"Nocturne" lyrics - MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER


It was late in the summer and the house was asleep
Except for you in the attic under the eaves
The windows were open, it was lamplight and stars
Lamplight and stars from above

You could hear a car passing way down the street
A neighbor's dog barking, and the wind in the trees
And you're the king of your castle and of all you survey
At the end of this day that was

You thought of your children just down the stairs
Your wife sleeping deeply, the quotidian cares
Some days it's easy, some days it's hard
Some days it's so hard to be loved

You look like your old man when he was your age
Stepping back from the mirror, more surprised than amazed
Same salt at the temples, same faraway eyes
A disguise you recognize now

You wish he'd been around more when you were a kid
You wish he had told you so much more than he did
And all these regrets and they're still handed down
From father to son somehow

And what doesn't get lost in the numbing routine
What isn't a burden or casualty
You're sworn to protect from indifference and rust
What indifference and rust will allow

It's not very often but it happens sometimes
You can feel something pulling like the moon pulls the tides
Too strong to outswim and too deep to outlast
The past like a wave on the sea

We're all trying to live up to some oath to ourselves
Try holding back time but it will not be held
No king has the power, no mortal the skill
But still you keep trying to see

What's waiting for you at the end of your days
The wars you inherit, the truces you make
The riches you squandered, the love that you earned
And the nocturne you heard in a dream