This haunting, unforgettable song by the brilliant Howard Ashby Kranz became an instant favorite of ours the first time we heard it (from Nate). We had to include it. It made us think of "To Kill a Mockingbird." And Howard Kranz soon became one of our favorite songwriters. He can be very funny, but here he's serious about the outcast, and says something about the woman who doesn't fit in, but still doesn't mock them for having one foot in another world like very special, very memorable people sometimes do.
| By HOWARD ASHBY KRANZ
By the creek, in the sand,
to older eyes unshown,
Maggie Green, ten years old,
finds a glowing stone.
And it looks like a catseye,
and she takes it home,
And she puts it in her special chest
with her Grandma’s comb.
And later she takes the catseye to her own,
And she begins to scan.
And I can’t believe what I’m seeing
Angry colors flashing ‘round everything
Like hands that grasp at me in the air
And I can’t quite see them, but they’re always there.
Pretty girl, Margaret,
her pride will be her fall.
The fine young men she turns away,
soon she’ll have none at all.
And while plainer girls have families,
she’ll be too old soon.
She has an old maid’s oddness
and an old maid’s gloom,
Since a younger man she seemed to like
ran from her room,
His face hidden in his hand,
Saying, “I can’t believe what I hear
And I can’t stop hearing it since she touched my ear.
The howling voices, the mouths that gape,
And their strength is rising, and there’s no escape.”
Crazy old, old Miz Green,
lives on down the block.
And the kids won’t step
on her sidewalk squares,
And they tell how in the dark
Her eyes, like a cat’s eyes, seem to glow
And Mother says, “Don’t torment the woman so.”
And Father says, “It only goes to show
that a woman need a man.”
And you can’t believe what you hear.
And the crazy lady says, “We need not fear.
The outer forces are turned back for a time.
We must turn the fight inward,” and she lowers her eyes.
© 1985 by Howard Ashby Kranz