Traveling Man

Traveling Man  

I have seen the Great White Nile from its source down to the sea
I have swum in the Zambezi Neath the bridge of liberty
I have crossed the mighty Congo, seen the Hippos in their pools
Floated down the Amazon, seen piranha in their schools.
I have fished the Mississippi seen the Orinoco flow
But of all these mighty rivers there is only one I know,
Will bring me back once again to the place that I call home
The sweet Missouri river is the one I love to roam.

I have crossed the Serengeti heard the lion roar at night
Seen the Kalahari and the Bushmen hunt and fight
I have lived in the Sahara with its sand and dust and flies
And wondered in the outback seen the Southern Cross at night
But across these mighty tundra’s I will never roam again
For I would rather see Missouri with its gentle rolling plains
Of cotton, corn and sweet gum trees glistening in the rain
And that sweet Missouri homestead which causes me much pain
When it’s time for me to leave it and hit the road again

I have climbed the giant Andes seen the Condor soar on high
And driven up the Drakensburg heard Hyenas hue and cry
I have wondered in the Alpine vales picked Edelweiss touched with dew
And now I wish I had the chance to pick one just for you
But for all these mighty mountains I’d rather be at home
And stroll about the Ozarks with their sweetly smelling loam
For in all my worldly travels, I have never been
To a land quite like Missouri with its majestic scenes.

I have travelled our great nation from sea to shining sea
Crossed the Golden Gate and seen the Maid of Liberty
I have ridden all the highways and byways far and near
But of all these winding ribbons there’s only one that I hold dear
66 I’ve travelled from Chicago to LA
But 44s the one that brings me closer every day
To that sweet Missouri homestead and the place I want to lay,
Back home in Missouri is the place I want to stay.

And when they lay me down to rest after  my time is done
They will say although of English birth to Mo he was a son
He came and saw and wondered at a beauty so serene
And that in all his worldly travels he had never seen
A land quite like Missouri and the places  that he loved
He died a happy rolling stone blessed by God above              

Happy Journey

Happy Journey  

6 20 1992 Lae Papua Nui Guinea
Inspired by the passing of my friend’s father

His time is almost over and his course through life now run
He must make his preparations now Happy Journey has begun
He will gather prize possessions – two pigs his wife and son
Then return to his Wantok village to wait for death to come

He gathers all the clansmen from the village where he stayed
Thanks them for their hospitality and makes sure that he’s paid
For his lodgings and protection in this place so far from home
Then asks them for their blessings on the journey he must roam.

Though his life is almost ended he fears not death at all
For his father and his ancestors are waiting in the pall
To guide his spirit onward to the Altogeta place
And to make his journey one of beauty and of grace.

At his Wantok village he is welcomed by his kin
His body is then purified to wash away his sins
He checks all burial arrangements and then inspects his grave
Makes sure the wake is ready then with a final wave.
He enters the village Long Haus where old spirits come to pass
Advice onto the village through the elders and high class
He calls his family to him to say his last farewells
Then bids them leave him on his own, with the Bishu man to dwell

He must not be interrupted with their sadness and their tears
Though the spirits gather closer yet still he has no fears
He hears his father calling him as he did when he was young
His heart gives up, he breathes his last – Happy Journey has begun.

They leave him in the Long Haus for a night and then a day
They kill his pig to honor him and give him wealth upon his way
They eat the meat and drink the beer and sing the happy songs
To help his spirit travel onward to where it now belongs

The man who will now bury him does not come from his clan
For the sadness of his kinsmen would spoil his happy plan
Then his spirit would not journey but would always have to dwell
In the place where all sad spirits go and that place would be hell.

And so his neighbor buries him the second pig is his to claim
For his efforts with the digging and relieving them from the pain
For making sure the passing with dignity was done
And for helping Happy Journey now that it has begun.

Little Ballerina

Little Ballerina     27 12 1991

Written for my beautiful daughter Deborah

Little Ballerina up there on the stage
You have a grace and beauty that far exceeds your age
In your Tutu and your makeup, with your talent and precision
Little Ballerina dancing to the music’s rhythm

Little Ballerina on the day that you were born
I took you in my arms while you were still so warm
From the heat that generated inside your mother’s womb
Little Ballerina please don’t grow up to soon

Little Ballerina I watched you start to grow
I watched you as you learnt to walk, when you first stood on your toes
I listened to your sweet voice as you whispered your first words
Little Ballerina you were seen and often heard!

Little Ballerina until the day I die
I will look at your sweet innocence and I will wonder why
How something of such beauty could ever come my way
Little Ballerina dance for me on that day.

Little Ballerina dancing to the music’s rhythm
I hope someday you will understand all the pleasure you have given
To your father and your mother, to your family and friends
Little Ballerina – please dance for me again
(I love you Debs)

Beach Boy

Beach Boy

26 12 1991 on the beach Luanda Angola.
We used to hire the Beach Boys to watch our things while we went swimming and this about a little boy Domingo who had nothing in the world to call his own

Beach Boy – living on the sand
With no name or family, no one to lend a hand
You saw your parents murdered for trying to make a stand
Against the evil regime that has swept across your land.

Beach Boy – living all alone
A cardboard box and sacking is what you call your home
You never had a pillow or a bed to call your own
And you never had a blanket to keep the cold from out your bones.

Beach Boy – you survive on only what you steal
Or beg from other people – to me it seems unreal
That you carry on regardless of the hardship and the pain
And you always have a smile when you hear me call your name.

Beach Boy – growing up will be so hard for you
You will get no formal education; you will never go to school
You will never know the pleasure of your mother’s gentle touch
Or hear your father’s praises as he watches you grow up.

Beach Boy – can you see what the future holds?
For you and others like you as you join the adult fold
Will your life be filled with happiness or only deep despair?
And if I return to that beach someday will I still find you there?

Beach Boy – with your crooked cross eyed smile
I look at you – then wonder for a while
Do you understand what’s happening, do you even really care?
About the world beyond the beach
Beach Boy don’t despair.

Oh Africa

Oh Africa
Inspired by the works of Bob Geldof and Nelson Mandela

Christmas Day Luanda Angola 1992

Oh Africa Oh Africa how long must there remain
All the pointless suffering and all the needless pain

I came to make my fortune in this far flung foreign land
I found instead a suffering that had got out of hand
I found brother fighting brother
I found famine and disease
I found mothers with their children begging food on bended knees

I recall Angola with all its civil strife
And I recall that nations bleeding from the gun and from the knife
I recall the young men home from war with their shattered limbs and minds
And I wonder will it ever stop or go on for all time.

They told me there was peace there now
They told me it had stopped
That all men would be free to choose – it does not take a lot
But I still see young men fighting that crazy bloody war
And I wonder will I ever see their guns thrown on the floor

Brothers walking arm in arm
Sisters hand in hand
We must help to bring the peace back to this ravished blood soaked land.

I recall the Sudan all the heat and sand and flies
I recall the people starving there – I watched them as they died!
And I recall a young man who came to do his thing
I well recall his efforts to relieve their suffering
But time it has moved on now
And I cannot fathom why
Whenever I’m in Sudan I still see people die
From hunger and starvation
Why can’t we make a plan?
To put an end to all the famine
We have to make a stand
We have to tell the people of the world they must unite
To help the little children to escape from their sad plight.

I recall South Africa and I recall with shame
The injustice of apartied and the fight to clear the name
Of one man who had dared to tell the world about the fight
Against the world’s most unjust system
That set the black against the white
They put him in a prison cell for twenty years and five
And with all his tortuous suffering it’s a wonder he’s alive
To tell of that cruel system that cannot now survive.
White men embrace black men
The time is now at hand
To end all of the injustice
We have to make a stand
If it means a change of culture why can’t we make a plan?
To live our lives in harmony in this most beautiful of lands

I recall Uganda, Ethiopia and Zaire
And I recall the evil men who did the damage here
Mengistu, Amin Mobutu
It fills my soul with pain
To think that we did not even try to stop their mindless games.
How many times must children die in abject poverty?
How many people die alone in the great monstrosities?
Where one man rules a nation and rapes the people’s minds
Then stands them up against a wall _ oh God we must be blind
To allow the dictators time to make their evil plans
To carry on the terror
It’s now time to make a stand.
Brothers, sisters, Mothers, Sons, Fathers and Daughters black or white
To remove this cancer from the world we must begin to fight
We must all stand together
We must try to work it out
Or another man will take their place of this I have no doubt
We must remove the shackles that have tied the people’s souls
We must offer them the freedom to seek out their own goals
We must open up the food stores – throw away the gun and knife
And open up our hearts and minds to build them a better life

If we don’t act now it will be too late and another generation
Will grow up with the hopelessness of this one’s degradation.

Oh Africa you seductive whore how long must there remain
All the pointless suffering and all the needless pain

It’s time for me to leave you now, all the things that I have seen
Will leave a mark upon my life, all the places that I’ve been
Oh Africa, Oh Africa, you always will remain
Inside my soul, inside my mind
Nothing will be the same
I don’t know if I’ll return, I don’t know if I now want to
But I know the things I’ve seen and done will always lead me onto
The fight to free the people of this sun soaked golden land
The fight to end the misery – I now has a plan
The fight to end the squalor, the pain and the starvation
The fight to join the people of this great unity of nations.

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