November tied me to an old dead tree

Everybody of a certain age and of a certain disposition has listened to and liked some music by Tom Waits. Whether it is the romantic ballads of his early career or the stirring of a bucket of spanners with a food blender of his later years.

Me, I have them all, OCD anorak that I am. I have the bootlegs from crappy concerts and the tribute albums and the soundtracks with only one song on them (Shrek 2 soundtrack anyone? Big Bad Love soundtrack anyone? – quite good actually)

Anyway, back in the early 1990’s there were a spate of albums that signalled a drift into experimentation that were, how would you say, less than melodic.

In the middle of these albums (Bone Machine, The Black Rider, Night on Earth) is a song that is apt for this time of year in this part of the world –


After the marathon of 8 days ago I have had a nagging sense of emptiness. I think this is because I feel no more fear for the marathon. I’ve finished 7 of them (I’ve started 8 and entered 9) and I’m not sure I’ll see much more of my soul in them. The training cycle is extremely enjoyable with days and weeks of steady progress. I suppose the fact that there was no drama in it is part of the reason why it feels hollow. I compare it to my other marathons where there was a palpable sense of panic from before the gun until I finally made it over the line.

Now it is a plan that runs well from start to finish.

I think this is pointing to an Ultra in 2011. Somebody needs to point me back to this point in time when I’m puking up ambrosia creamed rice at mile 33 sometime next year.

Anyway, I think I’ll just slink back into a few months of recreational running to allow the body and mind to recover from the marathon.

Now, November –

Look out your window, read these lyrics and then listen to the song and dig a hole in the ground and go into hibernation.

No shadow no stars
no moon no cars
it only believes
in a pile of dead leaves
and a moon
that’s the color of bone

No prayers for November
to linger longer
stick your spoon in the wall
we’ll slaughter them all

November has tied me
to an old dead tree
get word to April
to rescue me
November’s cold chain

Made of wet boots and rain
and shiny black ravens
on chimney smoke lanes
November seems odd
you’re my firing squad

With my hair slicked back
with carrion shellac
with the blood from a pheasant
and the bone from a hare
tied to the branches
of a roebuck stag
left to wave in the timber
like a buck shot flag

Go away you rainsnout
go away blow your brains out


3 responses to “November tied me to an old dead tree

  1. Richard,
    An ultra in 2011????…….combine it with a family holiday to Scotland and run the Clyde Stride in July.
    Crackin race and the RD is a top burd 🙂

  2. Excellent! Ultras are great. Longer, slower, much more painful than marathons – just what you’re looking for!

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