only this high


Written: 1988
Released: 1999 on 'October'
Brel ends his song 'Mon Enfance' with the lines
'Et la guerre arriva, et nous voila ce soir' (And the war came
along, and here we are this evening)- a fantastic device to bring the
song up to the present, which I have copied.




I remember the taste of that silver spoon
That fed me and clothed me and kept me from harm
The fingers that wrapped me so tender and warm
In blankets of kindness lest I should fall
My days began in the light of the dawn
In the vastness of stillness that hung in the hall
When the sun's first rays seeped soft over all
To colour the gardens and silence the moon


I was only this high and so proud of my years
I counted my age in quarters and halves
I counted the cares of the world on one hand
And counted my own in the tinsel of dreams
I was only this high when the tide first came in
On the castles I'd built on the edge of the sand
When the sea first decayed the walls that I'd made

And murmured the truths of days yet unseen
And of years in between

I lived in a house so white and so high
Like a ship that had stopped just short of the sea
And I was just a passenger there
Waiting impatient for that journey to pass
I ran on the Downs with a breeze in my hair
And dreamt in the flowers and swam in the grass
And splashed in the shouts of the wind through the trees
And floated in fields that stared at the sky


I was only this high and I wanted to see
My oncoming years before they saw me
I wanted to have much more than to need
To fight like a king and like a soldier to bleed
I was only this high and my eyes were so young
They looked at the sun and saw rivers of gold
They looked at the rain and saw the tears of God
And they screwed up and cried when the wind was too cold
I was only this high when I first spoke a lie
When I played in the woods and watched a summertime die
When I learnt how to laugh and was taught not to cry
Though I still don't know why

And I was only this high when I first saw your face
When I first felt my world revolve in the arms
Of an eight year old girl when she smiled my name
When I knew that my life would never be the same
And I was only this high when I first burnt the wings
Of my angelic youth on a few simple sins
That Jesus forgave every sunday at ten
So that by twelve o'clock I could do them again

And I was only this high when I first felt the pain
Of a love that dissolves like snow in the rain
But still that lost love because it was not my own
Did not break my heart though it did break my home
I was only this high but this high was high enough to see
The curtain come down and the years give way
To the vagabond life that brings me here today

© Philip Jeays 1988
Philip Jeays © Sean K

Released April 18th 2016 Take The Slow Train album

© Philip Jeays 2011-2016