From the recording Still Unbroken

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A song about the tragedy of finding oneself completely isolated in an alien culture. I tried to imagine who else would live on Desolation Row,.


Ghost Town Ballerina

The sky was uniformly grey as soldiers filled the bars
Preacher saw his Judgement Day in a confederacy of stars
The thief hid in the marching band, playing slide trombone
Thought I heard Promised Land but it was Like A Rolling Stone
The ghost town ballerina tried to walk a crooked line
Her steps were laced with cyanide disguised as sweet red wine
She could not face a single drop from that cold and bloody crown
But a joker knows where a fool must stop so she skipped right out of town

Where a plie and a pas de bas
Are just a step or two too far
As high above the prairie she pirouettes
Turns and bows to slowly die
Where swans and eagles fateful glide
Forgives us all our lonely debts
Yes she forgives us all our lonely debts

The judge condemned the Holy Ghost, a demon once possessed
Who was praying for the Pentecost as if those words were blessed
He knew the tide of men was slowed in the cupping of the moon
Said “Jeremiah and old Tom Joad, they’ll be back someday soon”
They crawled out broken windows and cantina’s crumbling walls
Like diamond backs their tongues spit sand where the ballerina falls
For she could not stand to leave her heart with all those drunken boys
When dance became a forgotten art she just wanted it destroyed

Where a plie and a pas de bas...

A spirit wind was blowing when dust devils rode the breeze
And there was no way of knowing then what’s cure and what’s disease
The dancing dirt will never stop and seek a place to hide
Like an exiled motorcycle cop with no highway beast to ride
The great lie in the mirror shards reflecting a broken sky
Where drunken kings are dealing cards and ruling in a place to die
Playing Heliotrope and Sugar Cane but those rags are not enough
She’ll still dance towards the flames that shaped her dying pyre of love

Where a plie and a pas de bas...

Ghost Town Ballerina © music by Tom Fairnie; words by Bob Shields & TomFairnie May 2020