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You Know The Night
Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Jackson Browne & Rob Wasserman
Excerpt from You Know The Night, 4/1943

You know the night I met you
My eyes had been
Looking for you all over everywhere.
Over low roads. Down highways. Bald deserts.
But looking
Without finding you.
That was it.
And the season why this was so
was because
I had seen so much troubled
waters and storms on the streets.
And this caused me
To want to do
Something about it.
Something to help not only just us
But people of all kinds come closer and
and closer together.

You know the night.

Your eyes had this same shine
about them I noticed
and when I first looked through
the wild wayward mist
I felt such a warm friendly cool
sunny smile
That I wanted to look in your
Eyes for all time
I just felt like you feel when
you feel like the angels are curling your
hair and you feel like the devil is
scratching your heel.

But if my jellied brain turns to
ashes and sand
There will still be such night smiles
across all the land
There will still be
Such faces
Meeting here in this dark
and there 'round the corner or
maybe the park.
It is when we meet this way
and look
at each other
we get hold of our scattered aims
Bring them
and beat them
and wrestle
and fight them
and heat them
and beat them and weld them
Like iron from the valley
and fire from the skies
This blast furnace heat burns
in our peoples eyes.
And from a raw aimless hunk
of dead matter
our love gives it vision
and love gives it shape
and it's born and it works
Like a new little baby
It sputters
It mutters
It goes and it stutters
and walks on the sidewalks
and falls in the gutters.
But it always and always seems
to move and be able
To get up. To raise up.
up on its feet again.

Did you feel this way too when I met you?
Did you look at me
and think
Here's me a guy
That hopes like I hope
and sees the same kind of new
dreams I see?

Because you wondered, I know
If your hopes could find shape in
the words that we used there to work back the fog -
Your hopes and your plans for the
good of the people
Could all of your hundred and one
Dreams just as bright as the sun
and all of your wants and your hottest
Find shape in the flow of my talk?

and there by ourselves while the bronze
statues watched us
We talked some. Kept still for
a time. Talked a little more.
Your hair had the smell of cleaness
about it and the wind helped my fingers to
play with your curls -
and the wind and the mist caused the
night to blow colder and we brought our hopes
there a little bit closer -
Hopes that we hoped
Work that we wanted
Jobs we were doing, aimed to do.
Quiet idle words, of the church and
the steeple. The union. The war.
And the world full of people.
And you gave my mind such a
deep kind of light
It blasted the fog.
It blew up the night.
It pulled back the curtains of
clouds from above us
and all of the stars came out and
winked at us
and I yelled up at the stars
and said
You stars! Go ahead! Shine as
bright as you want to!
Light up this round world and shine
if you want to!

And it was brighter than usual
and for some reason or other
The night
Turned off clear. And so cold.
It caused me to snuggle up closer
and hold
Hold on
Hold on to the ground we had gained.
Hold on to the new inch of life we discovered.
Hold on to the night.

We exchanged our dreams as we sat
there a while
word by word.
Plan by plan.
Mile by mile.

You looked a bit hungry and skinny to
me but
I had me the notion you'd soon fatten up.
You know how love is and you know
how dreams are. If you don't stay in love you
soon wilt away and you get sort of hungry
looking they say. So I thought you'd fill out
and look a lot better with a little work and
the right kind of weather.
You knew I was raily and some out of
shape. And you knew that my eyes and my
feet didn't mate. I was hunched and walked
crooked - but you overlooked this because
with the right kind of home life and care
my old carcass and brain could be good
for more wear.

Your grace of walk and action drove
me into fits. I tried to, but couldn't
think about anything else. This world
is an awful big machine and it moves
all together. No force on earth can
hold it back - and I am in all of this
and moving with it - and I feel the
motion and the rhythm of the universe
moving with these planets.

And moving the earth along with them.
And the earth moving the people
With it
And the attraction of your face and
your form
Pulled me. Pushed me. Drew me.
It was ten thousand times stronger than
all of the rest of these
Powers multiplied by ten.

And I felt harmony and sweetness
and felt strife
And wanted to walk with you as my wife
Down to the foamy docks to ride a
good boat
Across the troubled waters of this

You know the night I met you.
You know the night I met you
My eyes had been
Looking for you all over everywhere.
Over low roads. Down highways. Bald deserts.
I just felt like you feel when
you feel like the angels are curling your
hair and you feel like the devil is
scratching your heel.


© Copyright 2011 by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc., Swallow Turn Music, & Steep Music
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