John's Wife 

©1978 Andrew Calhoun, recorded on Water Street and Staring at the Sun.

Anne Hills recorded a beautiful version on "Don't Panic," Flying Fish CD. 
I dropped the "John is a master..." verse on the second recording. 

I took a lover, it was late in the Spring 
The fleas did sparkle, and the bees did sing 
His body beside me, like a bird on the wing 
And the skies did weep and mourn 

I came back to John, when the mid-summer tattled 
The doors all closed, and the ceiling rattled 
I took off my clothing, but none of it mattered 
And the skies did rain cold rain 

I went back to night school, the following Autumn 
I passed my lessons, and then I forgot 'em 
Professor did stare at bottom and bosom 
We did gather there 

And the Winter came, like a guiltless trial 
When we met on the platform, we forgot to smile 
And the air was dead, but after a while 
We did not notice the snow 

John is a master of rationing sorrow  
John is a swell and a jolly good fellow  
But the water is deep where it looks to be shallow  
He will drown in tears 

I am alive, starved and swollen 
An untaught, storebought, half-crazy woman 
In need of a drink, or my father's blessing 
Help me to be free 

Now it's early in Spring, and the streets have roses 
The buses go by, children hold their noses 
A daughter of darkness, a daughter of Moses 
I will die one day