Album: Summer Lightning

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1. Give the Fiddler a Dram 3:25
2. The Beauty Game 3:50 (lyrics)
3. This Shirt 3:37
4. What’s Wrong With This Picture 3:07 (lyrics)
5. Frankie and Johnny 8:23 (lyrics)
6. Let Me Count the Ways 3:00 (lyrics)
7. Sleeping Buffalo 8:01 (lyrics)
8. Sammy’s Bar 5:15
9. A Row of Small Trees 8:43 (lyrics)
10. The Outside Track 4:36
11. Summer Lightning 5:32 (lyrics)
12. The King of Rome 6:01
13. O’Neil’s Dream 2:58




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©1994 Snowgoose. Garnet Rogers with Doug Long

See: CHSR-FM “Maple Haggis” Interview Transcripts



The Beauty Game

She stands before the mirror
Selects a hat and tries it on for size
She can’t see the beauty looking back
She only sees the lines around her eyes
And the corners of her mouth turn down
They tighten with self-consciousness and shame
She takes off the hat, leaves the store
Concedes another battle in the beauty game
She’s tried and failed to meet her mother’s standards
Ever since she was a child
And the models she would like to be
Preach diet, self-loathing and denial
And their legs are long and tawny
Their eyes and lips and breasts all look the same
And they bear the marks of surgeons’ knives
And the hidden deeper scarring of the beauty game

She recalls the lies her mother taught her when she was impressionable and young
“Nice girls don’t express themselves
to get a man play it safe, play it dumb”
Now her mother’s old and bitter
When she visits her she’s sorry that she came
A fading gentle tyrant
One more walking wounded in the beauty game

So she didn’t get the hat she liked
It didn’t look as good as the one in the magazine
Instead she Œphoned a friend up to commiserate and talk about what might’ve been
“Why can’t a man just love me for my humor and my strength and heart and brain?”
Worst of all it’s she who can’t accept herself and live outside the beauty game

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What’s Wrong With This Picture

What’s wrong with this picture?
there’s something not right
My eyes feel like marbles, man,
my teeth are too tight
what’s wrong with my mirror?
that’s not the boy that we love
my mouth tastes like the inside of truck driver’s glove

What’s wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong with this picture?
Who put grey in my beard?
How did that happen?
my God, I look weird
Is that really my waistline?
Are those really my thighs?
Who shrunk these jeans down to half of their size?
What’s wrong with this picture
How did I get here?
My God I look bad
I went to bed a young man, now I look like somebody’s dad
Where did the years go?
Where is my hair?
The way that time flies, it just isn’t fair
What’s wrong with this picture?
What’s wrong with this picture?
I think I’ll go back to bed
and spend the day with the covers pulled up over my head
Œcause you can’t fight the Reaper, man
he’s quick and he’s mean
I feel just like the Porsche that belonged to James Dean
What’s wrong with this picture?

Where did my life go?
I had so much planned
Who took my hourglass?
I lost all my sand
How did this happen?
Man, give me a break
I thought I was hitting my stride, and I got left at the gate
What’s wrong with this picture?

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Frankie and Johnny

Me and Johnny we were brothers
Though we did not look the same
We had not much in common
We shared little but out last name

He was big and bright and handsome
I was quiet, pale and shy
He could talk a streak
I could barely speak
Where I’d stumble, he would fly

So much so easily came to him
Me, I had to work so much
Where I struggled on with everything
Johnny had the Midas touch
He was quick to anger, quick to laugh, quick to fight
Quick to forgive
He lived each day as though it was his last
Me, I merely lived
He left home when I was eighteen
I still recall his face
We waited vainly for his letters
As he moved from place to place
Me I settled down and married
I got a mortgage and two kids
And if I envied him his freedom
I soon learned to keep it hid

chorus:
If you love someone
Can you let it show?
Hold them close to you and tell them
So they know
It’s too late
By the grave
Give them all the love you have everyday

Johnny died when I was 30
It was a senseless, random death
I got the news, put down the Œphone
I could not get my breath
My parents took it worse than me
For I had lost a brother
But they had lost their prodigal son
They took their pain out on each other
I tried hard to make up for Johnny
I tried to be a better son
It nearly killed me, trying to live for two
I could only live for one

chorus

And so it fell to me to be the one
To sort through his effects
I have no words to say how hard it was to search his desk
He seemed so real, so near to me
This man I barely knew
Whose freedom I’d so resented
With each turning of the screw

And then I found the package
It was all tied up with string
I cut the knot, and opened it
And it revealed so many things
There were the letters
That he had never sent
He mostly wrote to me
They revealed the prisoner upon each page
The man I’d thought so free
He wrote “Frank
You think I have so much
Indeed there’s little I’ve not done
But you are loved and can give love back
You’re the lucky one
You’re the lucky one Frankie
You have family, friends, your wife
and all they’ll say when I’m gone
is, “he had a busy life”
He wrote, “Frank I just can’t say those words
We’re so different we two
And if you’re reading this then I’m long gone
So Frank, I love you”

chorus

It was late next day
When I got home
My wife had gone to bed
She stretched and stirred and made some room
“Are you okay?” she said
And I lay down and I held her close
And I kissed her on the head
Then reaching out to take her hand
“I love you.” I said

chorus

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Let Me Count The Ways

Well let me count the ways I love that girl
I could make a list
She brings me coffee in the morning
Wakes me with a kiss
She snuggles up beside me
I smile to think she’s mine
She gets a little closer lord
It’s time to rise and shine

Well, she’s not impressed with guys like you
You’re just not her speed
And I don’t know what she sees in me
But she’s got what I need
She’s not impressed by the car you drive
Or the watch upon your wrist
But she decides to kiss you
You know you’ve been kissed

She loves me…

I watch her come towards me
She looks some kind of cute
In a big old Chev Suburban
and her Larry Mahan boots

I love the way she swears in traffic
I love the way she sips her tea
The way she changed my life
Oh, they can’t take that away from me
I love the way she thinks I’m funny
I love her sneaky laugh
I love the way she does the cannonball
When I’m trying to have my bath
I love the way she cries at movies
I love the way she’s in my life
If she weren’t my wife already
You know I’d make her my wife

she loves me…

I watch her come towards me
She looks some kind of cute
Wearing nothing but an evil smile
and those Larry Mahan boots….

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Sleeping Buffalo

He lives an hour outside of Billings
The distant hills are brown and sere
The wind plays tricks outside your hearing
And whispers lies into your ears

He’s got a station at a crossroads
He’s got war medals in his den
He’s got a wife in the county hospice
She’s not coming home again

He filled my tank and cleaned the windshield
He popped the hood and checked the oil
He wiped his hands upon his chinos
His eyes were as dark as prairie soil

He said, “Do you know of the Sleeping Buffalo?
They’re about a half an hour away
A ring of sacred stones upon a hilltop
That’s what the Indians say

The Indians gathered in the springtime
Bearing gifts for the Buffalo
The white men set the stones in concrete
Behind a fence beside the road

I used to go when I was younger
Before I fought in Hitler’s war
Now it’s a park for the goddam tourists
I won’t go there anymore”
He said, “Son I ain’t no Indian
You can look at me and tell
But bastards like Custer had it coming
I hope he’s burning still in hell”

I left him at that windy crossroads
The shades of night began to fall
I thought I’d drive toward the sunset
And pay the Buffalo a call

The sun was just below the hilltops
The night wind pulled me by my shirt
I walked toward the granite figures
Behind the fence, set in the dirt

They loomed dull grey in the gathering twilight
I saw faded paint of red and blue
Some ancient hand had chiseled markings
Now a graven image for a roadside zoo

But I drew near I saw the flowers
Tobacco and fresh cartridges lay near
And so, for some faithful unseen wanderers
The Buffalo’s spirit lingers here

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A Row Of Small Trees

Her rings still held her warmth
As they fell to his hand
The doctor said, “there’s no more we could do”
And he was worried at first that he did not understand
But then he saw his fist close
So he knew

And we watched from the window
As he walked slowly outside
He seemed unsure as to which way to go
And his coat whipped his legs
As the traffic blew by
He had one shoulder raised
As though to ward off a blow

And he lay in their bedroom
Those first sleepless nights
Too restless to sleep and too tired to cry
And he’d wander downstairs
In the pale morning light
To stare at the horizon with unseeing eyes

His neighbours worried about him
Those first desperate weeks
He seemed to dwindle and shrink in his clothes
And in the evenings
He’d wander the hills by himself
To return as the morning sun rose

The grass shook and swayed in the meadow
As he stood in the night
And he heard the dry whisper of leaves
And the wind was her spirit
Running free through the grass
Whispering warm in his ear “don’t you grieve”

He was seen kneeling last Friday
On a high windswept hill
And his white hair blew back in the breeze
And we thought he was praying
Or had taken a fall
But he was planting a row of small trees

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Summer Lightning

I was driving west
through the Bighorn Mountains
The hills were heavy with new-fallen snow
And the sun-bright hills
were dappled like a pony
I was driving hard, I had miles to go

And a magpie flew
across the mountain highway
It flashed and tumbled
through the golden trees
And I thought of you
and my heart was lifted
and floated with that magpie, on the morning breeze

For where I go
You go with me
Thought the miles keep us apart
Your kiss is on my lips and your face before me
And your gentle hand, always on my heart

We are brief as a summer lightning
We are swift as swallow’s flight
We are sparks that spiral upward in the darkness in the night
We are frost upon a window
We won’t pass this way again
In the end only love remains

Tonight the harvest moon
hangs across the valley
I see the hills shine in its silvery light
It’s the same old moon
That shines upon you
It’ll light my way until I’m by your side
Well, who scattered these diamonds
Through the vault of heaven?
Who drew the curve of the magpie’s wing?
Who shaped your face?
What made you love me?
Where is the spark of every living thing?

Well, I guess I don’t know
Don’t care either
I know you love me
How could I not see?
And I am yours, now and forever
Œtil my lips fall silent and my eyes can’t see

We are brief as a summer lightning
We are swift as swallow’s flight
We are sparks that spiral upward in the darkness in the night
We are frost upon a window
We won’t pass this way again
In the end , dear, only love remains

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