How I Spent My Fall Vacation - Bruce Cockburn

    sun went down looking like the eye of God
    behind icy mist and stark bare trees
    inside the dim empty cinema 2 guys in leather
    jackets glance at each other and shiver
    "they never built these places with winter in mind"
    out the window down the gray road you can see
    old walled monastery
    now become a barracks for the paramilitary police

    i saw an old lady's face once on a Japanese train
    half lit, rich and soft luminosity
    she was dozing straight upright head bobbing almost imperceptibly
    wheels were playing fast in 9/8 time
    her husband's friendly face suddenly folded up in a sneeze
    across the straight a volcano flew a white smoke flag of surrender

    in a Roman street on a full moon night
    i was sick and there was a young cop in a circle
    of yellow light
    as we drew near he snapped the safety off his
    machine pistol and slid a trembling finger
    to the trigger
    i wanted to say something calming but couldn't
    catch his eye
    he didn't want contact -- he was trained to
    see movement
    "well don't shoot me man i'm a graceful slow dancer
    i'm just a dream to you not real at all"

    i wonder if i'll end up like Bernie in his dream
    a displaced person in some foreign border town
    waiting for a train part hope part myth while the
    station changes hands
    or just sitting at home growing tenser with the times
    or like that guy in "The Seventh Seal" watching the
    newly dead dance across the hills
    or wearing this leather jacket shivering with a
    friend while the eye of God blazes at us like
    the sun...

    (Autumn '79 Pavia, Hokkaido, Paris)


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