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It's the End of All Strain/ It's the Joy in Your Heart

Jim motioned to me to take my earphones off and listen ... to one of my favorite versions of "The Waters of March," a ballad by Antonio Carlos Jobim (originally sung in the Portuguese -- beautifully -- by Astrud Gilberto).

Today's was an exceptionally graceful English-language version sung by Susannah McCorkle, a jazz vocalist who took her own life May 19, 2001 at age 55.

The Waters Of March*

a stick a stone/ it's the end of the road,
it's the rest of the stump/ it's a little alone
it's a sliver of glass/ it is life, it's the sun,
it is night, it is death/ it's a trap, it's a gun.

the oak when it blooms/ a fox in the brush,
the knot in the wood/ the song of the thrush.
the wood of the wind/ a cliff, a fall,
a scratch, a lump/ it is nothing at all.

it's the wind blowing free/ it's the end of a slope.
it's a beam, it's a void/ it's a hunch, it's a hope.

and the riverbank talks/ of the water of march
it's the end of the strain/ it's the joy in your heart.

the foot, the ground/ the flesh, the bone,
the beat of the road/ a slingshot stone.

a fish, a flash/ a silvery glow,
a fight, a bet/ the range of the bow.
the bed of the well/ the end of the line,
the dismay in the face/ it's a loss, it's a find.

a spear, a spike/ a point, a nail,
a drip, a drop/ the end of the tale.

a truckload of bricks/ in the soft morning light,
the shot of a gun/ in the dead of the night.
a mile, a must/ a thrust, a bump.
it's a girl, it's a rhyme/ it's the cold, it's the mumps.

the plan of the house/ the body in bed,
the car that got stuck/ it's the mud, it's the mud.
a float, a drift/ a flight, a wing,
a hawk, a quail/ the promise of spring.

and the riverbank talks/ of the waters of march.
it's the promise of life/ it's the joy in your heart.

a snake, a stick/ it is john, it is joe,
it's a thorn in your hand/ and a cut on your toe.
a point, a grain/ a bee, a bite,
a blink, a buzzard/ the sudden stroke of night.

a pin, a needle/ a sting, a pain,
a snail, a riddle/ a weep, a stain.
a pass in the mountains/ a horse, a mule,
in the distance the shelves/ rode three shadows of blue.

and the riverbank talks/ of the promise of life/
in your heart/ in your heart.

a stick, a stone/ the end of the load,
the rest of the stump/ a lonesome road.
a sliver of glass/ a life, the sun,
a night, a death/ the end of the run.

and the riverbank talks/ of the waters of march
it's the end of all strain/ it's the joy in your heart.

*The Waters of March can be found in Susannah McCorkle's 1993 "From Bessie To Brazil" Concord Jazz - 4547 and in her 2001 "Most Requested Songs" Concord Jazz - 4897-2


Blogger briefcandle said...

Thanks, Micki, I have always loved that song.

9:56 PM

Blogger LaureAnne said...

M!!! Your blog is fantastic! I'm just off for the am, but wanted to say this and to tell you I'll be back! (You and I have similar taste in music, at least so far!)
Felicitations sur ton blog.

3:01 AM

Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Great post, M, thanks. Love Gilberto, love Jobim, love Susannah McCorkle. I had no idea she was dead, much less that she committed suicide.

5:38 AM

Blogger mireille said...

michelle, laure, robin! thank you for reading!

10:21 AM

Blogger miss manners said...

Many months have passed since you posted this, but I must compliment you for posting the lyrics to one of the most--well--lyrical songs ever. You're a rare talent, and I look forward to reading forward on your blog.

5:44 AM


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