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1965


THE HOUSE SONG:

it began as a song about a house. our house. the house that betty and i had turned into a home. the water softener factory that i bought for $38000 in 1962 and was referred to as "stookey's folly" by Betty's folks...until of course the bargain was legitimatized by discovering the brick nogging (wooden separators between the old bricks) that made up the real walls of the house. the architect, Herbert Lipmann was noticeably excited...we found nogging he said...brick nogging...that means the building is old...quite old...sometime early in the 1800's...i'm doing some research he said...there's even a chance that the building will qualify as an Historic Site...my...my...Providence again...how many times have i become involved in what seemed to be a simple matter of the heart only to discover later some unseen significance ... and what a great neighborhood. it's greenwich village. west village. more serene here than the maelstrom of art and cultural tension that whirls through the coffeehouses of Bleeker and McDougald in these early 60's.

Clifford Odet's 'golden boy lives two doors away...Edna St Vincent Millay lived in the "narrows", the tiny little 20 foot wide house across the street. Bill and Cora Baird and the puppets are around the corner and there's a garage - well actually an alleyway just wide enough for the XKE jaguar that betty and i received for our wedding present from peter, mary, albert and john in 1963. but that was three years ago. it's 1966 and thanks to the persistence of the architect, there's a brass plaque on the front of 70 bedford street that tells passerbys that John Roome a sailmaker and keeper of the debtor prison lived here in the year 1806 and that reference to him may be found in the city records. the english sports car has become a sedan and will soon become a station wagon which will then become a camper but it's late at night now and Elizabeth our first born daughter is asleep on the third floor.

i've just returned from another road trip. pp&m have begun to cut back the performance schedule...down to 180 or so from over 200/year...we've had such great success...overwhelming really...out of proportion actually...seems to be still in excess of not only our efforts but our talents as well. but perhaps i'm the only one who feels that way...peter and mary and i don't talk about the dark underbelly of success almost as if it 'can't happen here'...i've been smoking a lot of dope lately...out of the house but then a lot of my life lately has been out of the house... the tour... the recording... the promotion...

and of course the solo projects...as i fervently seek some individual identity away from pp&m...i mean i thought i knew who i was but now who am i? noel or paul or...

anyway...

i miss my wife terribly...not just because i'm out on the road...oh that too of course...but we're not a couple anymore...we're a family now...and i'm too young - too immature to see that as an opportunity...how absurd...i'm jealous of my own child...such a spoiled child i am...i'm not sure being an only child adequately prepares one to be a father or give instinctively of oneself to a family...in any event i'm not at all sure i want to share betty with anyone...and probably because i'm afraid that no one will be there for me...except of course 'the peter paul and mary fans'...i'm lonely and i'm going through midlife crisis at the age of 30! i don't see evenings as family times...instead i see them as the number of events i must attend without her...not that being with me was any great treat in terms of dealing with the pp&m machine...

"oh...you're paul's wife...i just love them don't you? it must be terrible to have him away on the road so much isn't it? is he as nice at home as he appears on the stage? i mean he's so funny...is he as funny at home? does he do those funny sound effects around the house...do you have any children...really... does she look like him? oh i can't imagine... well...where did you meet...really...(blink)... do you think you could introduce me..."

betty is asleep on the second floor. there's a balcony outside the bedroom door that overlooks the living room. there's a wrought-iron lamp hanging through the open space between the floors and a mood that prevails...

THIS HOUSE GOES ON SALE EVERY WEDNESDAY MORNING

AND TAKEN OFF THE MARKET IN THE AFTERNOON

YOU CAN BUY A PIECE OF IT IF YOU WANT TO

IT'S BEEN GOOD TO ME IF IT'S BEEN GOOD FOR YOU

translation:

it is with an anxious nervous personal concern that this information is offered...being vulnerable on this kind of emotional level is new to me and so i am only able to reveal it occasionally and even then feel i must withdraw it shortly after...you can accept any or all of the following 'confession' and to whatever extent it becomes helpful for you it makes the revelation that much less painful for me...

'TAKE THE GRAND LOOK NOW; THE FIRE IS BURNING

IS THAT YOUR REFLECTION ON THE WALL?

I CAN SHOW YOU THIS ROOM AND SOME OTHERS

IF YOU CAME TO LOOK AT THE HOUSE AT ALL

translation:

gather what you can from what you see, this is the passion of creation. have you /will you notice the similarity in our observations. i'm hopeful that we can share many levels of understand ing if, in fact, you are here to learn something beyond just the knowledge that we hold some things in common.

CAREFUL UP THE STAIRS; A FEW ARE MISSING

I HAVEN'T HAD THE TIME TO MAKE REPAIRS

THE FIRST STEP IS THE HARDEST ONE TO MASTER

THE LAST ONE I'M NOT EVEN SURE IS THERE

translation:

there are some leaps of logic here (there always re when passion is involved)...you might call it faith...and i've been so concerned with the evolution of this faith that i've not returned to the earlier steps to repair or clothe them in more understandable terms. the most difficult decision to make is the first one; particularly when the resolution of or the reward for the climb is not known...

THIS ROOM HERE ONCE HAD CHILDISH LAUGHTER

AND I RETURN TO HEAR IT NOW AND AGAIN

I'M CAN'T SAY THAT I'M CERTAIN WHAT YOU'RE AFTER

BUT IN THIS ROOM A PART OF YOU WILL REMAIN

translation:

whereas there was a time and place for me as a child, i visit it occasionally either to recall or to renew and, though i may not know what direction your vision and desire may lead you, i am persuaded that each of us has an innocence of youth that we retain and to which we refer no matter our age.

SECOND FLOOR; THE LADY SLEEPS IN WAITING

'PAST THE LANTERN; TIPTOE IN IT'S GLANCE

IN THIS ROOM THE SOFT BROWN ARMS OF SHADOW

THIS ROOM THE HARDEST ONE TO PASS

translation:

another level; marriage and the comfort of a close relationship...here, but for the thirst to know and the appetite for growth I could easily stay. herein are the temporal loves - at times a web of excuses that (though by no design) - deter some of us temporarily, some forever - from exploring the wordless promise of what we might be - herein are the attentions of the world, the solace of shared lamentations. but I know that just as a people without vision will perish so shall we as individuals if we do not respond to that which calls us...perhaps it can never be denied...only postponed...a blessing on the temporal relationship that encourages the separate spiritual search; for that relationship learns the virtue of both hope and tolerance...and returns to itself renewed strength of spirit.

HOW MUCH WILL YOU PAY TO LIVE IN THE ATTIC?

THE SHAVINGS OFF YOUR MIND ARE THE ONLY RENT

I LEFT SOME 'WOULD' THERE IF YOU THOUGHT YOU COULDN'T

OR IF THE 'SHOULDN'T' THAT YOU'VE BOUGHT HAS BEEN SPENT

translation:

how important is this search for fufillment? the only certain cost is the peeling away of your preconceptions. this song is to be an encouragement to continue your personal search for truth (if you think you can't or if the 'don't follow your heart' advise that you have accepted for so many years has lost its relevence).


 

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