Songs Of boyhood Lyrics

walking The Rails

There was a boy

Who walked on a railroad
Walked on the rails

Balanced his body

Laughing all over

Arms spread wide

"Son," said his father

"Walk on the ties,
You won't fall over"

The boy ignored him
Just as the father

Knew he would

They left a penny

There on the iron
Returned the next day

And found in the night
It had been flattened

Just as predicted

So he walked the rails again

All words and music by Dave Hall ©


She watched her son

Playing in the dirt

Wondered why when he had so many toys

He played with a stick


First it was a gun

Then a rocket ship

Now he was just jamming it into the dirt

Like some savage hunter


She started to complain

To her husband

Who laughed and drew her from the sink

Kissing her neck


She lay still

Thinking about it

After they’d finished making love

And he was asleep


The Stick

There's a mill by a stream

In my mother's hometown
Well, not the mill really

Just the foundation

The wood and the wheel

Are long gone
And the stones remain

It seems to me
Purely for the enjoyment

Of agile boys
Who laughing

Balance atop them in play

Their father's fathers

Worked at the mill
Sawing the planks

That built the great houses
That they wander past

Unseeing, on the way to the park
Oh, that they would

Only once look up
At a widow of a house

And wonder: Who slept there?

And where are they now buried?


There's A Mill

Tap tap tap

Trying to concentrate

Tap tap tap

On whatever is written there

Numbers, words, calculations

Nibbling on the end of his pencil


Tugging at his collar

Shifting his feet

Looking out the window

Responding to his name

By facing straight ahead


After the conference

Saying I do like math

I like to read

When I don't have to


I don’t know why

I get these marks

I know I’m smart

I’ll try to do better


Tap tap tap

The father sits in his

Tap tap tap

Dirty white cubicle

Numbers, words, calculations

Suddenly looking at the end of his pencil


Realizing that he’d nibble too

Tearing the erasure to shreds

If he had a windowed office

And a great big tree outside


Tap tap tap

Tap TaP tap

He stands

Halfway across the creek

Waist deep in moving water

Watching the older boys who’d crossed

Talking to some girls


He hears the shrill voices

Of younger boys behind him

Dipping their toes into the rushing water

And running back to their parents


He feels the water licking his legs

His belly

He feels it inside his shorts

He hears the girls on the other bank

As he swims around

Standing In water

He’s just insecure

He’s got a bad home life

He’s lonely and afraid


Try to ignore him

Try to be his friend

Kill him with kindness


This was the advice

That ran through his head

That rattled in his brain


As his other cheek

The one not being pummeled

Was ground into the playground dust


The Bully

He collected little things

Shiny, dainty things

He wore a little shawl

And pretty slippers


He sang alone

With a hairbrush microphone

In front of the mirror

He was Annie


He talked with his hands

Delicate, fluttering hands

He liked flowers

And he liked glitter


And he liked drawing

Beautiful gowns

And clipping things

From magazines


He scandalized the church

Shocked the neighbors

Mortified his parents

And he was FABULOUS!


If he were more

Given to introspection

He might have recognized it

As it happened

It was in the shower after practice

When the water washed away

Not just sweat

And the soreness

From the crushing drills

But his very essence

His lonely self


It was when

He looked around the room

Hot water running from his eyes

That he transformed

Or was transformed

Into more than self

More than friend

More than brother


Member of the team


Member Of The Team

In his infancy there were parents

And monsters and God

His parents were loud and kind

And they lifted him up, up up!


The monsters lived in his dreams

The bore down on him

As he tried to escape from the

Stirrups of his rocking horse


God, they said was everywhere

Or up in heaven or in your heart

God would smile or forgive

Or strike down his enemies one by one


He visits his parents now

Instructs them in medications

Stocks their refrigerator

Mops floors and brows


Monsters he sees now in museums

Accompanied by the sensation

Of a tiny hand squeezing his own

And a lifting up, up up!


And God is only now

A whisper in the ear of his son

Who wakes in the night, terrified

Asking questions about death

Parents, Monsters & God

Sleep my son, my fine one

You’ve had your fill of play

Rest your head now as the sun

Bids farewell to the day


Clutch your blanket to your chest

As I stoop and kiss your brow

And I sing you to your rest

Oh, sleep, my lovely, now


My son I’ll see you always

Your face round and bright

Laughing through the summer days

Your voice true and light


Heed, my son, these shining days

As they go marching by

‘Til you see their golden rays

Through your father’s eyes


Sleep, my son, my brave one

I sing you to your rest

Far beyond the waves, son

Where dwell the loved and the blest


I will see you always

Your face round and bright

Laughing through the summer days

Your voice true and light


I will mourn the shining days

As they go dreaming by

Golden days you’ll never see

Through your father’s eyes


Days, dear God, you’ll never see

Through your father’s eyes


So he walked the rails again

Lullaby / Walking The Rails


The Girl


There she is, bending in her garden

Seen through a window, but differently

The same girl she always was, so

Why is he watching her now?


Because of her hair, and how it shines

Because of her skin, which is glistening

In a way he’s never noticed before

He’s barely noticed her before.

That is NOTICED.


First she was a playmate

When he was hardly aware she was a girl

Then she was a mere object of scorn

When it was time to differentiate


But now! His hands grip the sill.

His chest tightens; he wants to talk to her.

He’s forgotten his childhood and

In a sudden flash he sees his future

It was low, it was low!

“How was I supposed to hit that?”

He asked the universe as he threw down his bat

“The strike zone is neck to knee”

His coach reminded him calmly


He pictured himself hacking at knee height

As if it were golf or swatting up higher

Like in badminton.


And how could he tell

When a ball would go low or high

“What am I, a… a... a…?”


He didn’t know what could tell

High from low, inside or outside

A physicist? Rocket scientist?

He didn’t know, he didn’t care

But by next at bat he was grimly determined