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bottle the grief

by The Great Park

from the willows by the weir she fell in and i found her near she went low and so made a new home below the water brought her here i never left and i never arrived i been here the whole time and i watch as what floats carried by river flow and i take what i take to be mine we would climb up to the house on the hill five miles from the town with one room above for the making of love and the other for the tearing it down i never said no to anything but there was nothing to which i could agree and in the ways of the heart i’ve never been smart well we make my own bed when we sleep now the rain falls on amber shore i can’t keep track of the days anymore i was roped into this it is hat it is nothing less and nothing more
well i wake up too late to set the traps and i fear the fine time passed me by the sun is so high the sky so bright i need the kindness and the cover of the night i felt that no one could ever do this to me and i hung around the place like a dog i would chase every stick i would eat my own shit and sleep any dry place there was i was silent and strange creeping down to the grange there were lunch hares down there to hunt the game remains little has changed i play away but the fun is all done and slow go the dark days quick goes the light slow go the dark days quick goes the light there were problems with the ink the bottles i would drink syrupy indian black it could not last so one morning last march my privileges were cut back i got lost in the copse we’ve got guests at the lodge they let me out every third afternoon i used to wait for the wren i won’t hear her again and the dish ran away with the spoon and slow go the dark days quick goes the light slow go the dark days quick goes the light do not carry your past from bar to bar do not look for the sense in a bird song she was with me completely long gone and deeply i am an old so and so and slow go the dark days quick goes the light slow go the dark days quick goes the light
the mistake was to make a character of the wild to turn it to a thing i could bend to my whim to name a beast, fowl or fish to train a finch how not to sing i would take and never make only take a liberty i said the woods are your own but the trees belong to me the mistake was to make a character of the wild i thought my clumsy hands could somehow handle it to gather up her hair and breathe it in to lay it there upon my bare skin she was never less than cruel but the pleasure was always kind she said the days are yours alone but your nights are mine well i threw my shoes away walked five miles in a day i took my medicine and your letters to the lake i mean i feel ok but that’s not saying much at all the golden days gone like honeybees in the snow and the writing and the words and the songs i often sing have yet to move me half as much as what a touch can bring yes the mistake was to make a character of the wild i took the hare by the legs snatched it from the hedge i gave a dog a home it didn’t get to choose it’s own i looked into the mouth of every horse i sat upon i rode to the beach and i looked out at the sea sea did it’s thing with or without me
miller 03:11
the shells fell like bones the boys sunk like stones they never been so lost they never yet left home they fall into the paddock into the corn something gets buried but something gets born the winds brought the smoke and the banks brought the fire we thought the floods were enough but the waves raised it higher this land isn’t cruel but older than time this land that we rule is the last of its kind
well there once were clouds and they gathered above us and as we walked down boot hill they dropped upon us and at the cry of the church bells all the ravens gave it hell a murderous symphony oh the noise does fuck with me a carrion call but when the north wind blows the crows don’t stand a chance and we see carnage treetops shredded a crowd of skeletons sticks for a forest and the fog on the ground thigh high and liquid and we wade a mile well we get really nowhere and our voices are muffled and only talk of trouble i left the town on a whim thoughtless and carefree now every six steps those birds they caw at me a carrion call when the wagons came the locusts landed and for a week they fell about like they fucking owned the place oh they burn your barn they steal your chickens they pollute the paddock and then make you buy it back and they paint your sheep and pour ink into the milk and black wash the stables they turn the daylight off they say it’s for your own good and you’ll thank us later and the truth hurts it’s true but still we give it to you a carrion call and so i say it once and then let’s speak of it no more if the night is really here then let us disappear bottle the grief i walk an hour on my knees get nowhere quicker get it over with get good and gone get it so you can see it the coal the wet tar the gap between the stars it’s not a cry for help when it’s something no one can change it’s a yell into the deep well it’s a shout out for nothing it’s a carrion call
when i was half alive i shut my eyes and gave up the good that you’d shown i turned my back back to the sun and threw the damn thing home i caught her scent and in an instant it filled my troubled dome i been a dumb son mum no more to be done but bury me and hope i grow in the rushes and in the hollows in the cottage under the stairs i was a younger man sitting on my hands my plans so grand back then now i shuffle to the kitchen and i seek out the softest chair the warmest cosiest corner and settle into song again i got lost away from the river confused i wouldn’t say scared and i sat beside an empty post office with letters and cards prepared a dozen policemen patrolling by i didn’t catch the eye of any one when your head is built the way mine is it doesn’t pay to keep it up and the light seemed to leave quicker than before i didn’t wait to get out of there i stole a glimpse and then bottled it day done dusted dead i could hear the angelus chiming but i could not tell from where but if i find a way i’ll make my way to yell at the bells again well at black water bridge she floated beneath her frock flashed in the silvery deep it was a parachute of bone and blue open and billowing her coal dust hair her eyes wide and scared i crossed myself and did run yes i turned away when it was easy to stay and be true at least for once there is a songbird at the window and the little one sleeps at my feet i have an eye on the door but i don’t know what for i have more than i could ever need and somewhere out there the winds are growing and will push the storm upon oh this week between the years is dark and strange and long
well how your legs wrap around as i slowly go down and your knees on my cheeks and my hands on your feet and your grip on my hair and your grip on my neck well i hold you there so wet warm and bare and how you’re stronger than me with my thumb ‘tween your teeth and we fold culinary salted and sweet that’s how your fingertips taste and your sweat on my face til i’ve no chances left til all i’ve earned has been spent
the rope 05:42
who was here before and did not ignore who would follow but instead thought ahead and was kind to each and all well i was helped on my way and come what may i have this to show it was a simple thing to offer to me this rope well amongst the fires out with the liars where the ash rains down and all below is smothered and chokes and soon to drown while the crows fly rings and from their wings they see prison paint grey the flakes remain upon my skin it was hand over hand it was pull what you can with the back that you have lean into it boys don’t think of the lives you could have had all of it went all of it spent so quick it goes now we’re tied to the mast fixed up fast with ship rope but that burns and it hurts and it kicks and it rips with a vicious speed takes fingers sometimes does not care to mind what is put between oh the pace of the thing the taking of skin the sudden sear once coiled and slow but jumps up in smoke and disappears slip it on like a ring now we’re tighter than kin i call you the wife there is fog for miles it blots out the sky and swallows light and they told me get out of the house but i don’t know how or even where to go it tried it once that was one time too much and now the rope it pulls tight so it fits paints wild red lips upon my skin a snake around my neck with an angry head that spits i count the crows at roost i have blood in my shoes i am beaten time to pocket the hands get out in the land and meet it i count the crows at roost i have blood in my shoes lord i am beaten time to pocket the hands get out in the land and meet it


Eight quiet songs recorded over three evenings at L.A. Signorina, Stuttgart in March 2020.

A very limited physical edition of this album was available through The Great Park's Bandcamp subscription at


released May 1, 2020

Stephen Burch: Martin D35 acoustic guitar and vocals

Thanks to Martina and all at L.A. Signorina.

Stephen can be emailed at
The Great Park website is at
Woodland Recordings is at

L.A. Signorina is at

Woodland Recordings catalogue number WR079

All words and music by Stephen Burch

Copyright 2020 / all rights reserved


all rights reserved



The Great Park Germany

Stephen Burch. Problem folk, songs with words.

"Ein Singer-Songwriter ist immer auch Poet. Und Burch ist ein ganz besonderer." (Süddeutsche Zeitung)


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