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Gypsy

You come from far away
With pictures in your eyes
Of coffeeshops and morning streets
In the blue and silent sunrise
But night is the cathedral
Where we recognized the sign
We strangers know each other now
As part of the whole design
Oh, hold me like a baby
That will not fall asleep
Curl me up inside you
And let me hear you through the heat
You are the jester of this courtyard
With a smile like a girl's
Distracted by the women
With the dimples and the curls
By the pretty and the mischievous
By the timid and the blessed
By the blowing skirts of ladies
Who promise to gather you to their breast
You have hands of raining water
And that earring in your ear
The wisdom on your face
Denies the number of your years
With the fingers of the potter
And the laughing tale of the fool
The arranger of disorder
With your strange and simple rules
Yes now I've met me another spinner
Of strange and gauzy threads
With a long and slender body
And a bump upon the head
With a long and slender body
And the sweetest softest hands
And we'll blow away forever soon
And go on to different lands
And please do not ever look for me
But with me you will stay
And you will hear yourself in song
Blowing by one day

single cover
Single Release : 10.1986
Lyrics : Suzanne Vega
Copyright : © 1987 AGF Music Ltd. & Waifersongs Ltd. (ASCAP)
Album : Solitude Standing

"Solitude Standing" - tracklist :

Notes:

This song written for an old boyfriend of Suzanne's. Suzanne has expressed many times that the man she talks about in this song is the same guy she things of in the song In Liverpool. [Ed.]
"Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I was the Folk singing and disco dance counsellor at a sleep away camp in the Adirondak mountains. A sleep away camp, for those of you who don't know, it's a place where you send your children in the Summer, so they can learn to commune with nature and learn independence. And the people of New York had sent us their children, for the Summer, to look after. So there I was, and there was this boy's camp a quarter of mile up the road, and in this boy's camp there was a sort of a strange person, and everyone was talking about him.
- "Oh have you met the new counsellor? He's from Liverpool."
I thought "That's interesting!"
- "Yeah, and he's bald!"
- "Oh, really?"
- "Yes, and he has one earring in one ear. And he's going deaf!"
He was a rather singular person. He was actually a Dada's painter from Liverpool, who had been involved in some sort of strange Dada's movement, and then shaved his head in public, and had applied to this camp - I think - in the spirit of anarchy that was gripping the nation at the time. And much to his surprise, had actually got accepted at this camp far away from his home. So we met each other, and we began...
I think I asked him the question which is the one that you asked at the time which was to find out if you had any kinship with some person. You would say "Do you like Leonard Cohen?" And if they said "Who?" then you knew there was no chance. You probably wouldn't even have a conversation. But if they said "Oh yes!" or if they sayd "Oh, wasn't he the guy who sang that song...?" then you know there was a chance. Then what you were supposed to say after that is "I like Leonard Cohen, but only in certain moods". Because after all you don't want this new person to think you're manic-depressive. You know, you have to serve tempo, until you get to know this other person better. So I opened the conversation. I said:
- "Do you like Leonard Cohen?"
and he said:
- "Oh yes!"
I thought "Oh that's really a great sign", and I said:
- "I love Leonard Cohen, but only in certain moods."
I said hopefully. And he said:
- "What moods are that, I love Leonards Cohen all the time."
And so began our romance.
It was a very, very long time ago, and the thing I remember the most was that he used to hold me in his arms, and talk to me about Liverpool, and about the English breakfast, that he was homesick for. And it was really fascinating to me to hear this kind of talk, because it sounded so exotic to me. I mean, I had never heard of eating mushrooms for breakfast before.
And so I always think of that, you know, I've been to England many times, and I eat the mushrooms and the tomatoes, and I think of that guy, even if I don't think I should. It's not as though I think he deserves, or anything. It's not as though he's come around to see me in the 20 years that has passed either.
Anyway, to make a long story longer, this was a song I had written for him at the end of that Summer. I think it must be revenge that keeps me talking about him, because he had said somethin, you know, it was the end of the Summer, and we both knew we were both going our separate ways. And he asked me for my address, and I said no, I wouldn't give it to him. And so he said "well I'd like to say I'll never forget you, but you never know about these things". I think it was a retaliation for my not giving him my address. So now, everytime I come to England, I talk about him on the radio, so he's forced to think about me whether he wants to or not."
In concert: BBC Radio Theatre, London, England, October 19, 1998

In another occasion, Suzanne added an extra detail to the story
...it was the Summer of my first Summer romance, and this was the song I wrote for this man who was from Liverpool, England. And at the end of that Summer I kind of knew in my heart that we probably would not continue to see each other, so I wrote him this song, and he in return gave me his bandanna."
In concert: WDR2 Radio Session, Koln, Germany, February 28, 2002