(Early version, recorded live on my iPhone outside in the Italian Garden at Harlaxton Manor, June 11, 2015. Blackbirds sang for free.)
Richard, he loved Alice Frye, who thought everyone was strange.
Samuel, he loved Elsinore. They were just 19 and change.
“As for me, I…I love everyone,” muttered James behind a chair.
He didn’t have a someone then, and he swore he didn’t care.
And there were many hours when we’d walk straight into the flames,
And I would laugh at danger with Richard, Samuel, and James.
High up in a tower room, an English manor’s mad design.
Was that a ghost or were we dreaming fools? That haunted church was down the line.
We studied lost philosophies and burned a hole inside of time,
Discovered hidden passageways, unlocked with esoteric rhyme.
And I felt I held the power to summon gods with secret names
And fight my way to freedom’s shore with Richard, Samuel, and James.
This was a thousand years ago, the year Dick Nixon doped the laws,
Somebody else’s President, well… we could see his tragic flaws.
We were reading William Blake, Thomas Paine, and Kerouac,
Singing “Mrs. Robinson,” “Let It Be,” and “Paint It Black.”
The bankers and the lawyers would have us bow before their claims,
But I found my reality in Richard, Samuel and James.
One morning Sugar Bill passed through, and Alice Frye crept to his bed.
Richard wasn’t rich enough or strange enough or so she said.
And Elsinore tripped Samuel. She loved Renaldo from St. Croix,
Who blew the blues on saxophone. He was a man and not a boy.
And when it all came crashing down from Tower Bridge into the Thames,
I stood at the inquest of the deaths of Richard, Samuel, and James.
Now you may scoff and you may scorn and say my story’s just a lark.
But none of that can blind me now. I hold a lantern in the dark.
I got no time for those who can’t or won’t read a book or sing a song,
Who bleed the world and stomp and hiss that no one but the filthy rich belong.
The bankers and the lawyers will never snare me with their games.
I’d rather walk the underworld with Richard, Samuel, and James.
Harlaxton Manor, June 2015; Evendale, Summer 2019