The Dutchman

 

Every Wednesday I meet with a bunch of guys to hear one of them or a speaker they bring.  The “speaker” this time brought his guitar and a good friend of his also with a guitar.  They entertained us with a dozen or so great melodies, finishing with a hauntingly favorite, entitled “The Dutchman.”  For my blog this month, I am treating you to a rendition of this memorable song, sung here by the late Liam Clancy.  Just click on the triangle above and have your speaker on.

What’s the song about?  You won’t find much accurate information about Holland here, but the human pathos of the Dutchman will move you as it has countless others.  As so often, it’s about love, a special kind of love.  Figure it out for yourself.  The lyrics appear below.

The Dutchman

Words and lyrics by Michael Peter Smith

The Dutchman is not the kind of man    /    who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam    /   that holds his dreams in,    /    that’s a secret that only Margaret knows.

When Amsterdam is golden in the summer    /    Margaret brings him breakfast,    /    she believes him    /    (he thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow).

He’s mad as he can be,    /    Margaret only sees that sometimes,    /    sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean    /    where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.                 Long ago I used to be a young man,    /    dear Margaret remembers that for me.

The Dutchman still wears wooden shoes    /    and his cap and coat are patched with the love    /    Margaret sewed there    /    (sometimes he thinks he’s still in Rotterdam).

He watches the tug-boats down the canals    /    and calls out to them    /    when he thinks he knows the captain.

Margaret comes to take him home again    /    through unforgiving streets that trip him    / she holds his arm    /    (sometimes he thinks he’s alone and he calls her name).

        Let us go to the banks of the ocean    /    where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.                 Long ago I used to be a young man,    /    dear Margaret remembers that for me.

 

 

The winters whirl the windmills ‘round,  she winds his muffler tighter,    /    they sit in the kitchen,  some tea with whiskey keeps away the dew.    /    He sees her for a moment , he calls her name.

She makes the bed up singing some old love song,    /    she learned it when the song was very new,     /    he hums a line or two, they hum together in the dark.    /    The Dutchman falls asleep,    /    Margaret blows the candles out.

        Let us go to the banks of the ocean    /    where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.                 Long ago I used to be a young man,    /    dear Margaret remembers that for me.

 

 

 

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