Clattery MacHinery on Poetry

December 11, 2006

Mary and The Maid, cleaning up the place

   
by Patty Griffin
   

Mary
   

Mary
You’re covered in roses
You’re covered in ashes
You’re covered in rain
You’re covered in babies
You’re covered in slashes
You’re covered in wilderness
You’re covered in stains

You cast aside the sheets
You cast aside the shroud
Of another man who served the world proud
And you greet another son and you lose another one
On some sunny day and always stay
Mary

Jesus says Mother I couldn’t stay another day longer
He flies right by and leaves a kiss upon her face
While the angels were singing his praises in a blaze of glory
Mary stays behind and starts cleaning up the place

Oh Mary
She moves behind me
She leaves her fingerprints everywhere
Everytime the snow drifts
Every way the sand shifts
Even when the night lifts she’s always there

Jesus said Mother I couldn’t stay another day longer
He flies right by and leaves a kiss upon her face
While the angels were singing his praises in a blaze of glory
Mary stays behind and starts cleaning up the place

Oh Mary
You’re covered in roses
You’re covered in ruins
You’re covered in secrets
You’re covered in treetops
Covered in birds
Who can sing a million songs without any words
You cast aside the sheets
You cast aside the shroud
Of another man who served the world proud
And you greet another son and you lose another one
On some sunny day and always you stay
Mary

   

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The song:

Duration 4:13

   

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“Mary” may be Patty Griffin’s best song among many extraordinary songs–whether we consider the words poetry or not. “The Maid” may be Gilbert Parker’s best poem. Both deal with the sense of how important it is to take care of, and care deeply for, the world while we are here, as both also touch on the inevitable, the awesome, and the personal aspects of our and our loved ones’ dying.
   

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by Gilbert Parker
   

The Maid
   

A little while I saw the world go by–
A little doorway that I called my own,
A loaf, a cup of water, and a bed had I,
A shrine of Jesus, where I knelt alone
And now, alone, I bid the world good-bye.
   

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