Newspaper Pane

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She looked at the pictures on a newspaper pane
That was taped to the window
To keep out the wind
To keep out the rain

To keep out the nonsense
And block out the needing
To keep up her spirits
With improving reading
But the ink from the columns
Dissolved down into the stain
On the bare wood floor
That extended to the door

Pictures of bright futures somehow ignored
That offered her finery she could never afford
Tempting out savings that she didn’t have or could never risk
Not a fashionable kindness, it was grotesque

The beaus with their fiddles played “The Rascal’s Release”
We toasted to valor
And wished there were peace
Six months later in a newspaper margin
They were all cut down in a cavalry charge
Weeping Miss Imogen said to her priest
"I gave him my virtue
It was the least I could leave him
On the eve of departure
Though I will long for him now and hereafter

And the child I’ll be raising may have his blue eyes
What if he grows up and dies
On some distant unnamable hillside or field
Because a king and a concubine put a mark on his shield"

Thomas tomorrow, Thomas no more
Father and sunshine, beyond and before
William who brought his drum home from the war
To beat it for young lads whose days didn’t even add up to a score

I don’t spend my time perfecting the past
I live for the future
Because I know it won’t last

A bent note on a horn I can’t play
The ghosts in the window
That I can’t wish away
Freedom to be reckless
Freedom to plunder
Freedom to dream
Freedom to wonder

When you get where I am now
You may feel differently
The cliff drops away sharply
Falls into the sea

No work today
No hope tomorrow
No bread for breaking
No wine for sorrow

Nobody is selling
No truth for telling
No work tomorrow
No work today
Look at that child bride and her ideal bouquet
Boys, pick up a rifle
That’s too much to pay
Count out her teardrops
Wipe them away

Newspaper Pane
Written byElvis Costello, Michael Leonhart & Bill Frisell
Performed byElvis Costello
Horn arrangementMichael Leonhart
MusiciansElvis Costello - voice
Michael Leonhart - drums, Danelectro baritone guitar, Fender Stratocaster, Univox Minikorg 700 synth, Univox bass, Farfisa combo organ, Vox Continental combo organ, trumpet, bass trumpet, trombone, upright piano
Bill Frisell - J.W. Black guitar & loops
Recorded2020, New York (instrumental) and "via Electrical Wire" (vocal)
ReleasedOctober 16, 2020 (download/stream)
October 30, 2020 (album)
AlbumsHey Clockface, 2020
Singlesdownload/stream, 2020

First known performance:
     (0 known performances)

Newspaper PaneNewspaper-Pane-Single-Artwork-1.jpg

Hey ClockfaceHey Clockface album cover.jpg

Internal links