Had I slept? I really wasn’t sure. Of all the confused questions mewling through my head, there remained only one answer – I knew I must find her.

The dawn light does not venture far into the forest, but becomes quickly entangled in it’s depths. The shadows seem almost to reach out to tap you on the shoulder, and all manner of echoes seem to whisper from the gloom. But the smell of the forest belonged to her, and I began to understand why she spent happy hours here gathering herbs and flowers. Perhaps she truly belonged here, and her quaint tales of the comings and goings of the deer and rabbits were not silly make believe at all. As I ventured further into the darkness, somehow I began to feel less guarded and concerned.

It did not take me long to find her. She had not run far. Her milk white body lay there naked and curled up warm with the deer and the rabbits.