Pete Atkin sings
The Faded Mansion On The Hill

by Clive James and Pete Atkin,
from Driving Through Mythical America

[Much more at]


     When you see what can't be helped go by
     With bloody murder in its eye
     And the mouth of a man put on the rack
     The voice of a man about to crack

     The stupid children, bitter wives
     Your self-esteem in disarray
     You do your best to climb away
     From the streaming traffic of decay

     Believing if you will that all these sick hate days
     Are just a kind of trick Fate plays
     But still behind your shaded eyes
     That mind-constricting thick weight stays

     When on the outskirts of the town
     Comes bumping cavernously down
     Out of the brick gateways
     From the faded mansion on the hill
     The out-of-date black Cadillac
     With the old man crumpled in the back
     That Time has not yet found the time to kill

Between the headlands to the sea
                         the fleeing yachts of summer go
White as a sheet and faster than the driven snow
Like dolphins riding high and giant seabirds flying low

And square across the wind
                         the cats and wingsails pull ahead
Living their day as if it almost could be said
The cemetery of home
                         could somehow soon be left for dead

     But the graveyard of tall ships is really here
     Where the grass breaks up the driveway more each year
     And here is all these people have
     And everything they can't believe
     The beach the poor men never reach
     The shore the rich men never leave

Between the headlands from the sea
                         the homing yachts of summer fill
The night with shouts and falling sails and then are still
The avenues wind up into the darkness of the hill
Where Time tonight might find the time to kill