Digital Tradition Mirror

The Rose of the San Joaquin

The Rose of the San Joaquin
(Jim Ringer)

I choose to see not the things that be,
Or the miles and the years that are gone.
I pay no heed to tomorrow's need,
I'm blinded by the snow and the sun.
'Till all I can see is my darling and me,
Like young flowers blooming in Spring.
Like flowers we grew, and no other I knew,
But the Rose of the San Joaquin.

The gypsies will dance, while stealing a glance
At a seed that might blow in the wind.
And the fields are worked, in a sweat-stained shirt,
'Till the workers move on again.
And the tramps and hawkers, with stories wild,
Beguiled a young boy's dream;
Enticing me to leave my love,
The Rose of the San Joaquin.

I've watched the rise of light in the skies,
Where the sun climbs out of the sea;
Seen giants fall in the mountains tall,
Where the lumbermen cut down the trees.
I've played in the sand with the Gulf Coast wind,
And slept in the grass tall and clean.
But nowhere I've been would I go to again,
'Cept back to the San Joaquin.

The road back home is hard and it's long,
And the miles stretch on into years;
And the tramps and hawkers in every town,
Ah, God, but it brings me to tears.
When I got home I found just a flower on a mound,
Where it shamed the green grasses of spring.
It grew from the grave of my darlin' little girl,
The Rose of the San Joaquin.

Oh see us today, out on your highway,
Or asleep in the doors of a train.
See the gypsies dance with their 'damn knowing glances,
While the peddlers shout out their refrain.
But who's gonna care, and who's gonna share,
In the joys or the troubles we've seen?
Like ghosts we roam, without friends or a home,
These tramps and hawkers and me.

Copyright Jim Ringer

Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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