1. Prairie Ballad

From the recording Magdalene

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Prairie Ballad
M. Litton

When I was yet a little boy, I asked my daddy one day
What are those old wallows in the pasture where the water stays?
“Come near my son you’ll not believe the sad history of these plains
“The Buffalo roamed a million fold, in one decade all were slain
“The hunters came in iron horses with Big 50’s and skinnin’ knives
“They sold the furs in Eastern cities and left the bones to dry...
“But listen, son, the wind carries their song
“It’s a short time they’ve been gone
“To the living earth all is memory
“She’s a greater beast than we...”

The seasons passed though I weren’t much older
When one morning we found him dead
I cried to my mother, “Why did he die?”
She held me close and said
“His heart was afire and a violent storm was tossin’ through his mind
“He lost his soul to the bandit ghost in the ruins of the night
“Our land was poor and we hadn’t much hope
“One day you’ll understand
“How the great bear dies when he leaves his home
“And so easily dies a man...
“But listen, son, the wind carries his song
“It’s a short time he’s been gone
“To the living earth all is memory
“She’s a greater beast than we...”

From what I’ve seen I must own it seems we live by words
Though we only speak what we’ve been told
Like puppets made of wood
On the browning page of one old day we all promised to be brave
Though we were the sons of the totem then
Now we rob our fathers’ graves
The wind blows the dust of grief, her non-believing rhyme
There ain’t much truth, there ain’t much glory
It’s enough we live and die...
And I listen now as the wind carries my son
In a short time I’ll be gone
To the living earth all is memory
She’s a greater beast than we...