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The Greatest Gift

by Sufjan Stevens

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1.
As if you know the story of Wallowa Lake: Leviathan first hid in the deep where her children sleep She kept them hidden from the plague But have you heard the story of my mother’s fate? She left us in Detroit in the rain with a pillow case Fortune for the paper weight We followed her to Joseph, near the Indian raid She wept among the weeds, hide and seek, for the fallen chief Spathiphyllum on his grave And like the cedar wax wing, she was drunk all day We put her in the sheet, little wreath, candles on the crate As the monster showed its face As she waits for her children in the shade Demogorgon or demigod the ghost parade No oblation will bring her back to our place She stayed within the deep end of Wallowa Lake The undertow refrained with the flame of a feathered snake Charybdis in its shallow grave She gave us one last feature: the fullness of her face In the shade of “Hin-mah-too-yah…” (Red Napoleon) As the demon took her place As we wait for the waters to reside Her remarkable stoicism and her pride When the dragon submerged we knew she had died
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Praise the mountain and the rain All the gifts that still remain But the greatest gift of all And the law above all laws Is to love your friends and lovers And lay down your life for your brothers As you abide in peace So will your delight increase As the mystery of the cross Asa Lovejoy lost the toss And the fountain in the rain Where my sorrow still remains So I run to my friends and lovers I lay down my life for my brothers As I abide in peace So will my delight increase
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Suppose the world was not informed by real estate or power lines The hidden river of my life, pursued by love The whispering stone, the valley ford, the candy corn, the spirit finds Abuse has left me on on my side, a single stone I’m a walker, I’m a dreamer, tree house greeter, pentacostal preacher I’m a rocker, yeah I’m a schemer, compost preacher, pioneer believer A small betrayal, a simple thought, to shrug it off, unoccupied The precious lake, the river bed, the rising tide The sad surprise, the day of flags, the flooding fox, the clever chime Awake my soul, awake my heart, and you will find I’m a walker, I’m a drinker, Safeway shopper, thunder egg reader I’m biker, yeah I’m a beaver, web-foot walker, trail blazing fever I’m a lover, yeah I’m a reaper, Subaru driver, satellite receiver I’m a trucker, yeah I’m a chaser, Pig-n-Ford rider, I’m a Nike racer Gloria in ex-Canemah
11.
A break in the clouds is a break in my day Face the sun of my salvation As Hathaway Jones would’ve made it his own fate Fly by the wings of your creation On the top of your hat there is a poem The thought in my head (oh God only knows) As everything else will disappoint you I used to be young and bold But now I’m afraid I’m getting so old I follow delight to the city of roses It’s a little known fact that I can’t cope I’m the champion of repression I’ve had it enough with the east coast I’ll die by the wings of my ambition The city I left, the city of throes The one that I love, the city of hope As everything else will disappoint you I used to be young and bold But now I’m of age, I’m getting so old I follow delight to the city of roses A break in the clouds is a break in my day

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released November 24, 2017

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Sufjan Stevens New York, New York

Sufjan Stevens is a singer-songwriter living in New York City.

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