Down at the Docks

(1959)

"Down at the Docks" is the second song of Mostly About Love, a song cycle by Virgil Thomson setting the poetry of Kenneth Koch.

Down at the Docks
by Kenneth Koch


Down at the docks
Where everything is sweet and inclines
At night
To the sound of canoes
I planted a maple tree
And every night
Beneath it I studied the cosmos
Down at the docks.


Sweet ladies, listen to me.
The dock is made of wood
The maple tree's not made of wood
It is wood
Wood comes from it
As music comes from me
And from this mandolin I've made
Out of the maple tree.


Jealous gentlemen, study how
Wood comes from the maple
Then devise your love
So that it seems
To come from where
All is it yet something more
White spring flowers and leafy bough
Jealous gentlemen.


Arrogant little waves
Knocking at the dock
It's for you I've made this chanson
For you and that big dark blue.


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