From the recording Wire and Wood

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The Presence Of The Past
Joe Black
(C) January 20, 2020
Capo 2


A sunny day in January
A mother’s hand caressed a stone
The cruel wind in that cemetery
Blew harshly as it moaned
The Diamond ring upon her finger
Cast rays of prism’d ancient light
A teardrop on her cheek did linger
As though frozen, holding tight
The Winter grass was almost golden
Against the wind it stood steadfast
No clouds above to hold the cold in
We felt the presence of the past

In halls of power, men are meeting
Charting out our nation’s course
You can hear the war drums beating
As they scheme with no remorse
Their arguments are taut and twisted
Biting like the winter wind
Their pockets full, their spirits lifted
Last year’s hope, they now rescind
And as soldiers wait their orders
There’s a question no one’s asked:
Before we trample all the borders
Where’s the presence of the past?

Each time we fail to raise our voices
E Am
Each time we sit and acquiesce
Each time we watch as fatal choices
Push us deeper in the mess
The die are cast with every lesson
Whenever good folks fail to ask
The one important, vital question:
Where’s the presence of the past?
Where’s the presence of the past?

In solemn fields, the headstones glisten
In rows so straight and long and vast
When will those in power listen
To the presence of the past?