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The Hermit Bell Jar Blues
           UPON NEARING NOCTURNAL EMISSION
           WHILE WITHIN, OF COURSE, THE BELL JAR
           — IN THE SHADOW OF THE EAGLE,
           IN THE LIGHT OF TWENTY-TWENTY VISIONS

The imagery cited in the first lines of "Bell Jar Blues" is not pretty. In fact it's rather repulsive. But hey, the virus of the image was implanted in my mind when I was a child in church, when I — as just another member of the congregation — was expected to ponder one or both of the following Bible verses:

"As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his folly." — Proverbs 26:11 (King James Version)

And/or...

"But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." — 2 Peter 2:22 (King James Version)

Well, that imagery stuck with me. "Bell Jar" takes a classical Western, Judeo- Christian position that views Earth and Nature as base, corrupt, and defiled — all in contrast to the tantalizing perfection of the crystal spheres of Heaven. And so I present my simile of polluted water as a vomit-eating dog, made much more pathetic, I think, by being both lame and nameless. Poor puppy. Over the top? Perhaps. But I still find it compelling. And then there's some internal rhyme and alliteration to which I tend to be forever drawn. (As a fool returneth to his folly?)

And so it goes.

In the coda is this line: "All our absolutes are drawn from love or pain." It's simplistic, I know, but still I've always had special affection for that line. It resonates with me as a pithy bit of personal truth.

Read the lyrics below, check out the Lead Sheet for both words and music, or listen to the homemade MP3 song demo recording. —BD


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Bell Jar Blues
UPON NEARING NOCTURNAL EMISSION
WHILE WITHIN, OF COURSE, THE BELL JAR
— IN THE SHADOW OF THE EAGLE,
IN THE LIGHT OF TWENTY-TWENTY VISIONS
Words and Music by David R. Lister

Like some lame and nameless dog
Returning to its vomit
The far-from-limpid lake limps in
To lap the slimy beach
Where I stand in grand and wide-eyed wonder
Awaiting Kohoutek's Comet
Or any sign in this vast design
So far beyond my reach

Midnight smog-rain rolling in
My eyes burn in the mist
Starlight from the lesser suns
Is so soon filtered out
While elsewhere in this galaxy
Rage debates that we exist
And I confess that like the rest
I, too, have had some doubt

Ah, the center of the universe
Is the solitary mind
But I'm famished for the fringes
And the benefits in store
No neutron star can steal the light
Of the bell-jarred blind
And yet I long to be
A seeing man once more

Oh, we so quietly question
But then we do what we must
All our absolutes are drawn from love or pain
And all that we are
Is returning to dust
The rest is left rusting in the rain

The rest is left rusting in the rain

Lost rocket ships are rusting in the rain


BELL JAR BLUES.MP3


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