Chasing Buttons

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thestoryteller
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Chasing Buttons

Post by thestoryteller » Wed Jun 15, 2016 3:21 pm

CHASING BUTTONS

From his homemade wooden rocker my dad beckoned with his hand,
as his wasting frame would not allow the dying man to stand
and he handed me two buttons, that were worn and on a chain,
then he whispered of their origins while grimacing with pain.

“These two buttons were my father’s lad and from a prison shirt
that dad wore because he’d beat a man who’d treated him like dirt
He was placed in solitary and that added to his shame
so to stay sane in that darkness … well he played this little game.

Chorus

“He would throw those two white buttons in the black void of that room
and he’d search until he found them in his quest to beat the gloom.
Yes he’d throw those two white buttons and they kept the poor man sane,
till they finally released him and my dad came home again.

“When I met your darling mother son I felt right from the start
that this girl was something special and I knew deep in my heart
that we’d marry and have family and son the dream came true,
but it broke me when I lost her, after she gave birth to you.

“Though I had you to remember her, I nearly lost my mind
and I’d ask God in my darkened room why was life so unkind.
But my dad came to the rescue and placed in my hand one day
two white buttons and revealed to me a game he used to play.

Chorus

“Yes I’d throw those two white buttons in the black void of that room
and I’d search until I found them in my quest to beat the gloom.
Yes I’d throw those two white buttons and they somehow kept me sane
till I found a little peace of mind and was your dad again.

“Still we’ve shared a lot of years since then and son you’re now a man
and I know you love your family and do the best you can.
I do not have much to leave you just these worn out buttons lad
and the knowledge that I loved you and was proud to be your dad.”

Then his hand slumped off the rocker and dad’s spirit left that night
and him lying there and free of pain was such a peaceful sight.
Though at night I’d sit there in the dark, depressed and feeling blue,
till I took to throwing buttons, just like my dad used to do.

Chorus

Yes I’d throw those two white buttons in the black void of that room
and I’d search until I found them in my quest to beat the gloom.
Yes I’d throw those two white buttons and they somehow kept me sane
and I thank my dad and grandpa for those buttons on that chain.


© Bush Poet and Ballad Writer -Merv Webster

Whilst visiting the Dubbo Jail some years back, I listened to a recorded message coming from an isolation cell of a supposed inmate. He told how the Traps purposely goaded inmates into misdemeanours and then placed them in solitary. He said many went mad in the dark, but he’d learnt to pull the buttons off his shirt and throw them in the cell and look for them to maintain his sanity. This inspired the above song. It was a Finalist and Winner of the Lyrics Only section of the 2005 Northern Territory Country Music Songwriting Awards. It was also a finalist in the Tamworth T.S.A. Lyrics Only in 2006.

Recorded on the From Bard to Balladeer album
Bush Verse and Ballads album
Some days your the pidgeon and other days the statue.

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