MILES FROM HALIFAX

 

Written in December 1996. Nora had gone shopping one Saturday afternoon and I had settled down in the house on my own intending to write a song, but with nothing special in mind. Suddenly a lady walked though my living room door. She informed her name was Emile Bronté. Apparently seeing me troubled she had simple popped through a hole in the time continuum. At least a couple of the lines of this song are definitely hers. She suggested that I sing the last two lines of each verse twice in order to give the audience a chance to join in. When I suggested that she might like to join me one night at a folk club she replied (and I quote) "I wouldn't be seen dead in a folk club". Up until that moment I had thought she was quite a nice lady.

 

Deep silence of the water as the storm it fast descends,

Great trees with snow so laden their brave boughs bend and bend,

The night is closing round us and the wild wind coldly blows,

The weaver leaves his cottage to tread that lonely road.

 

For fifteen hours we've laboured from dawn till late at night,

And blindness creeps upon us in this wretched candlelight,

A tyrant spell has bound us, as the looms they clatter on,

A city sinking in the mist, a place where hope has gone.

 

We hear the clogs a chatter on stones like a crocodiles back,

Reptilian streets a wet with mist as the weaver humps his pack,

Past dry stone walls all hewn by men to stand for a hundred years,

Beyond the lonely gibbet where dead men shed no tears.

 

And here we live in poverty we work until we die,

Wan glances flung across the hills, no colour fills the sky

We tease, we turn, we spin, we woof, we break our aching backs,

And if we ever live again, be it miles from Halifax.

 

© Joe Stead - Fore Lane Music - December 1996

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