A Harmless, Pleasant Song

I’m feeling better now, and this old song came into my head–one of my favorites, back when, and still a favorite now: Epistle to Derroll, by Donovan. Evoking happy times…

Does anybody still write songs like this? Innocent, pleasant, harmless, soothing… I hope you like it.

7 comments on “A Harmless, Pleasant Song

  1. Although I grew up listening to Donovan and knew all his big hits, and had a few of his 45s, I had never heard this, until you posted this song a few months ago. Please post it again whenever the urge hits you.

    I really like that song. I had to know who wrote it, I found Donovan did. It was dedicated to Derroll Adams, a singer and banjo player who was an early mentor to Donovan. What a wonderful song in wonderful tribute. Yes, who writes songs like that anymore.

    Epistle to Derroll

    Come all ye starry starfish
    Living in the deep blue sea
    Crawl to me I have proposition to make thee
    Would you walk the north sea floor
    To Belgium from England
    Bring me word of a banjo man
    With a tattoo on his hand.

    The spokesman of the starfish
    Spoke as spokesman should
    “If’n you met our fee then
    Certainly we would,
    If you cast a looking-glass
    Upon the scallopped sand
    You’ll have word o’ this banjo man
    With a tattoo on his hand.”

    “Come ye starry starfish
    I know your ways are caped
    Maybe its because your astrologically shaped,
    Converse with the herring shoals
    As I know you can
    Bring me word o’ the banjo man
    With a tattoo on his hand.”

    The eldest of the starfish
    Spoke, after a sigh,
    “Youthfull as you are young man
    You have a ‘Wisdom Eye’;
    Surely you must know a looking-glass
    Is made from sand?
    These youngfish are fooling you
    About this banjo man.”

    “Come then aged starfish
    Riddle me no more,
    For news I am weary
    And my heart is sore;
    All on the silent seashore,
    Help me if you can,
    Tell to me if you know
    Of this banjo man.”

    “All through the seven oceans
    I am a star, most famed,
    Many ‘leggys’ have I lost
    And many have I gained,
    Strange to say quite recently
    I’ve been to FlemiSH Land
    And if you are courteous
    I’ll tell you all I can.”

    “You have my full attention”
    I answered him with glee,
    His brother stars were twinkling
    In the sky above the sea
    So I sat there with rapt
    Attention, on the sand,
    Very anxious for to hear
    Of the banjo man.

    “I have seen this tattooed hand
    Through a ship port-hole,
    Steaming on the watery main
    Through the waves so cold,
    Heard his tinkling banjo and
    His voice so grand
    But you must come to Belgium
    To shake his tattooed hand.”

    “Gladly would I come oh
    Gladly would I go,
    Had I not my work to do
    And my face to show,
    I rejoice to know he’s well
    But I must go inland,
    Thank you for the words you brought
    Of the banjo man.”

    I walked along the evening sand
    As charcoal clouds did shift
    Revealing the moon shining
    On the pebble drift
    Contemplating every other word
    The starfish said
    Whistly winds they filled my dreams
    In my dreaming bed.

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