Tag Archives: William Carlos William

100 of my favourite songs: the Waters of March

As a songwriter of sorts I want to write a bit about some of my favourite songs – things I wish I’d written or made me want to write in the first place.

Some are clever, some are stupid, some are old some are new.  Either way they’re all brilliant in their own way.  The idea is this will hopefully make you want to listen again or that maybe you’ll discover something you’ll want to keep.

 Waters of March (Aguas de Marco) 

by  Antonio Carlos Jobim

listen here! –  waters of March

(This is Art Garfunkels version there’s another beautiful version by TOM JOBIM & ELIS REGINA  down at the bottom)

garfunkel-art-5346959715eb5tom-jobim_101

Art Garfunkel                                                            Antonio Carlos Jobim

 

To me it’s got everything you want – melodic, simple and profound.

My Brazilian friend Nando tells me it was originally about everything that floated downstream after a devastating Spring flood; which is surprising because being a bossa nova it sounds like a fairly laid-back disaster.

I first heard because my parents  used to pirate-record albums from Plymouth record library, fitting them onto a C90 cassette by taking out the duff songs.  This made the cut; it reminded me then of picture dictionaries  ‘A stick, a stone’ etc.  It feels like a listed celebration of the mundane ‘a truck load of bricks in the soft morning light’ , ‘the plan of the house, the body in bed’ beautiful clear images; to me a least as beautiful as a William Carlos William poem like ‘the red wheelbarrow.’  and all these images exist within the repeated refrain of nature ‘ and the riverbank talks of the waters of March…’  The continuation of life in and through all change.  it’s poetic but with bright simplicity.

I suppose the instrumentation on this version may feel a little dated but Art Garfunkels  wry monotone delivery fits, it’s observational not emotional and more beautiful for that.

To me it says the most important things are small things in your everyday life; notice them and enjoy them before you yourself have to drop out of their cycle. It winds up into a great resolution  ‘the end of the run …the end of all strain/ it’s the joy in your heart’

You know it’s all  a great minimalist poem,  here it is:

A stick, a stone,
It’s the end of the road,
It’s the rest of a 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,
A knot in the wood,
The song of a 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 the slope,
It’s a beam, it’s a void,
It’s a hunch, it’s a hope

And the river bank talks
of the waters of March,
It’s the end of the strain,
The joy in your heart

The foot, the ground,
The flesh and the bone,
The beat of the road,
A slingshot’s stone

A fish, a flash,
A silvery glow,
A fight, a bet,
The range of a 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 a cold, it’s the mumps

The plan of the house,
The body in bed,
And the car that got stuck,
It’s the mud, it’s the mud

Afloat, adrift,
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 stick, a stone,
It’s the end of the road
It’s the rest of a stump,
It’s a little alone

A snake, a stick,
It is John, it is Joe,
It’s a thorn in your hand
and a cut in your toe

A point, a grain,
A bee, a bite,
A blink, a buzzard,
A sudden stroke of night

A pin, a needle,
A sting, a pain,
A snail, a riddle,
A wasp, a stain

A pass in the mountains,
A horse and a mule,
In the distance the shelves
rode three shadows of blue

And the riverbank talks
of the waters of March,
It’s the promise of life
in your heart, in your heart

A stick, a stone,
The end of the road,
The rest of a stump,
A lonesome road

A sliver of glass,
A life, the sun,
A knife, 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.

Not bad for a popular song.

 

Next time though something more stupid – Promise!!

As promised  I I couldn’t ignore this version  it may be in Portuguese but  so fluid, and they’re just loving singing together – Watch it Watch it!!

https://youtu.be/Qle1OrunKnE