HAARLEM TUESDAY   (©Words and Music by Paul F. Cowlan)

The release of this album coincides with the completion of  twenty years in the music business, so I wanted to include at least one song of a similar vintage. This one was written in 1975, just after I’d left the teaching profession to follow the road, which on that occasion led to the step-gabled roofs, cobbles and carillons of Holland. The twelve-string really comes into its own here.


Haarlem’s streets are narrow,
stony as the sea,
and I spent that day alone,
just myself for company.
I didn’t mind.
I took the town in my own time.
There was so much for me to see.

There were pewter dishes and bottles of glass
in antique windows with kettles of brass;
and the air was so still I could hardly feel it pass me by.
The fan-lights of the deserted church were broken,
there was dust on the panes and bars across the door;
but the stones of the square were an altar for the sunlight,
and, drinking it in, the tables were filled with people who worship the sky.

It seems the weekend came and went to soon;
a dark-eyed woman at a lakeside bar on a windy afternoon.
And in a house above a bookshop not far from the carriageway
I found new friends and songs to sing, and new words to say.

Better days are just around the corner
and it won’t be very long before I’m home.
I know what I want to see,
I know where I want to be,
and if a friend or two believes in me and what I try to do,
I’ll see it through.

Look at the sky.
It’s trying to rain.
Better find the bus-station, it’s time to leave again.

Goodbye Haarlem in the rain.