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. cho: 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. cho: 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 RG oct96
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