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McTELL, Ralph

The Ferryman
At last he reached a river so beautiful and wide

But the current was so strong he could not reach the other side

And the weary travelling man looked for a ferryman strong enough to row against the tide,

And the ferryman was old but he moved the boat so well,

Or did the river move the boat? The traveller could not tell.

Said the ferryman, "You're weary and the answers that you seek,

Are in the singing river, listen humbly it will speak."

Oh, the traveller closed his eyes and he listened and he heard

Only the river murmuring and the beating of his heart.

Then he heard the river laughing, and he heard the river crying

And in it was the beauty and the sadness of the world

And he heard the sounds of dying, but he heard the sounds of birth

And slowly his ears heard all the sounds of earth.

The sounds blended together and they became a whole

And the rhythm was his heartbeat to the music his soul.

And the river had no beginning, as it flowed into the sea

And the seas filled the clouds and the rains filled the streams

And as slowly as the sunrise, he opened up his eyes

To find the ferryman had gone, the boat moved gently on the tide.

And the river flowed within him, and with it he was one

And the seas moved around the earth, and the earth around the sun.

And the traveller was the river, was the boat and ferryman,

Was the journey and the song that the singing river sang.

Streets of London

Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
Hand held loosely at his side
Yesterday's paper telling yesterday's news

So how can you tell me you're lonely,
And say for you that the sun don't shine?
Let me take you by the hand

And lead you through the streets of London
Show you something to make you change your mind

Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She's no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.

So how ….

In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his teacup,
Each tea lasts an hour
And he wanders home alone

So how …

Have you seen the old man
Outside the Seaman's Mission
Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
In our winter city,
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn't care

Girl on a Bicycle

Hey little girl on the bicycle, wheels spin like they're riding on air.
Hey little girl on the bicycle, wheels flash like the sun in her hair.
And the wheels go round but the bike has stopped moving
Trees on the river move by her.

Hey little girl on the bicycle, sun blaze in her hair like a flame,
And the river's reflecting her bicycle, and the reeds whisper her name,
And the wheels go round but the bike has stopped moving,
Trees on the river move by her.

Hey little girl on the bicycle, dressed in white, the trees were in green.
Sparkling cycling bicycle that moves through the trees like a dream
And the wheels go round and the trees have stopped moving
Suddenly she is gone.