Before the Eyes of Storytelling Girls

Anaïs Mitchell

Before the Eyes of Storytelling Girls By Anaïs Mitchell

I could tell you stories like the government tells lies
Oh, but no one listens any more
In the rooms the women come and go
Talking on the mobile phones
And the television talks about the war
When I was a baby there was laughter in my house
And my daddy smoked domestic cigarettes
Thursday nights on the radio live in concert
Live from Cairo, mother of Egypt

Mama, mama
Be with me
With the music in your breast
In your glittering evening dress
And the white flag in your fist trembling

I could tell you stories like the past was dead and gone
But I know nothing changes in this world
Every day the muezzin calls
Sun comes up and Baghdad falls
Before the eyes of storytelling girls
She was just a poor man’s daughter
Going down into the sultan’s bed
He was desert, she was water
And he remembered every word she said

She said and I say
Grandma, grandma
Be with me
In your tragic wedding gown
With your long hair hanging down
And the stories tumbling out
Tumbling

I could tell you stories like the government tells lies
Oh, but no one listens any more
In the rooms the women come and go
Talking on the mobile phones
And the television talks about the war
About the war
And the television talks about the war



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