Walt Whitman's Niece

by Billy Bragg

Stephen William Bragg (born 20 December 1957) — known as Billy Bragg — is an English alternative rock musician and left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, and his lyrics mostly deal with political or romantic themes. His music career has lasted more…




Last night or the night before that
I won't say which night
A seaman friend of mine
I'll not say which seaman
Walked up to a big old building
I won't say which building
And would not have walked up the stairs
Not to say which stairs
If there had not been two girls
Leaving out the names of those two girls

I recall a door, a big long room
I'll not tell which room
I remember a deep blue rug
But I can't say which rug
A girl took down a book of poems
Not to say which book of poems
And as she read, I laid my head
And I can't tell which head
Down in her lap
I can mention which lap

Well, my seaman buddy and his girl moved off
After a couple of pages and there I was
All night long, laying and listening
And forgetting the poems
And as well as I could recall
Or my seaman buddy could recollect
The girl had told us that she was a niece of Walt Whitman
But not which niece
And it takes a night and a girl
And a book of this kind
A long long time to find its way back

Last night or the night before that
I won't say which night
A seaman friend of mine
I'll not say which seaman
Walked up to a big old building
I won't say which building
And would not have walked the stairs
Not to say which stairs
If there had not been two girls
Leaving out the names of those two girls

I recall a door, a big long room
I'll not tell which room
I remember a deep blue rug
But I can't say which rug
A girl took down a book of poems
Not to say which book of poems
And as she read, I laid my head
But I can't tell which head
Down in her lap
I can mention which lap

Written by: Woody Guthrie, Stephen Bragg

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