Digital Tradition Mirror

You Gotta Talk My Language

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You Gotta Talk My Language
(George Ward)

(EFGG) C-/CG7/FG7C/CF/F-/CG7FC/                          C-5, G+0

If I ask you do you love me,
Will you answer "Yes I do,"
Even though I ask by standing on your toes?
'Cause I don't* know the words to say,
Don't know what love is anyway.
I'm not sure that anybody knows.


     But I need something and I know it;
     If you can feel me, I can show it.
     You can push me if you want to,
     You can wiggle just one toe.
     If I* just believe it's loving
     You can make me quit my shoving,
     But you've gotta talk my language,
     It's the only one I know.

If I wait until you turn around*
And hit you with my fist,
I know that you'll be angry like before
But I don't know what else to do,
There's something that I want from you
I just can't wait to ask it* anymore.
     I can't sing it, I can't yell it,
     I can't write it, I can't spell it.
     If you hit, you'll hurt me inside
     Where the bruises never show.
     But if you catch me, shake me, hold me,
     Then I've asked you and you've told me.
     You've gotta talk my language
     It's the only one I know.

If I skid my bike in circles,
If I show you both my turtles,
If I tell you all the bad things that I do,
Will you guess I'm not just playing,
That it's something that I'm saying?
Can you make up answers I can tell are true?
     If you only say you love me,
     You'll be talking way above me.
     That's no way to answer anyone
     Who's standing on your toe.
     If I'm good or bad, then show me;
     If you love me, show you know me.
     You gotta talk my language,
     It's the only one I know.

By George Ward, copyright 1971
Recorded on "The Telling Takes Me Home", FSI-46 by Ed Trickett*

"Working for the Seegers [at their children's camp, Killooleet, in
central Vermont on summer, I found myself deviled regularly by
a boy of eleven.  He'd come up behind me when I was carrying
dirty dishes to the kitchen and punch me in the back, or wait
'till I had picked a choice seat to watch a baseball game and
pounce on my shoulders.  After a while, I got to the point of
retaliating in kind with very little thought for the fact that I
was twice as old and twice as big as he was."

"Only one person, that summer, was able to approach an intimate
relationship with my young nemesis.  An elderly friend of the
Seegers kept the camp library and looked after loose ends.  She
was older than any counselor, kept to herself a lot, and didn't
fit in (or so I thought) with most of the goings on.  I didn't
realize that she's set herself the task of befriending the bane
of my existence until one afternoon when she sought me out to
tell me she's asked him why he pestered me so.  'But he likes
it,' the lad insisted. 'It's like a game we play!'

It took her a while to convince him that it wasn't so, and after
that he avoided me for two or three days.  Oddly, I almost missed
him.  About the third afternoon, just as I'd
He hit me again, more gently, and sat down to talk and watch the

He wasn't my closest friend after that, but we got along and
finished a good summer.

This is his song, I guess, and hers, and John and Ellie's
[Seeger too, in a way.  To be honest, though, it's mine, and the
best I can do is thank them for teaching it to me."  - George

* Ed sings some words differently than the written version:
     don't  <- wouldn't
     I      <- I can
     around <- your back
     it     <- you

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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