Digital Tradition Mirror

Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts

Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts
(Larry Kaplan)

Down at Bellevue Hospital
Out on those nameless wards,
Tonight a young man passed away
Alone, without a word.
Brought there from a boarding house
On the Bowery downtown,
And on his bed a list of things
The nurses there had found.

A coat, a hat, his pants, a vest
And a beat-up pair of shoes,
And, in his pocket, signed by him
A dollar I.O.U.,
And a slip of folded paper
Torn off from a paper bag,
The first words of another song
The whole world might have had.

cho: "Dear friends and gentle hearts..."
     Whatever your last songs may be
     Are they lost out in America
     Between the centuries?
     Are the melodies still waiting
     For the ones who need to hear,
     Though the oiano halls and minstrel shows
     Have faded through the years?

Well, the hospital had sent for me
But no more would they do,
My name and my address taken from
Poor Stephen's I.O.U.
They said "he's just a vagabond
So many more like him.
They spend the last few cents they have
On poor man's rum and gin.

But hard times in America
Are hared times for us all,
Some folks bide for better days
Some must take the fall.
Some can turn to poetry
Or lose themselves in song,
Some set out to change the world
Then lose the path they're on.


So, yes, I know this gentleman
Perhaps you've heard the cheers
When Mr. Foster graced this country's
Finest halls for years.
And he led us in the choruses
This whole great nation knew
But he never recognized his worth
Or what his songs could do.

Now pride brought down by poverty
Is such a tragic thing.
No who the man may be
It steals most precious things.
It takes the faith to know yourself
It robs the will to try,
But, if it spares your poetry
The music never dies.


Though we seek mirth and beauty
And music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door,
Though their voices are silent,
Their pleading looks will say
"Oh, hard times, come again no more."

Copyright Larry Kaplan, BMI

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

Contents: ? A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Main Page