Song of the Week – The National “The Geese of Beverly Road” and a Response “Tea With Tumnus”

This week Alligator has played in my ears more times than I can count with this beautiful song, “The Geese of Beverly Road,” playing on repeat for nearly the entire flight from Singapore to Hong Kong. When deciding which song to write a response to this week, I knew I wanted to move away from the cathartic after last week’s Porcelain Doll-man. As this song grew in my mind it brought me to a tiny, specific memory from my childhood. One of those minuscule moments that stick completely outside any context but with the weight of the inescapable. Honestly, I wanted to pluck lines straight from this song, lines like “we’re the heirs to the glimmering world” and “We’ll run like we’re awesome, totally genius” and the best closing line yet “Oh, come, come be my waitress and serve me tonight/ Serve me the sky with a big slice of lemon.” However, I chose to write a poem that draws a little bit from Yeats’ Love Song translated from Gaelic and a lot from my favorite childhood book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe all to somehow capture the essence of that minuscule moment from my childhood of walking in the snow on a snow day in New Hampshire with my neighbors. This went through 3 or 4 versions, and I fear it fails more than succeeds, but sometimes we just need to get something out on paper and see what happens when it gets into the heads of the readers. Maybe this will be one I revisit in time after it sits inside my brain stew and maybe I will just pluck those lines after all.

Tea with Tumnus
With great appreciation to Yeats and Berninger

My love we will go, we will go, you and I
Away into the dismantled cedar woods,
The reconstructed closet where the Mother
Of the House boxes and stores memory.
We can push through the hanging coats hiding
The best secret, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

Some didn’t believe in Lucy when she returned
The same moment she left, even with Tumnus’
Tea stain on her collar, but broken windows
Build solidarity in the quickest way, Innocents.
We can push through moth-eaten coats hiding
The best secret, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

I believe enough to craft a memory of snow
Whisper so feint I do not know from where we came
Nor know to where we will go, only a quiet so clear
We hear a solitary bird sing, longing for his love, we
Discover warmth that melts coldness in our hearts
Uncovering the best secrets, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

You and I, we’ll set out into the shimmering world
Blood flushing our cheeks, red like roses
Our footsteps a new Kingdom’s first definition
Snow a down coat softening all life’s sharp edges
Tonight, come be my Tumnus, serve me
The best secret, my love, let’s go, let’s go.

The Geese of Beverly Road
Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner & Scott Devendorf

[Verse 1]
We’ll take ourselves out in the street
And wear the blood in our cheeks
Like red roses
We’ll go from car to sleeping car
And whisper in their sleeping ears
We were here, we were here
We’ll set off the geese of Beverly Road

[Chorus]
Hey, love, we’ll get away with it
We’ll run like we’re awesome, totally genius
Hey, love, we’ll get away with it
We’ll run like we’re awesome

[Verse 2]
We won’t be disappointed
We’ll fight like girls for our place at the table
Our room on the floor
We’ll set off the geese of Beverly Road

[Chorus]
Hey, love, we’ll get away with it
We’ll run like we’re awesome, totally genius
Hey, love, we’ll get away with it
We’ll run like we’re awesome

[Bridge]
We’re the heirs to the glimmering world
We’re the heirs to the glimmering world

[Verse 3]
We’re drunk and sparking, our legs are open
Our hands are covered in cake
But I swear we didn’t have any
I swear we didn’t have any

[Chorus]
Hey, love, we’ll get away with it
We’ll run like we’re awesome, totally genius
Hey, love, we’ll get away with it
We’ll run like we’re awesome

[Bridge]
We’re the heirs to the glimmering world
We’re the heirs to the glimmering world

[Outro]
Oh, come, come be my waitress and serve me tonight
Serve me the sky tonight
Oh, come, come be my waitress and serve me tonight
Serve me the sky with a big slice of lemon

[Bridge]
We’re the heirs to the glimmering world
We’re the heirs to the glimmering world

[Outro]
Oh, come, come be my waitress and serve me tonight
Serve me the sky tonight
Oh, come, come be my waitress and serve me tonight
Serve me the sky with a big slice of lemon

11 thoughts on “Song of the Week – The National “The Geese of Beverly Road” and a Response “Tea With Tumnus”

  1. S Francis says:

    You comment might just be better poetry than mine! In fact… I may just use your comments to help me dive into the poem and see if I cannot get to that layer I feel like I missed… regardless, and as always, thank you my friend!

    Like

  2. S Francis says:

    Thanks, Em. For some reason, I am feeling more insecure about this response, but I really appreciate the positive comments it is getting. I do think this will be one of those poems I come back to after a while and whittle away at. As for National songs, this one snuck up on me. Hadn’t listened to Alligator an awful lot, but the more I did, the more I found myself putting this one on repeat. Beautiful song. Hey… how is that National harmonium piece coming along?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Singledust says:

    Like gathering broken bits of meteor showers your soul leads you to just the right song, verse and prose to construct your own. Love the amalgamation of thoughts, feelings and words and of course any mention of snow and I am biased to love it more. But honestly, the image of Lucy and her discovery of a softly beckoning snow covered world as she steps out of the coats is a memory so intuitively connected to Yeats comforting his beloved in his love poem – urging her to not be afraid and that they will certainly go the distance holding hands, together into that wood and enjoy the simple pleasures together just like tea with Tumnus, discovering secrets while sipping tea and listening to the secrets the woods whisper as they dismantle for the lovers return – this response of yours a fairy tale of its very own. And the music very haunting in the background as I read the response. I enjoyed this very much. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

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