Frederick


Patti Smith has an image as a scary, no-bullshit, hellraising ‘godmother of punk’, an honorary one-of-the-boys, a poet and an intellectual who wears black boots and doesn’t comb her hair because she’s above caring  about such superficial aspects of appearance. That’s a great image, an influential and inspiring one. But just listen to how girlish she sounds singing the first lines of Frederick, a song she wrote for her future husband (coyly referred to in liner notes as ‘my clarinet teacher’). She’s the godmother of punk, and she’s the little girl who stole an encyclopedia from the general store. Like any girl would, she spent her first substantial paycheck on a fur coat. She’s been known to contribute essays to Vogue about the charm of matching hats and purses. She’s the godmother of punk who chose to leave the open road to get married and live in the suburbs. She didn’t resume her career until widowhood left her broke and stranded in suburbia without a driver’s license. As usual, the person is more interesting than the icon.

hi hello wake from thy sleep
God has given your soul to keep
all of the power that burns in the flame
ignites the light in a single name

Frederick name of care
fast asleep in a room somewhere
guardian angels [line a bed]
shed their light on my sleepy head

I am a threshold yearning to sing
down with the the dancers having one last fling
here’s to the moment when you said hello
come on my spirit are you ready let’s go

hi hi hey hey
maybe I will come back some day now
but tonight on the wings of a dove
up above to the land of love

……….

now I lay me down to sleep
pray the Lord my soul to keep
kiss to kiss breath to breath
my soul surrenders astonished to death

night of wonder for us to keep
set our sails channel [out] deep
after the rapture two hearts meet
mine entwined in a single beat

Frederick you’re the one
as we journey from sun to sun
all the dreams I waited so long for
fly tonight so long so long

bye bye hey hey
maybe we will come back some day now
but tonight on the wings of a dove
up above to the land of love

Frederick name of care
high above in sky that’s clear
all the things I’ve been dreamin’ of
are expressed in this name of love

bye bye hey hey
maybe we will come back some day now
but tonight on the wings of a dove
up above . . .

This is dedicated to my clarinet teacher
Fred Sonic Smith

2 thoughts on “Frederick

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