Mary Chapin Carpenter 4 June 1989

I told them we heard singing first before we reached the Square

“Arise the wretched of the earth” filled the air

So many fists clenched to the sky we couldn’t count them all

But then the sea of weeping washed over the Hall

I told them no one saw me, there was no one who would know

I was an army soldier dressed in students clothes

Between the smoking bonfires we held our rifles high

As the ashes of the banners soared into the sky

Ah, I was seventeen that spring

Ah, we were just obeying orders

Ah, I still see everything

Through the factory’s yellow windows

In the dirty stinking river

In the messages that find you then vanish in the ether

They vanish in the ether:

I told them not to fear me but history tells the tale

The artists and the poets fill up every jail

Before I held a rifle I held an artist’s brush

Before Tiananmen I even dreamed of love

Ah, I was seventeen that spring

Ah, we were just obeying orders

Ah, I still see everything

Through the factory’s yellow windows

In the dirty stinking river

In the messages that found me, then vanished in the ether

In the messages that found me:.

I told them they’d see me walking in the rain

In Budapest, in Prague, in Soweto’s lanes

Between the burning oil drums and the graffiti on the wall

I told them, yes I told them, I told them all

Ah, I was seventeen that spring

Ah, we were just obeying orders

Ah, and I still see everything

Through the factory’s yellow windows

In the dirty stinking river

In the messages that find us, then vanish in the ether

Oh the messages will find us, then vanish in the ether

Mary Chapin Carpenter 88 Constellations

These days are made of leaving home

But every thought is of returning

In between is simply known for the gasoline I’m burning

Drop the bags inside the door

And out of habit pause to listen

It’s the same as before

There’s always something that feels missing

But not the ghosts and snakes I swept away

Though that seemed as good a place to start

I go forward or fall back

Forge ahead or veer off track

Flaming out or fade to black

Stars careening in their crosses

Someone’s always just ahead

Heels dug in or being led

Nothing’s perfect I once said

And I learned to cut my losses

But I could not fix the broken part and a tear stained heart

I fill my passport with the miles

Dawn is breaking out the window

Climb the steps and walk the aisles

Just another moving shadow

You know it’s easier to be all alone instead of lonely

Yet I know some part of me

Feels a part of you still owns me

Way down deep where it will not be seen

But there’s no doubt that you have left your mark

You go forward or fall back

Forge ahead or veer off track

Flaming out or fade to black

Stars careening in their crosses

Someone’s always just ahead

Heels dug in or being led

Nothing’s perfect you once said

You’re the king of all lost causes

But I still wait for you because I’m not

In my tear stained heart

These wondrous days we travel fast

And the clearer I am seeing

Trade the baggage of the past

For the lightness of being

I am studying the stars, all 88 constellations

I can sense you from afar, from my earthly destinations

And in the wind and in every highway song

A match that strikes or in a random spark

We go forward or fall back

Forge ahead or veer off track

Flaming out, we fade to black

Stars careening as they beckon

It’s just open road ahead

The sound of twilight, maps unread

Nothing’s perfect it’s been said

This is pretty close I reckon

And I’ve learned more than I’d have ever thought

From a tear stained heart

Mary Chapin Carpenter A Place In The World

What I’m looking for, after all this time

Keeps me moving forward, trying to find it

Since I learned to walk all I’ve done is run

Ready, on my mark, doesn’t everyone

Need a place in the world

Could be right before your very eyes

Just beyond a door that’s open wide

Could be far away or in your own backyard

There are those who say, you can look too hard

For your place in the world

Takes some of us a little longer

A few false starts gonna make you stronger

When I’m sure I’ve finally found it

Gonna wrap these arms all around it

Could be one more mile, or just one step back

In a lovers smile, down a darkened path

Friends will take our side, enemies will curse us

But to be alive is to know your purpose

It’s your place in the world

Your place in the world

Your place in the world

Mary Chapin Carpenter Almost Home

I saw my life this morning

Lying at the bottom of a drawer

All this stuff I’m saving

God knows what this junk is for

And whatever I believed in

This is all I have to show

What the hell were all reasons

For holding on for such dear life

Here’s where I let go

I’m not running

I’m not hiding

I’m not reaching

I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open

Gonna pull my soul in

And I’m almost home

I saw you this morning

You were looking straight at me

From an ancient photograph

Stuck between letters and some keys

I was lost just for a moment

In the ache of old goodbyes

Sometimes all that we can know is

There’s no such thing as no regrets

Baby it’s all right

I’m not running

I’m not hiding

I’m not reaching

I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open

Gonna pull my soul in

And I’m almost home

There’s no such thing as no regrets

But baby it’s alright

I’m not running

I’m not hiding

I’m not reaching

I’m just resting in the arms of the great wide open

Gonna pull my soul in

And I’m almost home

Mary Chapin Carpenter A Keeper For Every Flame

She says it’s been so long, she can’t remember when

The mention of his name didn’t make her feel again

That everything is possible and every day a brand new start

Yeah, love’s something powerful when it finds a willing heart

Sometimes it’s a fire burning out of control

Sometimes it’s a candle burning long and low

All these years she never let it go

There’s a keeper for every flame

There is someone in his past that he hasn’t gotten over yet

Each day’s like the last, he just misses what he can’t forget

It’s just an empty space where something used to be

Now he guards the gate, but he’s lost the key

So no one enters, but no one leaves

There’s a keeper for every flame

Thought my heart had broken, but it was just a little bruised

I thought love had spoken, I guess I was just confused

Sometimes we were a fire burning out of control

Sometimes we were nothing but a candle glow

But it never died, baby, how I know

There’s a keeper for every flame

Mary Chapin Carpenter 10,000 Miles

Fare thee well

My own true love

Farewell for a while

I’m going away

But I’ll be back

Though I go 10,000 miles

10,000 miles

My own true love

10,000 miles or more

The rocks may melt

And the seas may burn

If I should not return

Oh don’t you see

That lonesome dove

Sitting on an ivy tree

She’s weeping for

Her own true love

As I shall weep for mine

Oh come ye back

My own true love

And stay a while with me

If I had a friend

All on this earth

You’ve been a friend to me

Mary Chapin Carpenter A Lot Like Me

He was a long tall stranger from way down south where he’d left his life behind

He had a big old Gibson and a pickup truck and Shenandoah eyes

And I remember him sitting in that local bar where I earned my pay each night

Singing my songs to empty chairs and going home half tight

So the nights rolled by like headlights shining on a lonesome strip of tar

I kept his words of kindness close to me like a pick on my guitar; And we

Talked about the singers and the songs we loved and the songs we’d most forgot

In that run-down bar they’d make last call and I’d never want to stop

‘Cause I was living on nothing but a young girl’s dreams

With my cowboy boots and my old six-string

Hitching my wagon to a star, dreaming of leaving those local bars

When I’d get him up at closing time for a couple of songs and a chance to shine

Like the star that he longed to be, he looked a helluva lot like me

He’d played a lot of places where the only wages were food and beer for free

No fancy licks, but he had him a gift for the kind of songs he’d sing

But you do what you can to be a satisfied man, just to have your peace of mind

So he gave it all up for a government job where the paychecks come on time

So now he comes to the bar to hear me play guitar and to share a drink or two

And we sit swapping tales of where we’ve been and what we’d rather do

There’s a wealth of danger when you’re talking to strangers, and I meet them all the time

But my heart knew better than my head when I looked into those eyes

‘Cause I was living on nothing but a young girl’s dreams with my cowboy boots and my old six-string

Hitching my wagon to a star, dreaming of leaving those local bars

When I’d get him up at closing time for a couple of songs and a chance to shine

Like the star that he longed to be, he looked a hell of a lot like me

Well, maybe I’ll quit when I got me a kid and a place to call my own

But tonight there ain’t nobody there waiting up for me at home

It’s a hell of a way to live from day to day not knowing where you’re bound

But the look in his eyes made me realize I was glad for the life I’d found

‘Cause I was living on nothing but a young girl’s dreams with my cowboy boots and my old six-string

Hitching my wagon to a star, dreaming of leaving those local bars

When I’d get him up at closing time for a couple of songs and a chance to shine

Like the star that he longed to be, he looked a hell of a lot like me

Like the star that he’d always be, he looked a hell of a lot like me