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Go down you broken old man

Artist: Paul Arenson

Category: Singer/songwriter, Alternative Folk, New Folk

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Description: I wrote this cira 1970 at the age of 18. It probably had as much to do with education as with the notion in the song that freedom stolen from a prisoner is not automatically returned at the end of the sentence.

I believe I was arguing against the defeatism suffered by some when the struggle for justice is stymied. As Howard Zinn once said, the changes that we effect are not always visible in the context of our own lives, at least not entirely, as the borders of history are wider than that.

If a therapist were analyzing me and why I wrote it, I think he or she would say I wrote it for my father, whose intransigence--against which I constantly battled--was a model for my own, the side of me I wanted to go beyond, that prevented me from being my own person because i alternately hated and loved him.


Twilight has blanketed old country jail
The prisoners ain't sleeping, they're quietly waiting
And counting the days till the door is swung wide
And summertime welcomes them home

Go down you broken old shell of a man
Down where the young river rolls
The cage that has sprung you has robbed you of sight
And you are still caught in the night

To keep all our children from going to crime
We'll lock them in schoolrooms and structure their time
And we'll give them their freedom when lessons are learned
So life will not lead them astray

Submitted: November 26, 2006 1:41AM

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Written at age 18 -- you were quite discerning back then. I love the refrain, especially the reprise which brings in the voices of many broken old manshells.

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I will add this to my Stan and Garnet Rogers collection, Paul! Such insight for such a young soul.
Glad you stuck with this songwriting thing!
Thanks for this.

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