Terrapin Station – ’11-#15

“Terrapin Station”
Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia

LADY WITH A FAN

Let my inspiration flow
in token lines suggesting rhythm
that will not forsake me
till my tale is told and done
While the firelight’s aglow
strange shadows in the flames will grow
till things we’ve never seen
will seem familiar
Shadows of a sailor forming
winds both foul and fair all swarm
down in Carlisle he loved a lady
many years ago
Here beside him stands a man
a soldier by the looks of him
who came through many fights
but lost at love

While the storyteller speaks
a door within the fire creaks
suddenly flies open
and a girl is standing there
Eyes alight with glowing hair
all that fancy paints as fair
she takes her fan and throws it
in the lion’s den
“Which of you to gain me, tell
will risk uncertain pains of Hell?
I will not forgive you
if you will not take the chance”
The sailor gave at least a try
the soldier being much too wise
strategy was his strength
and not disaster
The sailor coming out again
the lady fairly lept at him
that’s how it stands today
you decide if he was wise
The storyteller makes no choice
soon you will not hear his voice
his job is to shed light
and not to master
Since the end is never told
we pay the teller off in gold
in hopes he will come back
but he cannot be bought or sold

TERRAPIN STATION

Inspiration, move me brightly
light the song with sense and color,
hold away despair
More than this I will not ask
faced with mysteries dark and vast
statements just seem vain at last
some rise, some fall, some climb
to get to Terrapin
Counting stars by candlelight
all are dim but one is bright:
the spiral light of Venus
rising first and shining best,
From the northwest corner
of a brand-new crescent moon
crickets and cicadas sing
a rare and different tune
Terrapin Station
in the shadow of the moon
Terrapin Station
and I know we’ll be there soon
Terrapin – I can’t figure out
Terrapin – if it’s an end or the beginning
Terrapin – but the train’s got its brakes on
and the whistle is screaming: TERRAPIN

AT A SIDING

While you were gone
these spaces filled with darkness
The obvious was hidden
With nothing to believe in
the compass always points to Terrapin
The sullen wings of fortune beat like rain
You’re back in Terrapin for good or ill again
For good or ill again

This is probably my favorite Grateful Dead song – Terrapin Station, from the 1977 album of the same name. It’s technically three songs in one, and is 15 minutes long. This piece is made up mostly of pictures I took at Old Tucson Studios, or in and around Tucson, Arizona.

This actual piece, if it were printed, is huge. I think it’s 33 inches long by 14 inches wide. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I was going for a Stanley Mouse / Alton Kelley feel.

Photo credits:
Train, station, turtle, skulls, skeleton, moon – Me
WaterMartyn E. Jones
BackgroundCarmen Cordelia


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