In Memory and Joy: The Ballad of Laurelei

Created by sjtuckermusic on 10/12/2014
On my birthday in 2012, Mark sent me a very special gift. It arrived in my Gmail inbox. It was a long ballad, composed by Mark, which he said was mine to do with whatever I wished. At the time, I was at a small birthday gathering in Redmond, WA, with members of the Lost Girls Pirate Academy. We were having a coloring party at Soulfood Cafe, decorating custom pillow cases for the children’s hospital. I asked the pirates’ permission to share my treasure, and they listened eagerly. With Mark’s blessing, I soon added my own flair to the words, adding a verse here and there and editing the rest but barely, and I turned the piece into a song. We were able to perform it together the following summer in Eugene, Oregon, with the help of the wonderful Betsy Tinney and her cello skills. Mark played bass recorder on stage with us, all unscripted. Everywhere online, in the wake of Mark’s passing, bright souls are generously sharing their best memories and photos of him. The joy cannot help but trump the grief, such was his magic and the strength of his giving and willingness to connect with anyone and everyone he met. I’ll take a turn now. I am so glad to have had the chance to create something with Mark at all. I miss him, and I can’t wait to get this song recorded. I hope and trust that he’ll be proud. The Ballad of Lauralei (Nothing Lasts Forever) by Mark Lewis & S. J. Tucker Far away in another time When worlds were young and fair In a village by the sea there dwelt A lass with auburn hair. Her beauty was known for miles around Her eyes were bright and green Her figure fine and face sublime Like none had ever seen She came to wed a fisherman A rascal, old and grim None in the land could understand What drew the girl to him She cooked his meals and kept his house And cared when he was ill. Hers was all the sunlight His, the dark and chill. * She played her part like all the rest, the women and the wives. We loved our town beside the sea and kept our quiet lives. We knew she came from far away, but none of us would pry. We came to know her and to name her Little Lauralei Time was I called her dearest friend and often I would spy a secret dancing in her smile, a twinkle in her eye. One day she gave me bold advice as we walked beside the sea: Ne’er let a man get ‘neath your skin If ere you would live free. Men go sailing out to sea and think that they are clever. Men’ll be bold to have and to hold But nothing lasts forever! * When her husband’s life was done, His funeral held in town, Her shining eyes were clear and dry. She uttered not a sound. Into the church she would not go She stood without the door And watched the parson bless her man And bear him from the floor Down in the ground they laid his bones But the widow never cried. Back to their home she walked alone Along the waterside The following day I came to call to help her with her chores. And a glimmer caught my eye Among the dust behind the door. * In shadow there I spied a thing That sparkled ever bright, With greens and golds and colors fair Reflecting all the light Odd it was, and long and dry A hide so strange and thin. “Why would a fisherman ever save This bit of flimsy skin?” Then Lauralei was at my side. “Long years I’ve thought it gone! Give it to me! Now let me be! I’ve stayed for far too long!” And from my chapped and shaking hand She snatched the shining hide And from the house like mad she ran Down to the rising tide * And there upon the shells and sand She lifted up the thing She filled her lungs with sweet sea air And then began to sing “So long ago he caught my soul And on to land brought me And took my tail so I would fail Returning to the sea.” The fragile, folded thing she raised And in the water threw She dove and wrapped it round her legs and there her tail it grew! “No more will I on land be tied The sea is mine to roam! Farewell to you!” the Mermaid cried. And vanished ‘neath the foam. * We knew she came from far away, but none of us would pry. We came to know her and to name her Little Lauralei. She’d long been wed to a fisherman A rascal, old and grim Her tale was true, and now we knew His nets had pulled her in. Time was I called her dearest friend and often I would spy a secret dancing in her smile, a twinkle in her eye. I hold in my heart the bold advice that once she gave to me: Ne’er let a man beneath your skin If ere you would live free. Men go sailing out to sea and think that they are clever. Men may be bold, to have and to hold But nothing lasts forever! Men go sailing out to sea and think themselves so clever. Brazen and bold, to have and to hold But a Mermaid‘s captured never! Fisherman, beware my words when you go hunting treasure If you’d catch a Mermaid‘s heart Steer clear of her displeasure! Men go sailing out to sea and think that they are clever Brazen and bold, to have and to hold but nothing lasts forever!