My Poetic Answer to Henry Lee

I wrote this poem using only Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song titles with a few connector words. In this version, a man is obsessed with a woman he can’t have, so he kills her. After that, he is a living dead man. Sort of a lyrical flip side. This poem appears in a limited edition chap book. The original lyrics to Henry Lee appear after.

Death is Not the End (dedicated to the songs of Nick Cave copyright 2012)

Kiss me black. My faint heart a six inch gold blade still burning after the fireworks. Deep in the woods just you and me and your fear of guns. Say goodbye to the little girl tree with the sad dark eyes. Say a spell to the wild world. Pleasure is the boss and the moon is in the gutter. Now, I’m a wanted man in tupelo on a train long suffering. The six strings that drew blood like a well of misery from her to eternity as I sat sadly by her side. I’m the black crow king running scared 500 miles to the city of refuge. In O’Malley’s bar grief came riding just like a king. She’s the girl at the bottom of my drink lost in music, a catholic skin little doll. “Give me a rye whiskey green eyes!” Midnight man says…”Serves you right to suffer for your hard on for love.” Sunday morning she passed by my window little ghost song, sad violin thing counting the stars. I’m roaming in a little empty boat. Come into my sleep, into my arms. God is in the house but there’s a dead man in my bed.

Henry Lee/ Nick Cave and PJ Harvey

Get down, get down, little henry lee
And stay all night with me
You won’t find a girl in this damn world
That will compare with me
And the wind did howl and the wind did blow
La la la la la
La la la la lee
A little bird lit down on henry lee
I can’t get down and I won’t get down
And stay all night with thee
For the girl I have in that merry green land
I love far better than thee
And the wind did howl and the wind did blow
La la la la la
La la la la lee
A little bird lit down on henry lee
She leaned herself against a fence
Just for a kiss or two
And with a little pen-knife held in her hand
She plugged him through and through
And the wind did roar and the wind did moan
La la la la la
La la la la lee
A little bird lit down on henry lee
Come take him by his lilly-white hands
Come take him by his feet
And throw him in this deep deep well
Which is more than one hundred feet
And the wind did howl and the wind did blow
La la la la la
La la la la lee
A little bird lit down on henry lee
Lie there, lie there, little henry lee
Till the flesh drops from your bones
For the girl you have in that merry green land
Can wait forever for you to come home
And the wind did howl and the wind did moan
La la la la la
La la la la lee
A little bird lit down on henry lee

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