The Modern Folk Musician

5. The Girl from the Great Divide

Lyrics: Josh Joffen
Music: Traditional (The Lakes of Ponchartrain) Mack Gordon;

Vocal and Guitar (and low "B" on the gemshorns): Mike Agranoff
Tenor Gemshorns: Kris Lamb
Synthesizer: Liza DiSavino

She was tall and dark and slender and she said that she loved the dance.
There were thoughts unspoken between us, though we dared not take the chance.
We were something more than strangers when the hour of parting arrived,
And she headed west to another life; she was bound for the Great Divide

Word came that she had married, and I wrote her to wish her well.
And I swore to profit from my mistake and heed the tolling bell.
If a girl should capture my fancy, not to let that one slip by
And I raised a glass in a sad salute to the girl from the Great Divide.

Now fruits are for the picking, and I picked till I had my fill.
But alone, I'd find her photograph, and her face, it stayed with me still,
Till the night at a crowded tavern as I made ready to play
She walked up to me smiling, and the years just slipped away


And later, over coffee, we talked of the things we'd done.
And she threw back her head in laughter. It was like she never had gone.
Then she spoke about her marriage, and the ways of compromise,
And I saw how time had touched her face, and the sadness around her eyes.

We talked the moon down from the sky, and I took her to my home.
And I laid a pallet upon the floor for her to sleep upon.
But in the silence that followed our singing, she came into my arms,
And the dawn was sweet and silent, and the morning sun was warm.

The sea was calm at sunset as I pressed her to my side.
We turned our heads and we looked away, our feelings for to hide.
Her hands were strong and her lips were soft, and her eyes, a smile did pass,
But the rising tide covered over our steps, and the sand was as smooth as glass.

Her dark hair hid her face from me as I saw her to the train
That would take her west to her husband to whom she would explain.
She'd decide if she wanted her freedom; she'd write if she wanted to stay.
And now I dream at night of the Great Divide, and her voice so far away.


She was tall and dark and slender, and she said that she loved the dance.