You say you will, you say you won’t,
You say you do, and then you don’t;
The games you play are all the same,
They all seem cool, they all seem tame:
O say you will (I say you won’t),
O say you do (I say you don’t).
We try to think of things to do,
We sing our songs, they all seem blue;
As time goes by, we live a lie
We can’t conceal but still deny:
So say you will, or say you won’t,
Or say you do, or say you don’t.
Don’t go – sit down and stay a while
Even if there’s little to say;
I live by the grace of your smile
And can try to get by this way.
A world of meaning in your eyes,
A universe beyond your glance;
How am I to tell where truth lies,
When the gods look at me askance?
If I could fold you in my arms,
Clasp you tight, kiss you deep and long,
Banish all cares, dispel all charms –
I’d sell my soul for that sweet song.
Outside, the trees stand bare and black
Against a sky of frozen grey;
The music ends, and all I lack
Is your love on this winter’s day.
What’s up? Got something on your mind?
Always harking back to a time
That won’t return, you poor old sod,
Still adding coals to the fire where you burn?
Cutesy glances and sweet nothings –
You’ve seen and heard them all before;
They’ve gone forever, you know you’re wasting
Your precious time if you look for them here.
So don’t fall in a mood again,
Don’t go down those weary, devious paths:
Steady the buffs and pecker up –
That’s the spirit! Or push off somewhere else
If you can’t stand the heat – it makes no sense
To mope or let your maithered mind melt down.
And of course you may say,
Did it happen that way?
And of course you’d be perfectly right –
There was no one in sight
To witness my plight
In the light of that cold winter’s day –
So what can I say
To show you the way
That led me to madness and wrong?
All I can say
Is that this was the song
That turned my night into day.
Poems originally published in David Butchart, The Woman I Love has the Name of a Bird (Oxford: The Miracle Press, 1975)