(Claire Daly,more known as a bass clarinet side person than leader, composer or singer, sang this same song, originally recorded by Stevie Wonder, at Art 21 Gallery, on the corner of Hamilton and Alma, very near the tracks, in summer, 2007, part of a music series I produced there. I name-checked the song following the lead of Michele Dauber, who quoted some Whitman, on today’s Palo Alto Weekly dialogue board and web site).
and1: it’s actually by Ron Miller, written for Stevie in 1970 and among other covers is by Joan Baez:
Heaven help the child who never had a home,
Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone
Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall,
Heaven help us all.
andand: I admit it took me this long to go back and read Michele Dauber’s suggestion, of a Whitman group of verses, from 1899. And I admit I cannot wrap my brain around it, the Wonder comes much easier. I took these verses, as a dose, a potion not a poison, as Paracelsus would have:
We mourn the old, the young untimely drawn to thee,
The fair, the strong, the good, the capable,
The household wreck’d, the husband and the wife, the engulfed forger
in his forge,
The corpses in the whelming waters and the mud,