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lyrics

Wherever I walked, wherever I wandered
with a pilgrim’s staff in my hand,
wherever I strayed into the shallows
barely deeper than the sand,
whatever I saw, whatever I touched
before my footprints faded away,
whatever I struggle to remember,
it’s always gray

Gray as the clouds rolling down the
long dark banks of sky
gray as the ebbing river
and the riverbed growing dry
gray as the hills, gray as the shadows
gray as the coating of dust
on branches, grasses, faces
and tired eyes

There is the smoke, there is the candle
in the window burning bright
there is the cabin on the shore
where all the pilgrims stay the night
there is the hearth, there are the stories
traded back and forth like toys
there is the solitary boy, who says:
Where I come from
the river runs down and the river runs deep
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs clear and the river runs sweet
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs blue and the river runs bright,
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs dark and the river runs wide,
and the river runs over and over.

How could I come on such a story
with a pilgrim’s blood in my veins?
How and not hear the river calling
by a thousand secret names?
But how could I ask him, how could I
make another share his road with me?
How could I answer when he called,
hey, friend, come with me.

I would have followed along
the darkest paths of night.
I would have forded oceans
with the far shore out of sight.
But what do we see, what do we follow?
Only the banks of the same old
river winding gray.
Then there it was
where the river runs down and the river runs deep
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs clear and the river runs sweet
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs blue and the river runs bright,
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs dark and the river runs wide,
and the river runs over and over.

Whether I wish I could leave
the tired world behind,
Whether I want to dream
among the rivers in my mind,
Even if here, even if happy
even together we do as
every pilgrim wants to do
and wander on
There are the hills, there are the golden
grasses finally gone to seed
There are the shadows on the snow
where shades of violet seem to bleed
there is the thaw, there is the trickle
starting slower than the sun,
there is the cabin where I answer now:
Where I come from,
the river runs down and the river runs deep
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs clear and the river runs sweet
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs blue and the river runs bright,
and the river runs over and over,
and the river runs dark, dark and
over and over and
over and over and
over and over again,
over and over.

credits

from Friend in the Dark, released July 1, 2016

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Sassafrass Chicago, Illinois

Sassafrass performs Ada Palmer's original a cappella polyphonic folk music, complex pieces with lively narratives and fantasy, mythology or science fiction themes.

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