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 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  forgot 'em, 
The teacher 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 may drown in tears. 

I am alive, starved and swollen, 
An untaught, hard bought, 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.