The poet game

Greg Brown

 DGDGBD
G     []  0 []
Gmaj7 0 0 4 4 0 0
G6 0 0 2 0 0 0
G open 0 0 0 0 0 0
D7 0 1 2 0 2 0
 G555555C222222
                                           Intro:
G Gmaj7 G6 G open D7 G (2x) G
Verse:
G Gmaj7 G6 G open
Down by the river junior year walking with my girl,
 D7G
 and we came upon a place
G Gmaj7 G6 G open
There in the tall grass, where a couple had been making love
 CD7
 and left the mark of their embrace
 CEm
 I said to her, "Looks like they had some fun"
 AD7
 She said to me "Let's do the same"
G Gmaj7 G6 G open
And still I taste her kisses and her freckles in the sun
 G7
 when I play the poet game.
To Intro:
A young man in the hill country in the year of '22
went to see his future bride.
She lived in a rough old shack that poverty blew through
She invited him inside.
She'd been cooking, ashamed and feeling sad,
she could only offer him bread and her name.
Grandpa said that was the best gift a fella ever had
and he taught me the poet game.
I had a friend who drank too much and played too much guitar
and we sure got along.
Reel-to-reels rolled across the country near and far
with letters, poems, and songs
but these days he won't talk to me and he won't tell me why.
I miss him every time I say his name.
I don't know what he's doing or why our friendship died
while we played the poet game.
The fall rain was pounding down on an old New Hampshire mill
and the river wild and high.
I was talking to her while leaves blew down like a sudden chill.
There was wildness in her eyes.
We made love like we'd been waiting all our lives for this
Strangers know no shame.
But she had to leave at dawn and with a sticky farewell kiss
left me to play the poet game.
I watched my country turn into a coast-to-coast strip mall
and I cried out in a song.
If we could do all that in 30 years, then tell me you all
Why does good change take so long?
Why does the color of your skin or who you choose to love
still lead to such anger and pain?
And why do I think it's any help for me to still dream
of playing the poet game?
Sirens wail above the fields, another soul gone down
another sun about to rise.
I've lost track of my mistakes,
like birds they fly around and darken half my skies.
To all of those I've hurt, I pray you will forgive me.
I to you will freely do the same.
So many things I didn't see, with my eyes turned inside,
playing the poet game.
I walk out at night to take a leak underneath the stars.
Oh yeah that's the life for me.
There's Orion and the Pleiades and I guess that must be Mars.
All as clear as we long to be.
I've sung what I was given, some was bad and some was good.
I never did know from where it came
and if I had to do it all again, I am not sure I would
play the poet game.
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Bob Steidl
Dept. Fisheries and Wildlife
Oregon State University
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