John Silver

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

The first part of Robert Hunter's Eagle Mall Suite.

Oil my joints and tape my bones
It's time to walk again around the ring


For seven long years we marched
through the deserts of long-lost
John Silver, old buck, to the wheel plied he,
turn it down, 'round, under
where the Moon Pit glitters, (note 1)
through the Valley of the Shadow ran he

No one knows how long we were gone
time ain't reckoned that way
in the Moon Pit desolate world below
Come shoulder John's wheel
heave it up and around then
follow the trail till it cuts on down,
on down through the vision of a bright hot fire

Whoever can tell what things make a man?
John Silver, old buck, did the best you can
A mighty old giant from the dawn of time
he moved like a dancer through the pits of lime
in the nightmare castles of the lonely

I followed him out one dawn
and firmly stood my ground
Could of run but I didn't at all
Shoulder John's wheel, heave it up and around
then follow the trail till it cuts on down
Don't run, don't hide, don't reckon
just wander on through

Old John pulled the wheel
like silver was he,
drew a breath, wiped a sweat
grinned wide and bright, said:
Follow me down when the wheel draws tight
Down, I allow, in the shadowy pit
where he glistened like an angel
in the bright hot fire

With a voice like silken thunder
he'd sing of the world down under
tunes to chill your bones, set your eyes afire
while night passed over like a summer shower
when he sang away the dark and brought the dawn in

The old folks gather sometimes at night (note 2)
when the desert stars are eyes of light
We talk of an evening when the moon is clear
about John Silver and the wheel of fear
How we marched single file through the bright hot fire

To the edge of the desert we came
To the land that had no name
John Silver turned back, to the desert retired
to gather the souls that were still untried
Untried by the vision of a bright hot fire

Gantree led the men
with Copper next in command
through the desert's heat, to the cool of night,
for days on edges where the sun burned bright
Bright as the silver-eyed wheel drawn tight

For seven long years we marched
through the deserts of long-lost
John Silver, old buck, to the wheel plied he,
turn it down, 'round, under where the Moon Pit glitters, (note 1)
through the Valley of the Shadow ran he
Notes
(1) in a 2002 performance, Hunter sang "...where the Moon Pit glimmers
(2) in a 1980 solo performance, Robert Hunter sang this verse after the "Gantree led the men ..." verse.



 


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