Castles and Kings [demo] (again)

[I keep putting versions of this up, but the vocal is a bit better on this version… The final version will probably also include a version of Vestapol, as did earlier versions. But I’ll come back to that.]

When I was a kid in a country town
and I’d nothing better to do:
I’d detour round by the railway bridge
on my way home from school.

Leaning over the bridge with my chin in my hands,
too young to be wondering why,
I’d wait what seemed hours for the signal to change:
wait for a train to go by

The lure of the footplate, the churn of the rods
straining to places unknown;
fog in November, smoke in the cold air
the faraway steam-whistle moan;

bathing my eyes in the warmth of the lights
as up the track she would fly.
I’d get home late: they’d ask ‘Where have you been?’
I’d say ‘watching the trains go by’…

Saturday lunchtime some days in the spring
with the sky an implacable blue,
collecting the numbers of Castles and Kings:
it’s all we’d want to do.

Perspective of steel cut through frostbitten green,
just went on to a faraway end,
and I always felt sad at the Cambrian’s tail-light
as she’d disappear round the bend.

Now trains mean timetables, luggage and waiting rooms,
leaving the people I love;
the pounding of diesels, the A to B run
– perspective has subtly moved.

Tonight I am free and the rails are still endless
(if I had the fare to ride)
but I stand on a footbridge in the heart of the city
watching the Tube trains go by.

David Harley

 

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Please (demo)

A song I wrote in the 70s but of which I finally recorded a demo in 2015. And then forgot about it until today. Listening to it now, it’s not far from how I’d like the finished version to be: I’ll have to dig out the rough tracks and maybe re-record the vocals. [Update: cleaned up existing version. Probably that’s all I’ll do with it for the present.  Other songs to write!]

Words and music by David Harley: all rights reserved

Please

Please
Let me go on dreaming
Don’t make me wake
To find her gone
But it’s all right
Waking in the darkness
To find her still
Here in my arms

And the nightmares come and go
But in the afterglow
The pain spills out across the sheets
If this is all a dream
Please
Let me go on dreaming

Please
Let us go on dreaming
Sleep away the bitterness
That poisoned our lives
Help us
Go on believing
Tuning out the threats
And the lies

Please
Hold back the daybreak
Let there be no more
Lonely dawns
Or else
Let tomorrow last for ever
Dreaming
Of the night before

Words & Music by David Harley
© 1977

Rainy Day Moments [demo]

Copyright David Harley 1972

This is a song for another stranger
A ship that moaned in the night
That I spent a lifetime with one long weekend
Then lost with no trace of a fight

What a party that was, what a bitter-sweet dream
What a raft in an ocean of blues
A theme for a song or a stag-party joke
A memory I never quite lose

What made her want me, that rainy day moment
Is something I can’t understand
I’m grateful she did and I really don’t know
Why I let it all slip through my hands

My ego was flattered, I liked her a lot
Yet deep down I couldn’t respond
I tried once to pick up the pieces by mail
But I knew that the chance was gone

As I bled later on from a deeper wound
I heard from a friend of a friend
That she’d just got married and anyway
I’d no reason to see her again

My life is a patchwork of rainy day moments
And she was just one of the bits
A tiny regret and a faint irritation
And wondering just where she fits

Whistle While You Walk [demo]

Whistle While You Walk (Harley)
Copyright April 2017

Sometimes – you look into her eyes
And all you want to do is talk
Sometimes you have to see her
Other times you just have to walk

Just walk away
Walk away
A shrug, a sigh
And whistle as you walk away

Sometimes you’re the heartbreak
Sometimes you’re just broke
And all your songs are lost
In the space between the notes

Just walk away
Walk away
A shrug, a sigh
And whistle as you walk away

Sometimes you know you love her
Sometimes you feel so cold
Sometimes your heart is empty
And you turn back to the road

Just walk away
Walk away
A shrug, a sigh
And whistle as you walk away

Sometimes – you look into her eyes
And all you want to do is talk
Sometimes you have to see her
Other times you just have to walk

Just walk away
Walk away
A shrug, a sigh
And whistle as you walk away