Lamb Street Refugee -- a tribute by JP Merzetti
March 29, 2007
Lamb Street Refugee – a tribute. JP Merzetti
I am a man haunted by a song. It is not just that I know the writer of it, a little bit, that causes this reaction (although we are good and even strange friends, sometimes)
But when I listen to this song, I first need to bow a little, in reverence and humility.
Then it is, afterward, I need to speak.
For this song reaches down into the soul of a man, and hauls back up the loneliest longing for the beauty of its truth. A truth that makes me weep, and only then is there ever any healing. Which is the point. Imagine just a song – doing that?
Just a song.
There is a thing a songwriter does, when having the most private conversation with himself, that invites the listener into his most private space, and if visited reverently and respectfully enough, to get the real message.
There is no point to quote the lyrics here. Just listen to them – you’ll know exactly what I mean.
And when you hear it – you’ll know how entirely human is the hunger those words wake up. Just imagine, for instance – wishing with all your heart to save the world, and then discovering one day that it saved you.
Because it is entirely that surrender, that is the magic of this song.
I am a man haunted by a song. Once heard, never forgotten. I want to hear it constantly. I hold myself back to small increments – too much of a good thing can dilute the value
(a thing my father taught me, long ago.)
I know rather well how to hold a lyric beneath the microscope, and watch it writhe and wriggle and squirm helplessly, beneath the scrutiny. (The writer of this song knows a little bit about that pastime of mine.) And I wish to report – the damned thing bit me back! – for my insolence.
A word of warning is in order. It has some power…
Once, long ago, I copied out the lyrics to a song of Woody Guthrie’s – a fine bit of nonsense about the audacity of a man to realize, and then to decide upon the necessity of the land - knowing it belongs to the people, and not to any other collective or individual enterprise.
While reading those words, I was moved to give a simple thing back for their beauty.
I wrote at the bottom of the page, thanks Woody. I figured somehow, some way, somewhere, he would hear it.
Well my friend – I know damned well you can hear me!