CIERZO MOON – Shaun Belcher

SONGS 1999

I took a horse’s head and I dropped it down in black water, Let her come back to me just like those shiny eels oughta, When she went away I had nothing to say, She looked just like Medusa on a bad, bad day. Goin’ down round the bend x2 Horse head bend. I came to her door with a broken heart, She took me in and bathed the scars, After too many nights of gin and whiskey, I didn’t know what was becoming of me. Goin’ down around the bend x2 Horse head bend. Now I know that the road is dark, And covered in rain before I start, The hills are covered deep in snow, There’s nowhere to hide, nowhere to go. Goin’ down around the bend, Horse head bend.

Hail in the ditches, ice on the tyres, We gotta find another road out of here, This way there’s nothing but weeds and briars, We’re tangled up in a past we cannot clear, Can’t see nothing but dusty trees, All around me, nothing but dusty trees. There’s no new crop in the far field, There’s no more walking through the harvest sheaves, Our river’s dead, nothing left to give, A sunken barge is breaking up in the reeds, Above the oily reeds,nothing but dusty trees, All around me nothing but dusty trees. Blood on your finger, a hook in your heart, When you leave here you’ll never look back, Beacause you’ve lost your compass, lost the path And the maps you bought are falling apart. When the sun goes down you can feel the dark, Pouring down through these dusty trees.

I lost my father last autumn, Just as the river started to run, There were leaves upon the water, As we carried his body to the alter, And the rain came back, There was water in the muddy tracks, And the rain came back. Now the old barns are empty, Wind’s rattlin’ through the trees, I’m lookin’ back at what might have been Before things fell apart at the seams, I’m diggin’ a hole for the rotten apples, The one’s the frost turned black, And I’m prayin’ next year’s crop Can be brought in before the rains come back.

MUD OF ‘28
The rain of ‘28 it poured for a month or more, It left a stain right here on the old barn door, And the field you been walking on it used to be all stones, But the mud of ‘28 has turned it all to corn. And the rain never stopped, it never stopped, Down it came Oh Lord, the mud of ‘28. They found two dead calves stuck up in a tree, And Mrs.Johnson’s furniture out in the street. No-one ever knew what happened to that bridge, Or old Tom that fateful night as he was crossing it, Down it came, it poured and poured and poured, No-one could know how much water fell that day and left the mud of’28, the mud of ‘28. When I was a boy I would go down to the river, And watch the coal barges creepin’ through the willows, But next mornin’ in ‘28 they were no longer floatin’ They found one resting beside the general store’s window.

William Turner of Oxford is on his horse, riding between fields and old barn doors. Fields that should be blacker than a widow’s dress, but tonight there’s a comet burning in the west. The frost is building on the thatched walls as William Turner picks up his pen and draws. The light that falls from Donati’s Comet. Well it’s the 5th of October 1858 and the cattle are restless behind the wicker gates. There’s an owl swooping through the beech trees as the comet light sparkles between the reeds. William Turner is up on the Downs tethering his horse and trying to map that comet’s course but as he shields his eyes a tear falls as he realises he’ll never catch it all. The light that falls from Donati’s Comet. Next morning he’s mixing gum and powder on a plate and tracing that comet’s tail with a dark stain. Thinking of all that light that flooded his eyes and how he’ll never see its like again in his time. Leaves are falling one by one into the Thames and a stonemason hammers at a monument to the dead. On his palette the blues and greens turn to black and the chisel chips time into a dark sack.
Donati’s Comet ( Comet 1858 VI ) Recorded by two English artists. Samuel Palmer on Dartmoor and William Turner outside Oxford of which two watercolour paintings exist. Both depicted it around early October when it was most brilliant. see. R.J.M. Olsen : Fire & Ice : A History of Comets in Art.

I’ve been walking these fields since the sun came up, Don’t know who I am, I am not gonna give up, Well the corn is ripe, and it’s about to fall, There’s no need to fight anymore, Walk with me, walk with me, In John Clare’s dream. Sky so blue, trees so green, I watch the fish jumpin’ in a clear blue stream, I’ve been walking these fields since the sun came up, I don’t know which way I’m going in this world I love, The nitrates are drifting, the pesticide is leaking, They’re spraying from the air, I feel I am choking, Somewhere deep in the sap, somewhere on these leaves, I can hear you breathing hard, can hear you scream, Our wells are poisoned, the roots are bare, There’s blood on the landing-stage, how did it get there? The sleet is biting now through the old beech trees, We don’t know if wer’e headed down a one way street. Walk with me to the edge of this stream In John Clare’s dream. Walk with me to the edge of the world.

Another witch been drowned on the ducking-stool Last time she went under she screamed you're all bloody fools As Pastor Thomas was preaching at the air And screaming that the Devil himself better beware He didn't know but he was staring into the Devil's eye All that cold weekend the stars shone bright The drunkards kept the landlord up all night There were horses tethered by the village pond That dragged at their halters all night long Then at break of day they found Pastor Thomas Stretched out stark naked on the King's highway His mouth stuffed tight with a shiny black toad And all around him hoof-prints in the snow Now in the village there's two fresh graves side by side For the Pastor's wife upped and died of fright And in the churchyard's Yew a bird builds a nest That crow's eye, like the devil's eye never rests..

I don't know why you called me back X2 The gutters were full of leaves, the trees brimming with frost There was ice in the drains and we were both lost Calling me back, you were calling me back The trains kept going by so slow From my window I watched the falling of the snow You were calling me back Now the neon cross is shining above the roofs And I don't know what to do It's another winter's day in London And you seem too far away Calling me back, calling me back Those days are calling me back.

Mountain water coloured with mud spills around uprooted logs Yellow water full of bones and gravel drags seawards through fields of stone Collapsing walls held by roots and branches finally topple in a spray of soil and it all dances in cloudy water From Fraga northwards the light slipped away and the land soaked itself in cold rain Roads sparkling with truck lights as the thin desert soil gave way to a greener place The woods grew thicker by the mile derelict barns, ruined castles hills of rock and cloudy water Windscreen still pulsing with passing lights small towns glistened and were gone into the night A strip of bare wall, a lit bar still open A garage forecourt blazing on the outskirts As the night seeped back in I tried to find my barings on a map But drifted off to dream of England As your brother followed his memory and cloudy water splashed under our wheels.

I'm listening to American Music As the Ebro swollen with storm

Throws rocks and trees at the desert as it scours a snake through Aragon Throw a book in these waters and it'll fall before dawn before the sun rises above the mountains and the black bull starts to get warm I fell for you in the shadow of the black bull Every road out takes you into dust past a roadside motel, twenty trucks in a line There are no signposts, no maps just those black bulls turning to rust

I run up the hill waiting for the shutter to fall Waiting for the wind that dries blood to walls I burn in the midday sun Another Englishman lost between dogs and guns As the shutters clatter and dogs bark all night long And dust spits across the roofs I chase the clouds crossing a Cierzo Moon The men who fell here painted white walls red splashing their high hopes across the town hall steps As the shovels clanged in the gravel lined graves and phrasebooks were curling with flames Now the town hall is a ruined shell echoing to the cathedral bells and the fountains are dancing in the deserted square as smoke rises from the house on the hill and I chase the clouds crossing that Cierzo Moon.

Five years ago we slid across this bridge at dawn after a long hot drive from Barcelona. I kept waking up on the back seat to see factories flaring orange against the black hills. All I could taste was desert dust, desert dust. I woke with that dust in my teeth, sweating whilst you lay there perfectly cool and collected. We carry our countries in our blood like a disease that carries us back to the same place in our dreams. Every winter we've swung back across the bridge circling your past in the sparkle of christmas streets. Words have crept into my mouth as I struggle on tongue snagged against the bridge whilst you sail on words. I stare at the back of another car doused with torrents of rain as tail-lights burn in the wet roads and palm trees sway I stare at the roads as summer's dust clogs the drains. The dust, desert dust that will cover my grave