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Cincinnati, Ohio - 1914

from On the Measure of Love and Distance by Strangelove Labs

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Dedicated to Martha, last of the passenger pigeons.
With apologies to Randy Newman.


Martha, oh Martha, on your perch in your pagoda
The children and tourists they all wanna go to
Vine Street in Avondale, the Cincinnati Zoo
The only place that they can see a specimen like you

Martha, I wonder, do pigeons ever dream? And if
They do, I wonder, what visions do you see?
A ribbon, a mile wide across the Midwest sky
A ripple blotting out the sun for hours at a time?

Or do they take you back to the Petoskey nesting grounds
Where men with nets and boys with clubs are lurking all around
Smoked and shucked, poked and plucked, shipped off in one great glut
And you try to open up your eyes to find they've been sewn shut

Or maybe you dream of meeting someone else like you
A fine feathered friend with whom to share a gentle coo
You've lived a long time now, at least for a pigeon
So close your eyes, there's time yet for one final pigeon vision

Martha, when you fall from your perch in your pagoda
I know where your tiny lifeless body's gonna go to
The children and tourists on the nation's mall
Will see you and ponder the great cruelty of it all

A monument to senselessness
A shrine to our shortsightedness
A permanent exhibit


from On the Measure of Love and Distance, released May 30, 2015
Lyrics & music: Bill Chapin

Josh: keyboard, vocals
Bill: mandolin, vocals
Lauren: ukulele, vocals


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