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JEFF CALLAHAN: Music

Borderlands

(Jeff Callahan)
Narrator: Beside his loathsome river, the boatman sighed with gloaming close at hand. He was rapt in memories of a girl he’d seen from shadows fit to hide on the only day his eyes braved sunlight and ferry went unmanned.

Boatman: I die for her dance and live but for her song. Her dark smile strikes me blind. She never dreamed that I have waited here so silent and so long and the thought I’ll never see her again is ravishing my mind.

Narrator: The girl strolled near the banks on her sun washed feet as sky, the moon adorned. Torrid winds arose and bore the boatman’s cries no voice she’d heard as sweet. In mid step she tarried if turned to stone. Her soul the angles warned.

Narrator and Boatman: One thousand gliding shadows of the dead bathed in the lamplight ahead, waiting to ford a river swollen with their tears, counting the days in a hundred years. See the ferry drifting into sight. Boatman: I’m the son of darkness and the night.

Narrator: The boatman’s tenderness did take hold of her and burned with saffron flame like desolation angels caught in cloud bursts that dazzle and shimmer. The girl awoke as sparrows from daydreams as if he’d called her name.

Girl: Pray lament no more as you hear my reply, my voice a hallowed plea. If you speak in truth and love me as you say, your heart I won’t deny. For I have heard your every wistful word and know they’re meant for me.

Boatman: Withdraw from that shore before in love you fall and don’t come back around. I swear I never meant for you to hear me or speak this way at all. You can never have me. It’s useless to deceive. To borderlands, I’m bound.

All: One thousand gliding shadows of the dead bathed in the lamplight ahead, waiting to ford a river swollen with their tears, counting the days in a hundred years. See the ferry drifting into sight. Boatman: I’m the son of darkness and the night.

Narrator: She flagged him down with blood fresh on her wrist. Girl: Take me to hell and here’s my fare. Boatman: You keep that silver trembling tight in your fist. I know you’ve already been there. Girl: I know you’ve already been there. Narrator: I know they’ve already been there.

Narrator: They still long for the scent of flowering meadows, warmth of sun and laughter wild waiting together for heaven’s walls to falter though if they will, neither knows. See them drifting down their loathsome river cradling their unborn child.

All: One thousand gliding shadows of the dead bathed in the lamplight ahead, waiting to ford a river swollen with their tears, counting the days in a hundred years. See the ferry drifting into sight. He’s the son of darkness and the light.