Joanna Newsom The Book Of Right-On

We should shine a light on, a light on

And the Book of Right-On’s right-on, it was right-on

We should shine a light on, a light on

And the Book of Right-On’s right-on, it was right-on

I killed my dinner with karate

Kick ’em in the face, taste the body

Shallow work is the work that I do

Do you want to sit at my table?

My fighting fame is fabled

And fortune finds me fit and able

And you do say, oh, that you do pray, oh, oh

And you say that you’re okay

And do you want to run with my pack?

Do you want to ride on my back?

Pray that what you lack does not distract

And even when you run through my mind

Something else is in front, oh, you’re behind

And I don’t have to remind you to stick with your kind

And you do say, oh, oh that you do pray, oh, oh

And you say that you’re okay

And even when you touch my face

You know your place

And even when you touch my face

You know your place

We should shine a light on, a light on

And the Book of Right-On’s right-on, it was right-on

We should shine a light on, a light on

And the Book of Right-On’s right-on, it was right-on

Joanna Newsom No Provenance

Allelu, allelu

I have died happy and lived to tell the tale to you

I have slept for forty years and woke to find me gone

I woke safe and warm in your arms

In your arms, your arms, in your arms

Not informed of the natural law

Squatting, lordly, on a stool, in a stall

We spun gold clear out of straw

And, when our bales of bullion were stored

You burned me like a barn

I burned safe and warm in your arms

In your arms, your arms

I’m afraid of the Big Return

There’s a certain conversation lost and that loss incurred

With nobody remaining to register who had passed this way in the night

In the middle of the night, negating their grace and their sight

Till only I remember, or mark, how we had our talk

We took our ride so that there was no-one home

And the lights of Rome flickered and died

And, what’s more, I believe that you knew it, too

I think you saw their flares and kept me safely unawares

In your arms, your arms, in your arms.

The grass was tall and strung with burrs

I essayed that high sashay to my mind, my way

You hung behind, in yours, anyhow, she did not neigh

I do not know what drew our eyes to hers

That little black mare did not stir

Till I lay down in your arms

Poor old dirty little dog-size horse

Swaying and wheezing as a matter of course

Swaying and wheezing as a matter of pride

That poor old nag, not four palms wide had waited a long time

Coated in salt, buckled like a ship run foul of the fence

And in the middle of the night, she’d sprung up, no provenance

Bearing the whites of her eyes

And you, with your arrangement with fate

Nodded sadly at her lame assault on that steady old gate

Her faultlessly etiolated fishbelly-face

The muzzle of a ghost

And pretty Johnny Appleseed via satellite feed

Tell us, who was it that you then loved the most?

Pretty Johnny Appleseed, leave a trail that leads

Straight back down to the farm

Lay me down, safe and warm in your arms, in your arms

Joanna Newsom Go Long

Last night again, you were in my dream

Several expendable limbs were at stake

You were a prince, spinning rims

All sentiments Indian-given and half-baked

I was brought in on a palanquin

Made of the many bodies of beautiful women

Brought to this place, to be examined

Swaying on an elephant, a princess of India

We both want the very same thing

We are praying, I am the one to save you

But you don’t even own your own violence

Run away from home, your beard is still blue

With the loneliness of you mighty men

With your jaws, and fists, and guitars, and pens

And your sugarlip

But I’ve never been to the fire pits with you mighty men

Who made you this way? Who made you this way?

Who is going to bear your beautiful children?

Do you think you can just stop, when you’re ready for a change?

Who will take care of you when you’re old and dying?

You burn in the Mekong to prove your worth

Go long, go long right over the edge of the earth

You have been wronged, tore up since birth

You have done harm, others have done worse

Will you tuck your shirt? Will you leave it loose?

You are badly hurt, you’re a silly goose

You are caked in mud, and in blood, and worse

Chew your bitter cud, grope your little nurse

Do you know why my ankles are bound in gauze?

Sickly dressage, a princess of Kentucky

In the middle of the woods, which were the probable cause

We danced in the lodge like two panting monkeys

I will give you a call for one last hurrah

And if this tale is tall, forgive my scrambling

But you keep palming along the wall

Moving at a blind crawl but always rambling

Wolf-spider, crouch in your funnel nest

If I knew you, once, now I know you less

In the sinking sand, where we’ve come to rest

Have I had a hand in your loneliness?

When you leave me alone in this old palace of yours

It starts to get to me, I take to walking

What a woman does is open doors

And it is not a question of locking or unlocking

Well, I have never seen such a terrible room

Gilded with the gold teeth of the women who loved you

Now though I die, magpie, this I bequeath

By any other name, a Jay is still blue

With the loneliness of you mighty men

With your mighty kiss that might never never end

While, so far away, in the seat of the West

Burns the fount of the heat of that loneliness

There’s a man who only will speak in code

Backing slowly, slowly down the road

May he master everything that such men may know

About loving, and then letting go

Joanna Newsom Cosmia

When you ate I saw your eyelashes

Saw them shake like wind on grasses

In the corn field when she called me

Moths surround me, thought they’d drown me

And I miss your precious heart

And I miss your precious heart

Dried rose petal, red brown circles

Framed your eyes and stained your knuckles

Dried rose petal, red brown circles

Framed your eyes and stained your knuckles

And all those lonely nights down by the river

Brought me bread and water, water in

But though I tried so hard my little darling

I couldn’t keep the night from coming in

And all those lonely nights down by the river

I was brought my bread and water by the kith and the kin

Now in the quiet hour when I am sleepin’

I cannot keep the night from comin’ in

Why’ve you gone away

Gone away again

I’ll sleep through the rest of my days

If you’ve gone away again

I sleep through the rest of my days

And I sleep through the rest of my days

And I sleep through the rest of my days

Why’ve you gone away, away

Seven suns, seven suns

Away, away, away, away

Can you hear me, will you listen

Don’t come near me, don’t go missing

In the lissome light of evening

Help me, Cosmia, I’m grieving

And all those lonely nights down by the river

Brought me bread and water, water in

But though I tried so hard my little darling

I couldn’t keep the night from coming in

And all those lonely nights down by the river

I was brought my bread and water by the kith and the kin

Now in the quiet hour when I am sleepin’

I cannot keep the night from comin’ in

Beneath the porch light we’ve all been circling

Beat our dust hearts, singe our flour wings

But in the corner, something is happening

Wild Cosmia, what have you seen

Water were your limbs, and the fire was her hair

And then the moonlight caught your eye

And you rose through the air

Well, if you’ve seen true light, then this is my prayer

Will you call me when you get there

And I miss your precious heart

And miss, and miss, and miss

And miss, and miss, and miss, and miss, and miss your heart

But release your precious heart

To its feast, for precious hearts

Joanna Newsom Autumn

Driven through by her own sword

Summer died last night, alone

Even the ghosts huddled up for warmth

Autumn has come to my hometown

Friendly voices, dead and gone

Singing Star of the Country Down

Even the ghosts help raise the barn

Here, now in my hometown

When, out of the massing that bodes and bides in the cold west

Flew a waxwing, who froze and died against my breast

And all the while, rain, like a weed in the tide, swans and lists

Down on the gossiping lawns saying, “Tsk tsk tsk”

I may have changed, it’s hard to gauge

Time won’t account for how I’ve aged

Would I could tie your lying tongue

Who says that leaving keeps you young

And I have got no control

Over my heart, over my mind

Over the hills, the rainclouds roll

I’ll winter here, wait for a sign

To cast myself out, over the water, riven like a wishbone

You’d hardly guess, I was my own mother’s daughter, I ain’t naturally given to roam

And I lay low, when I return, and I move like a gurney whose wheels are squeaking

Alone here in my home and I laugh when you speak of my pleasure-seeking

Among the tall pines

Along the lay-lines

Here where the loon keens

There where the moon leans

There where I know my violent love lays

Down in a row of silent dove-gray days

Here in a row of silent dove-gray days

Wherever I go, I am snowbound

By thoughts of him whom I would shun

I loved them all, one by one

Cannot gain ground, cannot outrun

But time marches along

You can’t always stick around

But when the final count is done

I will be in my hometown

I will be in my hometown

Joanna Newsom Emily

The meadowlark and the chim-choo-ree and the sparrow

Set to the sky in a flying spree, for the sport of the pharaoh

Little while later, the Pharisees dragged a comb through the meadow

Do you remember what they called up to you and me in our window?

There is a rusty light on the pines tonight, sun pouring wine, Lord, or marrow

Into the bones of the birches, and the spires of the churches, jutting out from the shadow

And the yoke, and the axe, and the old smokestacks, and the bale, and the barrow

And everything sloped like it was dragged from a rope in the mouth of the south below

We’ve seen those mountains kneeling, felten and grey

We thought our very hearts would up and melt away

From that snow in the nighttime, just going and going

And the stirring of wind chimes in the morning, in the morning

Helps me find my way back in

From the place where I have been

And Emily, I saw you last night by the river

I dreamed you were skipping little stones across the surface of the water

Frowning at the angle where they were lost, and slipped under forever

In a mud-cloud, mica-spangled, like the sky’d been breathing on a mirror

Anyhow, I sat by your side, by the water

You taught me the names of the stars overhead that I wrote down in my ledger

Though all I knew of the rote universe were those Pleiades loosed in December

I promised you I’d set them to verse, so I’d always remember

That the meteorite is the source of the light and the meteor’s just what we see

And the meteoroid is a stone that’s devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee

And the meteorite’s just what causes the light and the meteor’s how it’s perceived

And the meteoroid’s a bone thrown from the void, that lies quiet in offering to thee

You came and lay a cold compress upon the mess I’m in

Threw the windows wide, and cried amen amen amen

The whole world stopped to hear you hollering

And you looked down, and saw, now, what was happening

The lines are fading in my kingdom

Though I have never known the way to border them in

So the muddy mouths of baboons and sows, and the grouse, and the horse, and the hen

Grope at the gate of the looming lake that was once a tidy pen

And the mail is late, and the great estates are not lit from within

The talk in town’s becoming downright sickening

In due time we will see the far buttes lit by a flare

I’ve seen your bravery, and I will follow you there

And row through the nighttime so healthy

Gone healthy all of a sudden

In search of a midwife who can help me

Who can help me

Help me find my way back in

And there are worries where I’ve been

And say, say, say, in the lee of the bay, don’t be bothered.

Leave your troubles here, where the tugboats shear the water from the water

Flanked by furrows, curling back, like a match held up to a newspaper

Emily, they’ll follow your lead by the letter

And I make this claim, and I’m not ashamed to say I knew you better

What they’ve seen is just a beam of your sun that banishes winter

Let us go, though we know it’s a hopeless endeavor

The ties that bind, they are barbed and spined, and hold us close forever

Though there is nothing would help me come to grips with a sky that is gaping and yawning

There is a song I woke with on my lips as you sailed your great ship towards the morning

Come on home, the poppies are all grown knee-deep by now

Blossoms all have fallen, and the pollen ruins the plow

Peonies nod in the breeze and while they wetly bow

With hydrocephalitic listlessness, ants mop up their brow

And everything with wings is restless, aimless, drunk, and dour

Butterflies and birds collide at hot, ungodly hours

And my clay-colored motherlessness rangily reclines

Come on home, now, all my bones are dolorous with vines

Pa pointed out to me, for the hundredth time tonight

The way the ladle leads to a dirt-red bullet of light

Squint skyward and listen

Loving him, we move within his borders

Just asterisms in the stars’ set order

We could stand for a century

Staring with our heads cocked in the broad daylight, at this thing

Joy, landlocked in bodies that don’t keep

Dumbstruck with the sweetness of being

Till we don’t be, told “Take this and eat this”

Told, “The meteorite is the source of the light and the meteor’s just what we see

And the meteoroid is a stone that’s devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee

And the meteorite is just what causes the light and the meteor’s how it’s perceived

And the meteoroid’s a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee”

Joanna Newsom Time, As A Symptom

Time passed hard,

and the task was the hardest thing she’d ever do.

But she forgot,

the moment she saw you.

So it would seem to be true:

when cruel birth debases, we forget.

When cruel death debases,

we believe it erases all the rest

that precedes.

But stand brave, life-liver,

bleeding out your days

in the river of time.

Stand brave:

time moves both ways,

in the nullifying, defeating, negating, repeating

joy of life;

the nullifying, defeating, negating, repeating

joy of life.

The moment of your greatest joy sustains:

not axe nor hammer,

tumor, tremor,

can take it away, and it remains.

It remains.

And it pains me to say, I was wrong.

Love is not a symptom of time.

Time is just a symptom of love

(and the nullifying, defeating, negating, repeating

joy of life;

the nullifying, defeating, negating, repeating

joy of life).

Hardly seen, hardly felt–

deep down where your fight is waiting,

down ’till the light in your eyes is fading:

joy of life.

Where i know that you can yield, when it comes down to it;

bow like the field when the wind combs through it:

joy of life.

And every little gust that chances through

will dance in the dust of me and you,

with joy-of-life.

And in our perfect secret-keeping:

One ear of corn,

in silent, reaping

joy of life.

Joy! Again, around–a pause, a sound–a song:

a way a lone a last a loved a long.

A cave, a grave, a day: arise, ascend.

(Areion, Rharian, go free and graze. Amen.)

A shore, a tide, unmoored–a sight, abroad:

A dawn, unmarked, undone, undarked (a god).

No time. No flock. No chime, no clock. No end.

White star, white ship–Nightjar, transmit: transcend!

White star, white ship–Nightjar, transmit: transcend!

White star, white ship–Nightjar, transmit: transcend!

White star, white ship–Nightjar, transmit: trans

Joanna Newsom Yarn And Glue

Do you know what this is, son?

This is the Panopticon

And all around us blink the brash

And shifty eyes of common cash

So do we die or do we travel

Down the path by which one dabbles

In the arts of antediluvian crafts

With yarn and glue?

So gather twilight to your breast

And couch the rabble-rouser’s nest

And we will take a day of rest

And we will all be heaven-blessed

And we will gather round to dine

And pass the time with wicked rhymes

And toast in dandelion wines

To hear their mellifluous chimes

We toast the fallow furrows that we sow,

And we toast the monies that we owe, owe, owe

And we toast the creditors we daily face

Who topple down with gruesome grace

And we toast the aristocrats with blood of blue

‘Cause we know that our collars are that color, too

And we toast the artisans of antediluvian crafts

With yarn and glue

We do, we do

Joanna Newsom Sadie

Sadie, white coat

You carry me home

And bury this bone

And take this pine cone

Bury this bone

To gnaw on it later, gnawing on the telephone

Until then, we pray and suspend

The notion that these lives do never end

And all day long we talk about mercy

Lead me to water, Lord, I sure am thirsty

Down in the ditch where I nearly served you

Up in the clouds where he almost heard you

And all that we built and all that we breathed

And all that we spilt or pulled up like weeds

Is piled up in back and it burns irrevocably

And we spoke up in turns till the silence crept over me

And bless you and I deeply do

No longer resolute, oh and I call to you

But the water got so cold

And you do lose what you don’t hold

This is an old song, these are old blues

And this is not my tune

But it’s mine to use

And the seabirds where the fear once grew

Will flock with a fury and they will bury what’d come for you

And down where I darn with the milk-eyed mender

You and I and a love so tender

Stretched on a hoop where I stitch this adage

Bless our house and its heart so savage

And all that I want and all that I need

And all that I’ve got is scattered like seed

And all that I knew is moving away from me

And all that I know is blowing like tumbleweed

And the mealy worms in the brine will burn

In a salty pyre among the fauns and ferns

And the love we hold and the love we spurn

Will never grow cold, only taciturn

And I’ll tell you tomorrow

Oh Sadie, go on home now

And bless those who’ve sickened below

And bless us who have chosen so

And all that I’ve got and all that I need

I tie in a knot and I lay at your feet

And I have not forgot but a silence crept over me

So dig up your bone, exhume your pinecone, Sadie

Joanna Newsom Esme

I can feel a difference

Today, a difference

All of us in our tents

Fearing God like a mistress

We lay on the rocks in the sun

Watching you and your mama row in

I sat up and blinked when you appeared

So pale you were nearly clear

Later, I stumbled to my bed

Al alone in the branches

I laid in the dark, thinking about all

Of my friends and their changes

And I do not know if you know just what you have done

You are the sweetest one I have ever laid my eyes upon

It’s a beautiful town with the rain coming down

Blackberry, rosemary, Jimmy Crack Corn

You’ve got the run of the place, now that you’re running around

And may kindness, kindness, kindness abound

In this hour of our lives

Hour of effortless plenty

How do we know which parts of our hearts want what

With such base generosity?

Taking so many photographs, so amazed

We’ve never seen a baby so newly born

And, when the bulbs do flash as bright as morning

The crowd keeps on gathering like an electric storm

The phantom of love moves among us at will

Each phantom-limb lost has got an angel

So confused like the wagging bobbed-tail

Of a bulldog, kindness, kindness prevails

Kindness prevails, ties and rails

Ties and rails fall into line bearing kindness

Where will you go, if not here?

What will you say when you write to us?

And this is a world of terrible hardship, everywhere

And I search for words to set you at ease.

But there, in the looking-glass, a kite is soaring

Stilling my warring heart and my trembling knees

Clean as a breeze, bright as the day

All of the people gather to say

“Sweet Esme, sweet Esme

Oh, oh, oh”

I believe love will always surround you

Brave as a bear with a heart rare and true

But if you are scared if you are blue

I have prepared this small song for you

Sweet Esme, sweet Esme

Oh, oh, oh

Sweet Esme, sweet Esme

Oh, oh, oh

Sweet Esme, Esme

Sweet Esme, sweet Esme

Oh, oh, oh