NW POETRY PRESENTS:

"Ballad of the Unknown Child,"

by Eben

Dedicated to Joan Baez and the singer for the voiceless millions of the Unknown Child she could have been.

I

Close by the river stands a stone

Where mothers climb a path alone.

Young, old, and weary, short and tall,

They come to make a private call.

Refrain:

ďPlease tell me, Child, what is your name?

Is it Stephanie, or maybe Shane?

I wish I knew, itís hard to pray--

Iíll come back soon another day.Ē

II

They come and stand before the place

That marks an unknown form and face.

Itís not so big, or grand and tall,

Yet casts a shadow deep on all.

(Refrain)

III

Some lay a rose or daisy there,

But most come empty-handed, bare.

Some stand with knees and head unbent,

But most cannot their tears prevent.

(Refrain)

IV

The mothers come all day, all night.

The path is mud, there is no light.

They see no sun, itís always rain,

Nothing seems to help the pain.

(Refrain)

V

ďI was too young,Ē you hear some say.

ďMy boyfriend made me get that way.Ē

ďI was confused!Ē ďI was afraid!Ē

ďNo one came to give me aid.Ē

(Refrain)

VI

The others come without a word.

Excuses here all go unheard.

They stay until they hear a cry

That could be just the riverís sigh.

(Refrain)

VII

The riverís cold and wide and deep.

Itís full of those that never sleep.

Theyíre reaching for a certain hand,

The same that cast them from this land.

(Refrain)

VIII

Close by the river stands the stone.

Nothing on it yet has grown.

No moss, no ivy trailing here,

No bluebirds flying through the air.

(Refrain)

IX

How can they come back here again?

The time passed by--how long itís been!

Close by the river stands the stone

Where mothers climb a path alone.

(Refrain)

X

I wonder if you know me now.

I wrote this song, I donít know how.

I have no hand, I have no voice.

I lost them by my motherís choice.

(Refrain)

XI

O Sister, Brother, are you there?

O Grandma, Uncle, did you care?

Iím waiting here...inside the stone

That grew from the first child unknown.

© 1995-2007, Butterfly Productions, All Rights Reserved

Suggested alternate name pairs for refrains are: Benjamin...Jane Kimberly...Ray (or Jay). Other name pairs can be created by users as desired. An orchestral music score is available.

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