BALALAIKAS (2002)


Someday
When I end this charade
When the piper is paid
And withdraws
Someday
When my life becomes my own
Horizons to explore
I finally will soar
To vistas undiscovered and unknown

Will the balalaikas play for me when I get to Russia
Will I greet the matadors of Spain
Will I find enlightenment among the Himalayas
And will the monks endeavor to explain
Will I build a fire in the winds of the Antarctic
Will I walk the isle of Capri
Will someday I wander
When the days are mine to squander
Will the balalaikas play for me

When
Did I last hear my voice
When did I last rejoice
Unashamed
And when
Was the last time I shed tears
My dreams kept under locks
In a fiercely-guarded box
The ransoms paid in weeks and months and years

Will the balalaikas play for me when I get to Russia
Will I greet the matadors of Spain
Will I breathe the air of more intolerable climates
And walk on less hospitable terrain
Will I drown my tears in a café in Casablanca
Will I touch the bottom of the sea
When I’m free to hear
Will the music sound as clear
Will the balalaikas play for me






Like a long-lost son
Or an ancient rune
I will find the man
I discarded too soon
He will help me see
For my eyes are weak
He will free my voice
He will teach me to speak

I drive
But the road stretches on
Rounds the bend and is gone
Out of sight
And rolls through towns I can’t conceive
Time has gone so fast
But not enough has passed
For me to gather up my soul and leave

Will the balalaikas play for me when I get to Russia
Will I greet the matadors of Spain
Will I find the song that haunts my every waking moment
And will it have a different refrain
Will I find myself in lands without a single signpost
Following a map without a key
Will someone remind me
That I mustn’t look behind me
Will the balalaikas play for me


This lyric is personally very important to me. When I turned 40 (or just before) I took a long solo trip, as I had not travelled much in my life. I wrote this song on the plane to Dallas.

The title comes from my younger son, who was 3 or so, and enjoyed a computer game where he matched instruments to their country of origin. One night in the car he asked if we could visit Russia someday so he could hear the Balalaikas.

crumpled paper