Forty Years

 For Allison

Yearbook portrait; memories sing.
A smile to wrap your college dreams around.
Madness in Ohio spring.
Dreams were taken, broken on the ground.
Marchers mourn for violence unbound.

You’re more than just a name to me.
It’s hard to say how that can be.
I was too young and lived too far away.
I wouldn’t know what to say to you,
Who I can’t forget but never knew,
So I light a candle every fourth of May.

Imagination changes fact:
Allison lives and life is unrehearsed.
Work is started, bags are packed.
But time and bullets cannot be reversed.
Atlantis will forever stay immersed.

I saw your name again last week
On a painted stone in a college lawn.
I sat and thought ’til day was gone.
I found no answers. I can’t say why
Your name still glows internally
More vivid than the other three;
But I can hear your silence cry:
“Remember me, remember me.”

Martyrdom is no one’s aim.
The crimson cloak chose you for its embrace.
And time and distance are the same:
So few of us would recognize your face.
And shadows in the springtime take your place.

You’re more than just a name to me.
It’s hard to say how that can be.
I was too young and lived too far away.
I wouldn’t know what to say to you,
Who I can’t forget but never knew,
So I light a candle every fourth of May.

GPE, for Allison Krause
January 10, 1991, Columbia, Mo.
Revised August 6, 2002, Plymouth, Minn.
© 1991 Garth Street Songs/Greg Erickson

 Neil Young – “Ohio” (Massey Hall, Toronto, January 19, 1971)

Four Dead In Ohio
Allison Krause
Jeffrey Miller
Sandra Scheuer
William Schroeder

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3 Responses to “Forty Years”

  1. Yah Shure says:

    Simply beautiful, whiteray. Forty years, indeed.

  2. Alex says:

    Lovely.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Paco Malo says:

    Neil’s acoustic version gave me chills. Thanks, man.

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