Lyrics

Lyrics for the album “Ingenious Plans

 

Music and lyrics by John Phillip Korbel

Copyright 2014

“Just Like Amelia Earhart, She’s Long Gone”

With her lips pressed to my lips in a parting Judas kiss

I felt a sense of loss at odds with Kansas City’s summer weather

When her plane took off into the sky

My eyes were wet; her eyes were dry

I couldn’t figure why ‘till I went home and found the letter

 

Just like Amelia Earhart, she’s long gone                  

Flying away from me into the setting sun                 

At the airport I stood and stared

Watched her vanish in the air

Just like Amelia Earhart, she’s long gone      

           

A failed search and rescue, there’s no wreckage here to sift through

She said goodbye and ditched our love into the open sea

Where she’s now I have no notion

Perhaps the bottom of the ocean

No clues have washed ashore, so there’s no closure here for me

 

Just like Amelia Earhart, she’s long gone                  

Flying away from me into the setting sun                 

At the airport I stood and stared

Watched her vanish in the air

Just like Amelia Earhart, she’s long gone      

 

I’ve not a single clue, not a Cat’s Paw shoe

Even after the beaches have been combed

Though Gardner Island keeps its silence

And the ocean keeps her secrets

There are rumors of natives finding bones

But all the theories that I hear always sound so insincere

So I’m left with the undisputed fact

That she chose to fly away on that sunny summer day

And the odds are good she’s never coming back

 

Just like Amelia Earhart, she’s long gone                  

Flying away from me into the setting sun                 

At the airport I stood and stared

Watched her vanish in the air

Just like Amelia Earhart, she’s long gone      

 

 

 

 

Lyrics for the album “So Much Depends on the Weather”

Sunflowers

‘Twas a most unpleasant business on a gray midwinter’s day,
Digging Mrs. Murphy’s grave in Connemara clay
Fr. Nolen and the mourners through the mud had trudged away
Leaving me and Michael in our soiled Sunday shirts
To lower her down in the hole and cover her with dirtThe light of elfish mischief glowed in Michael’s hazel eyes
He suggested that we open up the coffin one last time:
“Let’s supplement our wages with the gold coins on her eyes.
We’ll take those coins down to the pub, the barmaid we will pay
And with countless rounds of porter drown the sorrows of this day.“Those coins on her eyes should buy rounds for the county;
She’s no longer troubled by earthly concerns.
On the shore where she’s landed, the sun shines so brightly
The sunflowers don’t know which way they should turn.”“Michael, have you lost what little sense you had inside you head?
That gold’s the Coachman’s recompense for shuttling the dead.
Without those coins he’ll leave her soul down in this earthen bed.
She’ll never see Lord Jesus Christ as Resurrected King,
And never with God’s angels will that gorgeous alto sing.”“Sean, you’ve blurred The Church’s teachings with the Irish myths of old;
No Coachman shuttles mortal souls to Heaven’s streets of gold.
The blood that spilled on Calvary’s hill pays ransom for our souls.
But to ease your troubled mind about our newly gotten wealth,
We’ll dedicate each round we buy to Mrs. Murphy’s health.“Those coins on her eyes could buy rounds at O’Kelly’s;
She’s no longer troubled by earthly concerns.
On the shore where she’s landed, the sun shines so brightly
The sunflowers don’t know which way they should turn.”“Sean, whose likeness is stamped on those two golden coins?”
“It’s the likeness of our English king.”
“Do you honestly think they’d admit her to Heaven
Carrying two pictures of that foreign devil?
Give to Caesar what’s Caesar’s; to God what is God’s.
Spend those coins at O’Kelly’s; don’t waste them beneath the sod.”So with the coins on her eyes we bought rounds for the county;
She’s no longer troubled by earthly concerns.
On the shore where she’s landed, the sun shines so brightly
The sunflowers don’t know which way they should turn.

The Lost Sweater

Our captain gave the order: “All ye hands, abandon ship!”
As our fishing vessel sank beneath the North Atlantic Drift
I stripped of my sailing sweater; let it slip beneath the waves
For to swim while wearing wool would make this gray ocean my grave.
My own dear wife handmade for me that lovely woolen sweater
And pledged it to St. Nicholas, The Patron Saint of Sailors
Begging for his intercession “over he who wears this wool.
Pray that angels guard him while at sea and guide him safely home.”.
The sheep from which she sheared the wool, it surely was enchanted
Perhaps it grazed upon the grass of yonder fairylands
For a sinful pride came o’er my wife that never found release
She acts as though that sweater’s made of Jason’s Golden Fleece.
She took such pride in knitting that wool sweater
It surely was a work of art to see
Enamored of the beauty she created
She came to love that sweater more than me.
So perhaps I aught recant my prayer to The Patron Saint of Sailors
Perhaps I aught to praise the Lord for the sea’s tempestuous weather
Perhaps it’s truly better that I drown beneath the foam
For my wife will give me hell should I come home without that sweater.
By an eastward-sailing merchant vessel finally I was found
But before they hauled me up I asked, “Wherever are ye bound?”
When a Yankee sailor said, “We plan to land in Galway Bay.”
I cried, “If that’s the case, I’d much prefer you left me on the waves..
“Lads, I lost my sailing sweater when my ship sank here at sea.
‘Twas a splendid handmade garment that my wife loves more than me.
She’d rather find my bloated corps upon the beach after the storm
Than to see me safe and sound without the magic wool she spun.”.
Their captain said he sympathized completely
He said he’d do the same if he were me
And though I know it truly pained them deeply,
They left me to my fate out on the sea.
They said, “Perhaps you aught recant your prayer to The Patron Saint of Sailors
Perhaps you aught to praise the Lord for the sea’s tempestuous weather
Perhaps it’s truly better that you drown beneath the foam
For your wife will give me hell should you come home without that sweater.”

.
So perhaps I aught recant my prayer to The Patron Saint of Sailors
Perhaps I aught to praise the Lord for the sea’s tempestuous weather
Perhaps it’s truly better that I drown beneath the foam
For my wife will give me hell should I come home without that sweater

Beal na mBlath

Lyrics partially inspired by Tim Pat Coogan, Seaums Heaney, and Tobias Wolfe
.
Upon its entrance the bullet triggers a synaptic lightning flash
That illuminates a pathway to a childhood summer long since past
The Blossom Gap, The Pass of Flowers, treacherous blooms at Beal na mBlath
Are overshadowed by a memory—the musty hayloft of a barn
.
He crawled over the apple blossoms his sisters strewed across the loft
Their floral carpet concealed the trapdoor that their father had left unlocked
The girls gasped as the floor beneath their younger brother gave way
He was swallowed by the mouth of flowers, down the chute onto a pile of hay
.
A mild reproach from their father after the boy emerged unscathed:
“Girls, you must look after Michael; he’ll do great work for Ireland someday.”
Several years later, on his deathbed, he’d repeat that prophetic phrase:
“Mark my words: Your brother, Michael, will do great work for Ireland someday.”
.
But sadly this sweet reverie must come to an end
A fleeting dream evaporates with the August morning dew
But for now, there’s still time to linger in his father’s house
Time enough to linger until the bullet crashes through
.
Then the bullet makes its exit into the West Cork evening air
Dragging its comet’s tail of memory, leaving the hopeful to despair
And a nation drunk on its nostalgia, forever waiting for winter’s thaw
What might have been had Michael Collins emerged a second time from Beal na mBlath

The Stain

Oh, well do I remember that bleak November day
I was stationed as an Airman out at Andrews Air Force Base
I can’t forget the moment you descended from the plane
For you refused to change your skirt so they would see the stain

The woolen suite you wore was pink with matching pillbox hat
You looked like a drift of blossoms on the navy Lincoln’s back
Zapruder’s homemade movie blurs the colors like Monett
But clearly I remember the vivid crimson stain

You were mindful of the photographs the press would surely take
From Parkland to Bethesda, The Oath inside the plane
“They need to see what they have done,” Mrs. Johnson heard you say
So you refused to change your suite so they would see the stain

Oh, The Dallas Times-Herald said it might rain
But the Texas sun beamed down on your motorcade
If only the bulletproof top had remained,
How many lives might have changed for the better?
So much depends on the weather

Then Monday found you wearing black, your children, powder blue
Your son salutes the casket like he sees the soldiers do
Of all the symbols of your grief—the graves eternal flame—
The one that I remember first will always be the stain

The Lower Ninth Ward

O, August Twenty-Ninth of Two-Thousand-Five is our Ruination Day
Damn that Hurricane Katrina; she breached our levee walls
And then washed my poor neighborhood away
And I’m pushin’ all I got in a shopping cart—a few things I managed to save
And I’m tryin’ to get my babies to a modern Noah’s Ark—
The stadium that’s home to The Saints
.
Don’t it figure that The Saints is givin’ comfort to the poor?
Their Superdome’s become our shelter of last resort
Won’t you send down your angels to save us, O Lord?
‘Cause the water’s gettin’ high in the Lower Ninth Ward
.
Well, I don’t know why or how our levees and canals
Couldn’t keep all that water at bay
But St. Bernard, oh, won’t you pray as your parish floats away
That we’d all live to see another day
And I shoulda made a trip across the Mighty Mississip
Steada hangin’ round and waitin’ ‘till today
But my home’s the Mighty Ninth, and it’s a home that’s mighty fine
When a place is home, that’s where you wanna stay
.
So we’re grateful that The Saints is givin’ comfort to the poor
Their Superdome’s become our shelter of last resort
Won’t you send down your angels to save us, O Lord?
‘Cause the water’s gettin’ high in the Lower Ninth Ward
.
So we’re grateful that The Saints is givin’ comfort to the poor
Their Superdome’s become our shelter of last resort
Won’t you send down your angels to save us, O Lord?
‘Cause the water’s gettin’ high in the Lower Ninth Ward
.
When the saints go marching in, oh when the saints go marching in
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the saints go marching in
And when the stars refuse to shine, when the stars refuse to shine
Lord, how I want to be in that number
When the stars refuse to shine

Sober as a Judge

Johnny was a Yankee tourist, which was well and good
But he couldn’t hold his liquor like his father could
At Kennedy’s Public he followed his bilss
To say he was tipsy would be remiss
With fourteen pints of Guinness in him, Johnny, he was pissed
So when Johnny cried, “More porter please,” the barmaid said, “You’re done.
O, I’m not tryin’ to be your mamm, but you’ve had too much fun.”
“I’m sober as a judge,” says he, “as any fool can see.
For Guinness Extra Stout is just like mother’s milk to me.”
After fourteen pints of Guinness stout, old Johnny’s speech was slurred
Obscenities began to follow every other word
When he started rattling on about how De Valera had sold us out
A fellow at the bar said he’d better shut his mouth
So when Johnny called, “Another round,” the barmaid said, “Pipe down.
If I served a man as pissed as you, the guards would shut me down.”
“I’m sober as a judge,” says he, “as any fool can see
For Guinness Extra Stout is just like mother’s milk to me.”
Like a prophet to the Israelites, old Johnny began to preach
His thunderous oration to the heavens surely reached
Our priests had made us Irish slaves and dug Parnell an early grave
And God bless Michael Collins, for he gave us our Irish State
So when Johnny cried, “I’m dyin’ o’ thirst,” the barmaid said, “No more.
If you pester me just one more time, I’ll show you to the door.”
“I’m sober as a judge,” says he, “as any fool can see.
For Guinness Extra Stout is just like mother’s milk to me.”
Old Johnny said, “I never thought I’d live to see the night
When a prodigal son of Ireland was denied The Sacred Pint.
I thought I’d escaped the Volsted curse; O, Prohibition is surely the worst.
I crossed the ocean blue, but still I cannot slake my thirst.”
‘Twas shortly after that, old Johnny passed out on the floor
But he started coming to as we dragged him out the door
“I’m sober as a judge,” says he, “as any fool can see.
For Guinness extra milk is just like mother’s stout to me.
O, bring me back inside, me boys

We Wore Away the Gold

On tattered shoes we trod the streets of our new home
Oh, America’s a road that leads to Rome—
A gilded dream that lost its luster like the cobblestones
Since we wore away the gold

The stones we dug for fences while down upon our knees
Stand like somber monuments beneath the trees
For those who died of hunger and our landlord’s apathy,
Whose ghostly fingers point across the sea

And in my dreams, I can still hear them singing
In my ears, empty promises ringing like requiem bells

.
Rejoice! Rejoice, hungry sons of Ireland!
America will save you from famine
Rejoice! Rejoice! I swear it’s just as you were told—
A land where all the streets are paved with gold

Of America we dreamed, to America we sailed
Where the grand experiment in justice failed
Where the tired huddled masses, the hungry and the poor
Fought on the front lines of your Civil War

.
And in my dreams, I can still hear them singing
In my ears, empty promises ringing like requiem bells

Rejoice! Rejoice, hungry sons of Ireland!
America will save you from famine
Rejoice! Rejoice! I swear it’s just as you were told—
A land where all the streets are paved with gold
Oh, America awaits the fate of Rome—
A gilded dream that lost its luster like the cobblestones
Since we wore away the gold

Our tattered shoes wore away the gold
Our marching feet wore away the gold
The blood we shed wore away the gold
The blood we bled wore away the gold…

This Irish Winter Sky

At dawn you’ll sail away, my love, from Erin’s eastern shore
To manufacture bullets for the Tommies and the Yanks
And in this subtle way, my love, you’ll help them win the war
And keep food upon our children’s plates and clothes upon their backs
.
When we leave you at the boat at dawn, we mustn’t shed a tear
We’ll present a strong façade to ease our children’s anxious hearts
For to keen in front of our wee lads would just confirm their fears
So the rain from Dublin’s winter clouds must substitute for tears
And the rain from Dublin’s winter clouds will substitute for tears
.
Just say, “I’ll see you soon.” And I’ll say, “I’ll see you soon.”
And I’ll say that I’ll miss you, and you’ll say that you’ll miss me
But this Irish winter sky will be so gray
Will be so gray
Will be so gray
When you leave
.
All the drunkards down at old Finn’s pub are grateful for the war
With Britain’s guns preoccupied, they hope to gain the North
I’m sorry for the poor young men the fighting’s claimed, yet still,
I’m grateful for the factory job they left for you to fill
.
So say, “I’ll see you soon.” And I’ll say, “I’ll see you soon.”
And I’ll say that I’ll miss you, and you’ll say that you’ll miss me
But this Irish winter sky will be so gray
Will be so gray
Will be so gray
When you leave

Why the Robin’s Breast is Red: A Welsh Fairytale

When I was a boy of only three
My grandmother reprimanded me
Saying, “Never through stones at the robin redbreast
That made his nest in the churchyard tree.
Never throw stones at redbreast birds
That nest in churchyard trees.

.
“Have you not heard how the merciful bird
Earned glory and eternal fame
When he gathered dewdrops on his little bill
And flew boldly through eternal flames?
This noble bird was burned as he dropped the dew
On sinful souls that know no rest
And the scorch marks from the flames of Hell
Can still be seen upon the robin’s breast.”

.
When I was a boy of only three
My grandmother reprimanded me
Saying, “Never through stones at the robin redbreast
That made his nest in the churchyard tree.
Never throw stones at redbreast birds
That nest in churchyard trees.

The Disappointed Bones of St. Francis

Oh, the soul of the saint lying naked in the dirt is a canary in a cage
Who knows the time is at hand—to the bosom of Abraham he now can fly away
He pleaded, “Strip me of my habit. And lay my body down,
Parchment skin against the earth. Remember thou art dust,
And unto dust thou shall return.”
.
I’m sure his thoughts drifted back to the day he disrobed at our bishop’s holy court
Thereby renouncing every claim the material world had upon his youthful soul
Thus began the holy courtship of Brother Francis the saint and his humble bride-to-be
Today he died in the arms of his ever-loving wife, lovely Lady Poverty
.
We drew solace from the wounds on his hands and his feet
That corresponded with our Lord’s
Then we decided to entomb the remains of the saint beneath the chapel he restored
But humble San Domiano’s wasn’t glamorous enough for the authorities in Rome
The Pope Himself traveled north to commission a new church and to lay its cornerstone
.
When The Son of Man returns, flesh and bones will be redeemed
And reunited with the souls of the saints who fell asleep,
Who were guided The Spirit of our True and Risen Lord
On that day, our Father Francis will look with wonder upon the place his bones were laid
And then, humbly, he will say, “It wasn’t meant to be this way; of this I always was afraid.”
.
Oh, the soul of the saint lying naked in the dirt is a canary in a cage
Who knows the time is at hand—to the bosom of Abraham he now can fly away
He pleaded, “Strip me of my habit. And lay my body down,
Parchment skin against the earth. Remember thou art dust,
And unto dust thou shall return.”