Posted by: David Harley | September 30, 2018

Song of Chivalry (live version)

Recorded during my recent ‘Live Lounge’ session with Ian Semple at CoastFM.

Originally published as a poem in Vertical Images 2, 1987.  I waited 30+ years for the melody to turn up, and finally did a make-it-up-as-you-go-along job earlier this year.

And yes, I know that it’s unlikely that M’Lord fought both at Crécy (1346) and Agincourt (1415). While the Black Death subsided in England from about 1350, outbreaks continued beyond the first half of the 15thcentury. I’m not sure how likely it was that M’Lord slept on silk sheets, but it’s a metaphor, not a history lesson…

When M’Lord returned
To his sheets of silk
And his gentle lady
Of musk and milk

The minstrels sang
In the gallery
Their songs of slaughter
And chivalry

The rafters roared
With laughter and boasting
Goblets were raised and drained
In toasting

The heroes of Crécy
And Agincourt
Or the madness
Of some holy war

The hawk is at rest
On the gauntlet once more
Savage of eye
And bloody of claw

Famine and fever
Are all the yield
Of the burnt-out barns
And wasted fields

The sun grins coldly
Through the trees
The children shiver
The widows grieve
And beg their bread
At the monastery door
Tell me then
Who won the war?

David Harley

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Posted by: David Harley | December 28, 2017

Unnamed slide piece

Posted by: David Harley | December 19, 2017

Castles and Kings demo (again)

Posted by: David Harley | December 5, 2017

Katherine

 

 

Posted by: David Harley | November 28, 2017

The jailer/the train (demo) revisited

Posted by: David Harley | November 27, 2017

Song of Chivalry take 2

One-take version. I may augment the guitar at some point, though.

I’ve performed this many times at poetry gigs, but always intended to write a tune for it, and this year one finally came along…

David Harley

Posted by: David Harley | November 21, 2017

Tears of Morning

Version recorded for CoastFM

Posted by: David Harley | November 5, 2017

Please (2)

Probably the final version for now.

Posted by: David Harley | November 5, 2017

Tears of morning/Mercenaries (unaccompanied demos)

I’ve posted versions of these settings of verses from Housman’s Last Poems before, but thought it would be interesting to see how well the melodies stand up to being unaccompanied.

Posted by: David Harley | October 22, 2017

The train/the jailer (demo)

The Jailer (Harley) 

The train will soon be leaving
And the man says ‘all aboard’
But you never leave the platform
And you never cut the cord

Most days you think of leaving
But he’ll always talk you round
His words will talk you into silence
And his arms will hold you down

You need so much to leave him
But there’s no one you can phone
There’s no ticket in your pocket
And you’ve no money of your own

Sometimes he tells you that you’re stupid
Sometimes he tells you that you’re ill
You dream of breaking free
And yet you don’t believe you will

He knows just where you are
Every moment of the day
He hears the thoughts inside your head
He owns the very words you say

He says that you’re his lover
And that’s all you’ll ever be
But you know he’s your jailer
And he’ll never set you free

Sometimes he’ll loosen your shackles
But you’re locked inside his head
And you’ve never found the way
To leave his arms or leave his bed

There’s nowhere you can go
And there’s nothing you can say
Because he knows you’ll never leave him
And that’s exactly why you stay

[break]

The train will soon be leaving
And the man says ‘all aboard’
But you never leave the platform
And you never cut the cord

Most days you think of leaving
But he’ll always talk you round
His words will talk you into silence
And his arms will hold you down

You need so much to leave him
But there’s no one you can phone
There’s no ticket in your pocket
And you’ve no money of your own

(All rights reserved)

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