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Trains And My Grandfather

  • (Brian McNeill)

    When I was seven years old
    I sat on a train rolling east through the night
    And my mother sang songs just to keep out the dark
    Till we both fell asleep in the first morning light
    And I thought on my grandfather's life as the carriages rolled
    For all I knew of him were stories my mother had told
    I was seven years old
    And I waited in the station in the wind and the steam and the rain
    And I can still smell the smoke and see the look in his eyes
    And his hat and his suit and his cane
    As he lifted me down from the train

    When I was sixteen years old
    I fought with my parents like a young man should
    And when the fighting got too rough I'd walk with my grandfather
    Down to the railway where the wine cellars stood
    And he'd talk of the people he'd met and the places he'd seen
    Just to show that he knew all the lines he was reading between
    I was only sixteen
    And when the signalman asked if I still set his watch by the train
    He said that he trusted the Danube Express
    More than many's the watch he could name
    And we watched it roll over the plain

    It took me too long to return
    He was older and smaller and frailer than me
    But when I looked in his eyes I could still see the smile
    And I knew he was younger than I'd ever be
    I sat there and told him the sum of my hopes and my fears
    And he smiled and said laughter could always cure most of the tears
    Of my thirty one years
    And when I said that I'd take the train later that day for the west
    He said he'd go with me, we'd chase all the girls
    The dark ones were always the best
    He remembered the way that they dressed

    A few months after he died
    We drove all night till the bad weather cleared
    My fiddle beside me, my friends and my songs
    On the eve of my birthday in the spring of the year
    And later I called out his name as I lifted my glass
    And a Michigan train whistle answered the call as it passed
    It broke me at last
    But I smiled as I struggled to hold back the tears from my eyes
    For I knew it was easy to talk to my grandfather
    Each time a big train went by
    And there was really no reason to cry

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1995:] A Scottish father and an Austrian mother gave me a childhood split between two countries, and when my Falkirk schoolmates were taking their buckets and spades to Rothesay or Portobello, I was taking mine to the banks of the Danube. [This] deals with the man I found there, Ernest Pferscher. His life began in the Habsburg Empire and he knew nothing of Scotland beyond the family his daughter brought home to him through the vineyards every summer - but it was in Austria, the last time I saw him, that I first began to look back at Scotland and wonder about its past and future, and it's to his memory that this recording is dedicated. (Notes Brian McNeill, 'No Gods')

Quelle: Scotland

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