Mennonite Poetry Home | Larry Nightingale



Whistling (song)

Whistle for me
li'l sister, when I'm dead,
whistle for me, sweet birdies
when I'm flat out on that low bed,
whistle like the four winds
cuz for that ol' mule shut in that shed
ain't no difference now
(if there ever was)
'tween the weight of gold
and the weight of lead

Hasten to me
sweet thing, come to where I'm bid,
hasten to me, nightjars, fireflies,
where I can't hide what I've hid,
hasten like the trouble I've seen
and all the trouble that I did,
ain't no secret now
(if there ever was)
'tween the ol' piss-kettle pot
and the piss-kettle lid

Listen to it, sweet Jesus,
what this sweet world says,
listen to it, poor old Lazarus,
all that the have-not has,
listen like the mystery listens
to the mystery
in every breath
(as it ever was)
'tween the face of life
and the face of death

Whistle for me
li'l Annie, when I'm dead,
whistle for me, sisters,
when I've said all that I've said,
you were whistling in your kitchens
while you were at work
kneading the Easter-bread,
(as it ever was)
will ya' whistle for me,
when I'm laid out blind and deaf,
whistling the joyful Easter blues
where at the last I lay my head.

© Larry Nightingale




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