As You Believed

by Kathy Sparling

Released 2010
Kitchen Songs
Released 2010
Kitchen Songs
Literate and lyrical songs about life, love, longing, and laundry.
  • 04:55 Lyrics As You Believed

    Mother may suspect small hayloft sin
    To Father, not a whisper where we’ve been.

    With a boy you never would forget
    You rolled a corn silk cigarette –
    That confession, they’re awaiting yet.
    But as blameless babes might end in purgatory
    You’d find another ending to that story
    In the end you know there’s goodness, then there’s glory
    And you believed, and went in first
    And you believed, and saw them nursed
    And you believed, not saving face
    And rose to tend a stranger’s grief
    And spread the balm of your belief
    Your saving grace,
    As you believed.

    I was second youngest for a while
    Now I can’t remember mother’s smile.

    For the soul who would have numbered seven
    Is testing all her faith in heaven,
    A dark weight your small light cannot leaven.
    As you listened for the comforts left unspoken
    Rejecting as you must an awkward token
    A promise first deferred and finally broken
    Still you believed, but mustn’t touch
    Still you believed, but not too much
    Still you believed she did her best
    Until it seemed that all her grief
    Could settle into your belief
    And finally rest,
    As you believed.

    Doctor I don’t need you anymore
    I’ve met the man you must have cured me for.

    With a name no harder to pronounce
    That I never once heard you denounce
    All your silent treatments might announce
    That your loyalty so stubborn once excited
    Could will away the doubts our faults ignited
    Our fragility unguessed at while we slighted
    All you believed, but we did not
    While you believed, we only thought
    Well you believed, and treacherous,
    For now it seems that in our grief
    We’ve found the depths of your belief in us,
    As you believed, you believed, you believed.

  • 04:42 Lyrics The Moon Is Coming With Us

    Get your bags, the sun has set, the moon is on the rise
    We’re traveling by night this time, we can’t yet close our eyes
    Space is small but, after all, there’s only you and I
    And framed within your window, in the vast familiar sky, you’ll see:

    The moon is coming with us, her orbit locked with ours
    Our wheels turn with the planets, high beams shine with the stars
    As tides recede before us, we’re bathed in silver light
    The moon is coming with us, out on the road tonight.

    Better still, forget the bags, we’ll leave it all behind
    We’ve lived through every phase by now, and I won’t change my mind
    This hasn’t been the kind of place that asks “remember when?”
    Those towns and cities speeding past, we’ll never see again

    But the moon is coming with us...

    It’s lunacy to run like this, or maybe it’s a dream
    We’ll wake to streaming sunlight, one another set agleam
    In such illumination we’ll see every gift bestowed
    There really is no dark side, just the cycle, just the road

    And the moon that’s coming with us... we’re not alone tonight.

  • 03:20 Lyrics Embroidery

    It’s Monday, it’s washday, we’ll start our routine
    As I stand before you, prepared to come clean
    And it’s hard work, our hands red from the wringing,
    Hauled up from the river, hung out to dry, swinging alone…

    By Tuesday we’re pressing ahead anyway
    The steam, the caressing, our fears smoothed away.
    If we linger too long over one last goodbye,
    I could be scorched by the look in your eye.

    On Wednesday we’ll have seen
    Such tears in the fabric, the loose gaping seam.
    We’re sewing back buttons torn off in our haste
    Impermanent joining, we’ve only to baste.

    To market, to market, on Thursdays we buy,
    We pay what they ask and we don’t question why.
    For restocking shelves is a gesture of trust,
    Refilling canisters, spilling gold dust.

    Come Friday we’ll clean up the mess that we’ve made.
    Order for chaos, the usual trade
    For Saturday’s kneading and rising, warm fragrant decay.

    On Sunday we’ll lay it to rest.    
    Stop work and agree that we gave it our best.
    Laid on with a trowel, or stitched on a towel,
    Our days are blessed. Our days are blessed.

  • 03:28 Lyrics Voyager

    If you’re reading this I never made it out.
    It’s no good to entertain false hope, or doubt.
    My directive was precise:
    Take measure once, then don’t think twice.
    If you’re reading this I did not hesitate,
    Or, if I did turn back, by then they’d barred the gate,
    And if you’re reading this I guess you didn’t wait.

    If you’re hearing this the capsule made good time.
    The record of our world caught in its prime.
    How could I presume to choose
    A kiss, a heartbeat, one man’s blues?
    An offering, a sacrificial dance,
    Such optimism as we dared advance,
    But if you’re hearing this we never stood a chance.

    Now don’t flinch, don’t choke, just play along.
    If you just stay quiet, I’ll stay gone.

    And if you’re watching this she’s probably watching too —
    A third eye in a watchtower built for two.
    My voice so easy to locate:
    She speaks, and you triangulate.
    You’ve placed me on that line from love to hate,
    And I’d ask you both to intercede with fate,
    But if you’re watching this it’s already too late.

  • 02:14 Lyrics Shallow Pool

    We’re in the pool, the shallow pool
    The water’s fine, and you are mine
    We practice strokes, and splash those other folks
    But they don’t mind, not while the water’s fine
    And you are mine.

    We never dive, we’d hurt our heads
    The ground so smooth and slick and solid in these shallow beds.
    And if we had to we could stand and walk right out —
    Instead we turn, we shout: Come in be mine; the water’s fine.

        I’ll float alone here, happy just to be
        Thinking about you thinking about me.
        Float long enough this pool becomes the sea…

    Out on the banks, a little rest.
    The sun beams down — it loves us best.
    And if we asked them to each grain of sand would rise, would shine
    Raising one voice divine: Come in, the water’s fine! And you are mine.

  • 02:42 Lyrics The Violin Song

    Once the world was split in two
    You appeared, I thought you flew
    Now your craft’s a starship zooming
    Peaceful, like a sonic booming,
    Out into some star filled stream
    Where, floating in a fever dream,
    You brought this home where we were grounded
    Hopes pitched high and dreams unbounded.

    I’ll loan you some words till you find your own
    You loan me your life and we’ll call that home
    I’ll hold up your bow till you hold your own.

    Unpressed truth in your smooth face
    Only upright, never base
    Memories leave me grave and fretful
    Fretless, may you stay forgetful...

    I’ll loan you some words till you find your own
    You loan me your life and we’ll call that home
    I’ll hold up your bow till you hold your own.

    Now the maestro’s still a boy
    The violin a tinker toy
    If I can keep out of your way
    You can take this back some day
    And make it say what you would say…

  • 04:06 Lyrics Get Well Soon

    Your rabbit’s foot was powder blue, but maybe that was mine
    Who possessed which good luck charm, which talisman to ward off time?
    Now you seem sure each cell reflects not luck, but love
    Though some, like lambs, have gone astray
    Good shepherds watching from above pray:

    Get well soon, oh get well soon.

    At training camp for sleeper cells identities collapse
    United in our misery from Reveille and straight through Taps
    Now you’ll forgive my terror if we disagree
    We’ve been activated on different sides of the infirmary.

    Oh get well soon, please get well soon
    I’ll keep you covered as you are
    I won’t undress your battle scar
    If you’ll get well soon.

    In this waking nightmare my suspicions are confirmed:
    You, in fact, are too good for this world.
    I might strike a simple bargain in the name I’ve often cursed
    It’s the details in this deal with the devil again…
    Don’t leave us nurse — oh nurse — before we get well soon

    Oh get well soon
    I won’t discover who you are
    You let me wear your battle scar
    And just get well soon.

  • 03:40 Lyrics Love Song

    Some girls must figure this out sooner —
    Maybe when they’re leaning on the Easy Bake,
    Planning every layer in the wedding cake.
    This flower must be a late bloomer.
    Before I met you darling I could never see,
    But since you ask it’s come to me:
    I don’t want to get married.
    Oh it’s sweet to see you down on your knees,
    But you know all those flowers would only make us sneeze.
    I don’t want to get married.
    They talk a lot about it so there must be a catch,
    But I don’t think I mind if our flatware doesn’t match.
    I don’t want to get married, but if you say you do, I do.
    If you say you do, then I do too.
    White is not my color and spaghetti straps won’t do;
    I just want to love, honor, cherish you.
    I want to fight about it so we know it’s strong,
    Then spend the whole night dancing to our song.
    I don’t want to get married.
    The sentiment is borrowed and the words aren’t new,
    But I want to be there when you’re old and when you’re blue.
    Are there two sides of the aisle so the families won’t fight
    Until the politics of buffet mixes later in the night?
    From the wings I hear the march begin, the tensions grow...
    The flower girl is terrified, and then she steals the show — no!
    I don’t want to get married.
    I don’t need to watch while you do violence to a glass,
    Or have some out of work Elvis bless us in Vegas.
    Up-do, down-do, chignon, it’s a pain in the ass,
    But if you say you do, I do. If you say you do, then I do too. Say you do, I do.

  • 02:08 Lyrics Not A Lullaby

    This is not a lullaby; you won’t be soothed to sleep
    Your sobs a gentle melody, but I will let you weep
    Your perfect rhythm all inside is all the time we’ll keep
    And I won’t sing, I’ll only breathe your song into me deep.

    And who knows all you’re hearing? I can’t guess…
    The harmony too beautiful, god, your distress
    If I could stop the stream of sounds that come out wrong
    You could fill the air with your pure song.

    But this is not a lullaby; you won’t be soothed to sleep
    You won’t be fooled, you won’t be told, the mystery’s too deep
    Your every cry is music now, if I have ears to hear
    I’ll listen to your breath’s song
    Only sleep a little, dear.

  • 03:48 Lyrics The Ones That Got Away

    Still working out what I would say
    To all the ones that got away:
    The ones who staked their claim inside,
    Who conquered, then did not divide.
    The ones I never got to hold
    Who, in their youth, already old
    Showed me how the flesh is weak —
    To those shy spirits, could I speak?

    I’m sorting out the words I’d choose
    If, finding nothing left to lose,
    I took the chance to start again,
    To squarely face each could have been.
    Delivering just speech
    As meaning whispered each to each.
    Nursed grievances have kept at bay
    All the ones that got away

    And you. To you, such talk is cruel.
    To you, who stay, always too much to say.

    Now sirens passing by outside
    Sound tentative — they can’t decide.
    They’re holding back a little bit
    Racing hearts, but can’t commit.
    An urgent message just the same
    And, anyway, I changed my name.
    I named each one again today
    To silence all the ones that got away.

  • 04:09 Lyrics Exult

    It’s a game we used to play
    In the days when neither one of us knew we’d meet and grow apart some day.
    You want me to say that I’m ashamed, a victory in what?
    A stupid, childish, game.

    But I got in the last word,
    Your angry silence was the last thing I heard.
    You forgot rule number one,
    Your guard slipped and I won, I won.

    And it almost feels the same:
    I’m eight years old again and I just slammed the door on my best friend.
    I won’t have to hear I’m wrong again
    Oh it seemed so important then, and now.

    I got in the last word…

    After all it seems a fitting way
    For something stunted anyway to so abruptly die.
    Whatever lived between us stopped growing
    Long before it reached the age of a mature goodbye.

    That’s why I got in the last word…

  • 03:48 Lyrics Just Your Eyes

    They’re just eyes,
    They’re not windows open on the wide green valley of your soul
    Or shuttered up against old fears of what you might control.
    They’re the other kind of irises and not the flower
    Through that lens you strain to see without a higher power
    And all your visions come as some surprise
    When after all they’re only eyes.

    They’re just your eyes,
    Not the fields the sky the sea the gathering storm
    They can’t hear or touch or taste all this take form.
    They’re not reflecting pools luminous and true
    Sometimes I might misremember their fine hue
    If love is colorblind or taken in by small disguise
    Can’t trust those eyes, not just your eyes.

    And true, they mostly see what they want to see
    But once in a while maybe that could be me.
    I’m not so farsighted either,
    And seeing you up close might make me a true believer

    Even though they’re just your eyes…
    Not beacons flashing on the brink of the abyss.
    Careful if you blink them — think what you might miss.
    If you closed them now or even glanced away
    Would I still be here, would my own light stay?                             
    They’re not stars to follow which way my home lies
    As this day dies,
    They’re still just eyes.

  • 03:02 Lyrics Housework

    The hardest thing about it is how it’s never, ever done
    Everything’s in order, seasons shift, you find you’ve just begun
    The final load is folded, now you’ve gone and washed another one
    Remember how it seemed like keeping house together would be fun?

    Now how’re we gonna get this housework done?
    How’re we ever gonna get our housework done?
    Because there’s too much to do each day,
    To keep it from slipping away…

    With every surface dusty, no old pledge could cut through that
    All our rooms seem musty and our unmade bed a haven for the cat
    The tarnished silver can’t reflect your face or mine,
    It used to seem so easy — just a smile could make this whole place shine

    And now this is our life.
    We’re both here wishing we had a housewife
    With cheerful mop, judicious broom, airing every single room
    Each corner yields to her vacuum, each closet freed from darkness and from gloom

    The sink is full again, those greasy pans could make me cry
    Make me chafe against it all and wonder why we even try
    But as you stand there scrubbing, I suppose that I could dry
    Side by side together, every single day,

    And that’s why we’re gonna get this housework done
    Why we’re always gonna get our housework done
    Because there’s so much to do each day,
    To keep it from slipping away.
    The nicest thing about it is how it’s never really done
    Every day another chance to wash the windows, let in the sun.

  • 04:04 Lyrics Chapter Book

    I don’t think we’ll end this thing tonight
    With all those pages stacked up on the right
    Maybe we should just switch off the light…
    I miss the gentle closure of each rhyme
    The simple repetition marking time
    Where each adventure’s finally so much counting sheep
    Driving us inexorably to sleep.

    But look, we’re in this chapter book.
    With one brave move we shook
    All the pictures and bright hues
    Into words we’ll learn to use
    This chance we took, this chapter book.

    Last night our whole world was washed in dyes
    Every page could saturate our eyes
    Now a pencil sketch would make us glad
    The shadow of the colors we once had
    And wandering through these lines we’ll lose our place
    We’ll leave a trail of dog ears to retrace
    Returning every night to find untold
    The story, patient, waiting to unfold.
    And look, we’re in this chapter book.
    With one brave move we shook
    All the pictures and bright hues
    Into words we’ll learn to use
    This chance we took, this chapter book.

On the fourteen original songs comprising As You Believed, Kathy’s voice, ukulele, and tenor guitar are joined by numerous Bay Area musicians including bassist and ukulele player Steven Strauss, pianist Charlie Hancock, drummers John Hanes and Federico Gil Sola, guitarists Kurt Stevenson, Steve Kirk, Dennis Finnegan and Tim Fox, violinist Julian Smedley, and percussionist Bobby Santos. The album was arranged and produced by Steven Strauss, an artist well-known to Bay Area music lovers for his multi-genre-spanning and virtuosic bass and ukulele work.