When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

~ Kahlil Gibran, from"The Prophet"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

For a Dancer - JB

Today has been one of THOSE days. It started out fine. I walked this morning in the beautiful sunny air, returned home to do a few mundane tasks and then, spurred on by the sunshine outside, decided to put up some spring decorations in the house. I turned on my ipod to add some music to liven the place up a bit. Songs are set for random play, and I have quite a few selections, collected over time. I was great until Jackson Browne's For a Dancer started playing.
It dropped me to the kitchen floor.

I don't know how many Jackson Browne fans are out there, but I LOVED his music when I was in high school and college - still do. He toured last summer and I was fortunate to attend his concert at Ravinia in July.
In 1974 he released "Late For the Sky", which many critics call his finest album (It's on Rolling Stone's list of best albums of all time.) and it was by far my favorite. Browne's lyrics are often angst-ridden, perfect for the restless teenager I was at the time.
Dear Lord, little did I know how full of angst I'd be now...
The lyrics below are those that tear at my soul.

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down
I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must have thought you'd always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found

I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
That I can't sing
I can't help listening
And I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying as they ease you down
'Cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
Right on dancing
No matter what fate chooses to play
There's nothing you can do about it anyway

Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone

If you'd like, CLICK HERE for a YouTube performance from 1976.


  1. I'm so sorry that you had one of those "on the floor" times yesterday. Those are hard. Wish there was more that I could do than say, "I'm sorry," and send loving thoughts.

    We are BIG JB fans, especially of his earlier music (some of the more recent, political stuff is a bit too strident for this ballad-loving girl).

    I don't know this song (which is weird, because I know A LOT of his words and music by heart), and am going to follow the YouTube link now. The lyrics can really stand on their own, too - as is the case with most of his stuff.

    Katie & David both love his music. Katie loved "The Pretender," "She Must Be Somebody's Baby" and "In the Shape of a Heart." You've probably seen the postings on my blog about "Sky Blue & Black."

    Hoping that today is better for you.

  2. It's quite sweet that your boy Jackson's lyrics can be even more meaningful to you all these years later-I can see how this song could drop you down on the floor. Music is a very powerful thing-so lay there, weep, remember, and when you can.....get up and try again.......

  3. Do you remember sitting in your basement listening to "Late For the Sky" over and over and over again? I always knew that "For a Dancer" was a beautiful song but I never knew just HOW beautiful until it came back to me via Erin. "Cause I know that she would rather we were dancing. Dancing our sorrow away".

    Erin, I promise we will keep on dancing. I'm going to take your mother out for some serious line-dancing, waltzing, ball-room dancing...whatever her heart desires! You will be on that dance floor with us.

    I love you like crazy Mare!
    Your dear old friend Squant.