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Computer Cowboy (CD-EXTRA content)

Music & lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond

We put this song on the CD-ROM portion of Pegasus because by the time I released that CD, some lyrics were already obsolete.
(see “unplugs his modem,” etc., below). 

He used to own a pony, now he’s got no time to ride
instead he’s got a mouse thing with a clicker on either side
he used to stick to the range now he says “I go where I please” (and he does!)
‘cuz instead of punchin’ cattle this cowboy is punchin’ keys

Chorus:
He’s my computer cowboy,
cruisin’ down that lonesome information trail
he’s my computer cowboy, obsessing with his new toy
while me I’m prayin’ that the power’s gonna fail

These days he’s crazy ’bout Adobe and he’s quick on the Corel Draw
but still he keeps insistin’ that his system has a major flaw
he says “I need a bigger hard drive to improve my capability, and I say
“Honey, get a life! The one that you’ve got sure looks plenty big enough to me.”

CHORUS
He exits at eleven, says he’s feeling tired
he unplugs his modem but I’m still wired
so we go to the drive-in but it just ain’t fair
I can’t sit on his lap ’cuz his laptop’s there!

I got my own software package, it’s the kind that makes other men sweat
but he don’t seem to notice ’cuz he’s too busy surfin’ the Net
we used to ride all night in the moonlight’s silvery sheen
but now the only dates we have are by the light of his monitor screen

CHORUS

Why look at that, the screen went blank!
I wonder what goddess I have to thank?
come on honey, you can fix it later
I think it’s time that we merged our data
what’s that you say, you want to reboot?
well I hope that’s just your way of being cute
now listen to me, you cyber scout
if you reboot I’m gonna boot you out!

CHORUS

When Leonard Cohen Sings (CD-EXTRA content)

Music & lyrics:  Marie-Lynn Hammond

Written in the mid 1990s, this song is now several Leonard-Cohen-girlfriends out of date…

I’m sitting in a coffee shop one ordinary day
the radio is blaring out an ordinary tune
ah but then a Leonard Cohen song comes on and right away
the sun sets and the sky turns dark, save for a mournful moon
and the customers start waltzing in a slow and dreamy fashion
and the cashier weeps remembering some ancient crime of passion
and yet I’m not surprised – I know these are the kinds of things
that happen when Leonard Cohen sings

It’s four a.m. on Clinton street, I’m feeling pretty low
so I strum my favourite Leonard tunes and I haven’t long to wait
till the sky fills up with fireworks, or bombs for all I know
and Joan of Arc comes riding by and stops before my gate
and her soldiers fill the streets and now they’re bursting through my doorway
and Joan just shrugs when I demand the reason for this foray
and yet I’m not afraid – I know these are the kinds of things
that happen when Leonard Cohen sings

Ah when Leonard Cohen sings
the broken dove flies up on trembling wings
and I become a child again and yet I’m as old as time
I am the song of Solomon, I am a nursery rhyme
I sit here in the dark regretting all my hopeless flings
when Leonard Cohen sings

Bridge:
And when he sings “Show me slowly what I only know the limits of,
dance me to the end of love,” it takes my breath away
for those lines I’ll forgive his tinny synthesizer solos
I’ll even forgive him that Rebecca de Mornay!
la la la la la la la la la la la
la la la la la la la la la 

I’m in a huge cathedral now and Leonard’s standing near
my hands are gnarled and spotted, my hair is thin and grey
and I don’t know how this came about, I don’t know why I’m here
but I was humming “Closing Time” when I woke up today
and the saints above and fiends below are battling to possess me
till Leonard smiles and tenderly commences to caress me
he is my Prince of Darkness and he is my King of Kings
and I die happy, as Leonard Cohen sings

Ah when Leonard Cohen sings
the trembling dove flies up on mended wings
and I become a child again and yet I’m as old as time
I am the song of Solomon, I am a nursery rhyme
I yearn for pure and burning love detached from all its strings
when Leonard Cohen sings
when Leonard Cohen sings

Douce (pour Denise)

music: M.L. Hammond/M. Lerner   Lyrics & translation: Paul Savoie

on peut avoir le même toit
du sang au même sang melée
chacun part de son côté
chacun suit sa destinée

on partage les mêmes joies
la même peur vient nous troubler
toi, tu en parles tous bas
moi la rage vient m’emporter

Refrain:
moi je me fais toujours prendre
j’ai la passion à mes trousses
toi, tu ne sais pas toujours te défendre
tu es la tendre, tu es la douce

ah ta jolie robe bleue
ruban de velours dans tes cheveux
promenade jusqu’au bout du chemin
ta petite main dans ma main

la vie t’appelle à sa façon
le cœur à d’autres mêlés
l’amour fait ses propres plans
tu cherches d’autres vérités

mais il ya ce lien secret
personne ne peut nous l’enlever
de sœur en sœur l’amour discret
cette force qui sait tout défoncer

Refrain

Translation:
we lived under the same roof
the same blood ran through our veins
still we went our separate ways
different voices calling us

we share similar joys
an old familiar fear within us
you speak of it with lowered voice
I shout it on the rooftops

Chorus:
I always end up cornered
a prey to passion’s fury
at times it overwhelms you
you are the gentle and tender one

ah that pretty blue dress
velvet ribbons in your hair
walking to the far end of the road
your tiny hand in mine

life sets its own rules
you give yourself to other hearts
love has its way of calling
you find other truths

but a secret tie remains
a bond no one can sever
sisterhood’s quiet love
its endless power

Chorus

Omaha

Music & Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond
For my sister Denise (1952-1999)

I’m in some motel room in Omaha
I’m not sure why I’m here
it’s supposed to be about the music
but these days nothing is very clear
nobody knows me in Omaha
nobody meets my eyes
I walk the streets invisible
like I’m wearing some disguise

there’s a river by the highway in Omaha
and paths on its grassy banks
and a little arched bridge like in a Japanese print
and I cross on its wooden planks
and the slanting light is silvery gold
the way it gets at the end of the day
and though it’s only Omaha
it’s like a painting by Monet

And you’re the one I’d have shared this with
who’d have seen just what I’d seen
who knew about light and shadow
and the infinite shades of green
you were the one always took the most
delight in my delight
so now I keep these things inside
where they never shine so bright

oh once there were three sisters
just like in an old folk tale
and the gentlest one had eyes of blue
and skin so fine and pale
but someone put a spell on her
and we watched her fade away
and no white witch or faerie queen
turned up to save the day

so I went to sleep in this motel room
and in the morning on the floor
I found a small grey perfect feather I swear
wasn’t there the night before
but even if I believed in ghosts
or that supernatural stuff
I’d be lying if I said a sign
like this would ever be enough

still I took that feather and I tucked it in
with the picture I carry of you
in the face of the unspeakable, I mean
what else is there to do?
And the sun still rises every day
and the world keeps spinning blind
but me it seems I’m frozen here
in the space you left behind

so I’m writing these lines in Omaha
because writing’s all I’ve got
though I’m thinking now that it’s a pretty poor bridge
between what is and what is not
and I’d trade all the music in the world
all the paintings by Monet
oh I would gladly give my voice
to have you back just one more day

I’m in some motel room in Omaha
and I’m not sure why I’m here

Isabeau s’y promène

Trad., arr. Hammond, Leighton, Woodhead

Isabeau s’y promène le long de son jardin
le long de son jardin sur le bord de l’île
le long de son jardin sur le bord de l’eau
sur le bord du vaisseau

elle fit une rencontre de trente matelots…
le plus jeune des trente il se mit a chanter…
la chanson que tu chantes je voudrais la savoir…
embarque dans ma barque je te la chanterai…
quand elle fut dans la barque elle se mit a pleurer…
qu’avez-vous donc la belle, qu’a-vous a tant pleurer…
je pleure mon anneau d’or, dans l’eau-z-il a tombé…
ne pleurez-point la belle, je vous la plongerai…
de la première plonge, il n’a rien ramèné…
de la seconde plonge, l’anneau-z-a voltigé…
de la troisième plonge, le galant s’est noyé…

Translation:
Isabeau walks the length of her garden
on the shore of the island
at the water’s edge
alongside of the ship

she meets a band of sailors and the youngest starts to sing…
that song you’re singing, I’d like to learn it…
come board my ship and I will sing it for you…
when she was on board, she started to weep…
why are you crying, my pretty one…
I weep for my gold ring, which has fallen into the water…
don’t cry, my pretty one, I will dive and get it for you…
on the first dive, he came up empty-handed…
on the second dive, the ring spun away from him…
on the third dive, the young man drowned…

When I Was Twelve

Music & Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond

when I was twelve
my daddy and me
stood on a point of golden sand
and looked out over the water
his eyes were blue as the sky
we watched the sailboats flashing by
and all I knew or needed to know
was that I was his precious daughter
then he told me about his twelfth year
he went to a fancy private school
full of British pretensions and hard, hard rule
but oh the school was on the water
and when the daily lessons were done
how he loved to take a boat and sail
into the setting sun

and the gulls traced circles over our heads
time traced its circles too
and oh something was slipping away
into the blue

but the world can turn right over
in the space of a day or year
or in the time it takes for a little sailboat
to appear or disappear
and the masts are split and rotted now
the canvas sails are torn
out of the bay of innocence
this broken ship is born

here is a picture of a girl and a man
far in the background sails a tiny catamaran
his face is in shadow
hers is rather blurred
like she’s turning to a distant sound
she thinks she might have heard
and the boat sails on forever
on these fading swells of grey
the girl and man stand side by side
yet each slightly leaning away

and the gulls trace circles over their heads
time traces circles too
and oh something is slipping away
into the blue

whisky tumbler in his hand
and when he lets it fall
the spangled glass will spark and crash
like a wave against a wall
a piece will lodge deep in her heart
and thirty years will pass
before time enough and tears have
washed away the jagged glass

now once again
my daddy and me
we’re on a point of golden sand
and I’m looking out over the water
I open up the vessel
I’m letting something go
see how light the ashes fly
as the warm June breezes blow

and it’s just like swirls of golden smoke
like sand as fine as dreams
while out on the horizon
a white sail gleams
he’s finally going home
but I wonder what about me
as I watch the air grow blue again
I’m either free—or else I’m empty

when I was twelve…

Snow Song

Music & Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond

quanniqtaq – snow that has recently fallen
kavisilaq – snow that’s been roughened by frost or rain
quisuquq – snow that has melted and then been frozen again

pataqun – snow that sparkles by moonlight
apingaut – the very first fall of autumn snow
piqsiqtuk – snow that will fly in the air when the polar winds blow

this is the world we live in
to survive we have to know
not just the ways of the animals
but also the ways of the snow
will the sleds get stuck when the snow’s too soft
can we walk, or is it too deep
will it drift around our snow house door
through the long night while we sleep

quanniqtaq – snow that has recently fallen
kavisilaq – snow that’s been roughened by frost or rain
quisuquq – snow that has melted and then been frozen again

your city has streets and each has a name
you’d never think they were all the same
so it is with us, our city is snow
and it’s never the same two days in a row
so we name each change, each difference we see
you have one word “snow,” we have twenty-three…

oh, snow like powder, snow like crystal
hard snow, soft snow
heavy and light snow
snow in a ripple and snow in a drift
wet snow, frozen snow
falling-at-night snow

pataqun – snow that sparkles by moonlight
apingaut – the very first fall of autumn snow
piqsiqtuk – snow that will fly in the air when the polar winds blow

Keyboard Kitty

Music & Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond

To hear this song, go to my music-player

I share my house with half a dozen felines
it wasn’t planned, it just turned out that way
and one thing I have found when you have animals around
is that you’ll never have another boring day

oh a kitty must have walked across my keyboard
when I went downstairs to get myself a snack
a kitty must have walked across my keyboard
’cause this was on the screen when I got back

(it said) AAAA EEEE S O S O G I P P
, , , , [ ] [ ] I X L 4 U
AAAA EEEE U C Y I M A Q T
1 2 3 U R A Q T 2

at first I thought this was some coded message
from aliens who’d come from outer space
but then I saw Miss Pippin slinking underneath my desk
with a smug yet guilty look upon her face

oh always thought my cats were pretty clever
but frankly this display was something new
hey bp nichol better move on over
this kitty she’s more avant-guarde than you

She wrote AAAA (etc.)

on Friday my computer wasn’t working
I called some geeky expert to my house
he fiddled for an hour then he charged me ninety bucks and said
“Your problem’s too much cat hair in your mouse!”

“Too much cat hair in my mouse?”
“Too much cat hair in your mouse—
lady, my advice is get these cats out of your house!”
I said “Mister you don’t know me or you’d probably change your pitch
now I don’t mean to sound catty but computers drive me batty,
while the kitties are my treasure and they bring me so much pleasure
so if something’s gotta go it’s the computer that I’m gonna ditch!”

oh a kitty must have walked across my keyboard
when I went downstairs to get myself a snack
a kitty must have walked across my keyboard
’cause this was on the screen when I came back

It said AAAA etc.

The Canadian
(Le P’tit Cheval De Fer)

Music: M.L. Hammond/D. Woodhead    Lyrics: M.L. Hammond

The Canadian Horse was declared the National Horse of Canada by an act of Parliament in 2002, but most Canadian citizens, sadly, have still never heard of it. In the 1960s these horses were close to extinction, but the current numbers are around 6,000.  Smallish, tough and powerful, incredibly smart and versatile, they deserve far more recognition! More info:http://is.gd/HqfMgr

Well he’s not too big and he’s not too tall                        
overall he’s kinda small
next to your Clydes or your fancy breeds
you mightn’t give him a second look
heavy mane and tail, broad round back,
Not too flashy, usually brown or black
but here’s a case where you shouldn’t be goin’        
by the cover to judge the book

now my grandpapa he used to say
when he was a young man in Gaspé
he had a mare like that, a Canadian they called Rosette
ploughing fields, hauling rocks or wood
that little horse was better than good
you could ride or drive her 50 miles and she’d never even break a sweat

and Grandpapa made up a song that he’d sing to that little mare all day long –

Chorus:
Mon p’tit canadien
mon p’tit cheval de fer             

My former Canadian (photo by Sue Byford)

a’ec sa tête en l’air
pis sa belle crinière
y’est pas ben grand
y’est pas ben gros
mais y’est fort comme le diable
pis ben plus beau!
diddle aï don, marche donc giddy-up   
Mon p’tit canadien

Translation:
My little Canadian
my little iron horse
with its head held proudly
and its beautiful mane
it’s not very tall
and not very heavy
but it’s strong as the devil
and much handsomer!
diddle aï don, get along, giddy-up
My little Canadian

oh my grandpapa he left Quebec
he took his mare and he made the trek
by rail to North Alberta where good land was almost free
the farmers there all laughed of course
at the little French guy with his little French horse
figured they wouldn’t last too long out on the vast prairie

But they all stopped laughing when that mare
out-pulled every horse at the county fair
and word got round she had legs of steel
and was never lame a day
gentle as a pup and twice as smart
an easy keeper with a great big heart
but that’s your Canadian horse, my friend,
and I’ll tell you how they got that way

See, there’s royal blood in their pedigree
’cause the Sun King sent them here by sea
he chose the best from his stables
for his noblemen in New France
and some never made it through the winter gales
but the horses that did grew tough as nails
and strong and clever, and wove their way
through history at every chance

Chorus

they were there on the Plains of Abraham
carrying men fighting under Montcalm
they were prized by the Yanks as trotters, and mounts in their Civil war
they were ridden by the North West Mounted Police
in that sad campaign against the Métis
and they stood their ground in World War I through the battle’s bloody roar

now ain’t that just the Canadian way it goes
to have something special and no one knows
and to let it fade and dwindle till it almost disappears
thirty years ago they were almost gone
but the Little Iron Horse is hanging on
and I figure they deserve to be around for the next four hundred years

now my father he spoke French all right
but he married my mama who’s a Mennonite
so though my name’s Labelle, I never learned how to parlez-vous
but I understand my granddad’s song
some days I sing it all day long
to my little black horse and he pricks his ears, ’cause I swear he understands it too!

Chorus

More links: http://www.lechevalcanadien.ca

http://www.canadianhorselink.com/


 

Pegasus

Music & Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond

On Mount Olympus late one day
the gods were lounging in the sun
feeling bored yet mischievous
so they made a flying horse for fun

But gods are easily distracted
our messy world is proof enough
they made a single winged steed
and then moved on to other stuff

Oh Pegasus sailed through the heavens
he chased the winds so wild and free
yet wondered if it might get lonely
flying solo for eternity

Chorus:
Oh Pegasus is marvellous
but what a fate, he has no mate
immortal creature I am not
but otherwise I can relate

And once in every hundred years
on earth he’d plant his dainty feet
beside a fountain where the grasses
yielded up a tender treat

Bellerophon hid by the fountain
a magic bridle in his hand
the horse touched down and he leapt on
the steed was under his command

Great Pegasus rose up in fury
he bucked and plunged and fought the bit
although he knew the spell was strong
and in the end he must submit

Chorus

Bellerophon then felt remorse
he took the bridle from the horse
who reared in joy then flew up high
his wings like snow against the sky

The man lay down to sleep and dream
of old regrets and vanished grace
awoke to see a feather drift
while velvet muzzle grazed his face…

Sometimes I think I see them flying
a silver shimmer in the air
there’s still just one of Pegasus
but now he’s not quite solitaire

I think the gods made only one of me
a soul mate’s clearly not to be
but I too might settle if I could
a mere companion would be good

Chorus