“A Following Song” is a song! Alex Floor wrote the music and recorded it. As songs sometimes do, this one has changed its monicker: you may call it “They Went Their Ways.” It joins Stone’s Throw, which the redoubtable Godescalc (more mundanely, James) brilliantly set to music some time ago…
The thing came about this time because I once happened across the oddly-named Ham Kicker website, “an exhibition of collaborative musical work”:
Poets are encouraged to submit poetry. Songwriters are encouraged to work with poets and their poems to develop songs. Performers are encouraged to interpret or reinterpret songs.
So I sent Ham Kicker’s proprietor (turns out his name is Joe) a poem to put up on the site, and forgot about it for more than a year. And then, a while ago, Joe let me know that Alex had written and recorded music for what is now indisputably a Song. Which made me happy, as you might guess, for it’s a lovely song.
Here is the Hamkicker post introducing the thing; here (again) is the song in all its mp3-compressed glory; there’s sheet music! (I love sheet music!) Here, for some reason, is an undated interview with Joe.
And why not, here’s the poem again, with its new title:
They Went Their Ways
Down by the hill, or lower down,
The larks and lizards built a town.
They sang for fun and lay in the sun
And life was easy.
Seasons came, and came, and came,
And some were different, some the same;
The flowers grew, and blossomed, and blew,
And life was easy.
But a lark grows bold to stretch its wing
While a lizard sleeps and dreams of spring.
So the larks forgot – what the lizards did not –
That life is easy.
Then they went their ways, no one knew why,
Some to the desert and some to the sky,
With the turning spheres and the passing years,
Like life, so easy.
Image: from an advertisement for Gombault’s Caustic Balsam (“Has Imitators but No Competitors”), which appears on (among other places) page 14 of the July 1, 1905 number of The Breeder and Sportsman. This is way out of copyright cause it’s so old. Also, I would be shocked if it had ever been registered, which (oh, the good old days!) used to be a requirement for copyright protection. Oh, and it just happened to pop up when I did a Flickr search for “ham kicker.” “… no one knew why…”