Ohio

from by Simon Balto

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lyrics

“Take my kingdom in your hands,” young Henry Lee sang,
“And hold it deep in your heart while I’m away.
I’ll be back by April, in May if I am late.
Before the spring rains dry up into bright summer days.

I’m heading down South now, to the Alleghenies
To find some work before the winter, when the red oak sheds its leaves
I’ll shoulder your memory everywhere I go
And tell all the men I meet about my little boy back home.

And lift me up, Ohio, with the strength inside your hands,
When my bridled legs get heavy, and I’m tethered where I stand
I’ll breathe inside your fingers, and burrow deep into your chest,
So lift me up, please, Ohio, I’ve got good in me yet.

Now the mornings ain’t been easy since they shut the steel mill down.
Drove half the men at the corner bar straight out of this town
But me, I won’t be gone for long, so don’t grow too much while I’m gone;
And think about me in the morning, and when your mother lays you down.

And when the politicians talk about men like me and rising tides and lifting ships
Know that they hammered holes in our little boats, which is why they float like shit
I’ve been bailing water since around the age of seventeen,
And had to learn to love the flood, for the way it keeps me clean.

And lift me up, Ohio, with the strength inside your hands,
When my bridled legs get heavy, and I’m tethered where I stand
I’ll breathe inside your fingers, and burrow deep into your chest,
So lift me up, please, Ohio, I’ve got good in me yet.

And now the line where you end and my world begins
Has been blurried up by kindness now and blurried by my sins
But there’s honor still inside me, I know it doesn’t always show
Please tell your friends about me, and trace my name into the snow.

And lift me up, Ohio, with the strength inside your hands,
When my bridled legs get heavy, and I’m tethered where I stand
I’ll breathe inside your fingers, and burrow deep into your chest,
So lift me up, please, Ohio, I’ve got good in me yet.

credits

from Murmurations, released August 5, 2016

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Simon Balto Indianapolis, Indiana

Alt-folk. Midwest. Big voice, full heart, can't lose.

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