What the Moon Saw

Okay, so I was visiting a town called Stoupa just outside
Kardimili, Greece one year. It’s on the Peloponnesos, not
far from Kalamata, where all the best olives are born of
those craggy olive trees with the most improbable
silhouettes.

I was there at the behest of a lovely woman from Toronto by the
name of Beth who introduced me to her friend, the late Robert
Crisp.

Crisp was a famous writer and a former world record holder in
cricket. Apparently, he had written one of the best books
about the history of tank war in North Africa during WWII.

He had escorted Beth when she was fifteen all around Crete
on a donkey and she assured me he had been a perfect
gentleman. And that he had been gobsmacked in love with
her. Is that a romantic image or is it just me?

I met her through the late George Prokos, a friend, violinist
and PR expert.  Oh, and one more thing. Apparently, Robert
was the ‘Carey’ character in a Joni Mitchell song. You know
the one… “Oh, you’re a mean old daddy but I like you”. I always
thought that song had a faint taint of S and M, but hey.

Okay, enough of the digressions…some taut and propulsive
sentences already or you will lose your reader he said to
himself.

Getting to the house was a bit of an adventure. I arrived in
Stoupa in the morning and asked around. Gosh…everyone
was so friendly and helpful! The problem was that they either
didn’t understand my weak Greek, or were simply making
up directions so as not to be discourteous to their visitor
in town.

kardimili

I said something along the lines of, “Poo eenay toe speetee
tou Robert Crisp?

And they would point vaguely in a direction and send
me on my way. After many false starts I found a Greek god,
appropriately named Dionysos, whose English wife was
very beautiful as were their children. They took me over
to the house, chatted about Robert and, told me I was
expected but that he was out of town and would return
soon. They gave me a key and said that I should make
myself at home.

What a wonderful little place. I can’t tell you what it will
do for your soul to spend some time on the Peloponnese.
Heck, just look at me. Do you think I got like this..so like
cultured like and suave-like just by standing around the
Dufferin Mall? Heck no…it took this little thing called…

enculturation…okay?

Yup, and that’s what I got in Stoupa at Robert Crisp’s
house. I got enculturated, so deal with it. Particularly
when I lounged in the backyard by the lemon tree.
Oh yeah…a real lemon tree.

crispypostcard

One day after frolicking in the ocean for a leisurely hour
and eating the best melon — peponi — of my life, I sat in
the back yard and gurgled with bliss….

I simply could not believe how beautiful life could be.

I walked into the house for something and took a
look at his book shelf. Like any self respecting Englishmen,
he had some fine leather bound editions including a real
beaut…a collection of Hans Christian Andersen stories.
He’s the Danish dude who could make a busted up little tin
soldier seem like the most doughty warrior in all of
Christendom.

I opened the book and one of the titles smacked me
in my wee brainie. It was called ‘What the Moon Saw’.

As you know, if you’ve slogged through any number of
these self indulgent paeans to my own titanic conceit,
I consider songcatching to be the name of the game..

…not the scritchy scratchy method guitarists often use
or the plinkity plonk method favoured by piano players.
(Or occasionally plonkity plink). Yes, of course you can write
songs that way, but inspiration is best. Don’t touch an
instrument until you have command of the melody he
says repeatedly to no one listening.

So here I go again. I did not write this song. I caught it.
I just heard it. It leapt up from the book and smacked me
one and it wouldn’t stop. It’s a simple rock ballad in C
minor in 4/4 time. What else can I tell you?
I walked around for many days hearing only this tune.
It was the soundtrack to the rising moon.

In Greece there’s a wonderful crescendo with every
full moon. The sea fully participates and all those
fanciful poetic notions of “moonlight” become very
real. In the middle of the night in the Mediterranean,
the moonlight is strong and mysterious and grabs
hold of your imagination and emotions and won’t let
go until you scuttle like a crab into the rough sea
after midnight.

It gave me the chance to ruminate on my feelings about
the moon. I decided the moon loves the sun but has
a lot of repressed feelings of resentment.

Here it is…What the Moon Saw. It has nothing whatever
to do with the Hans Christian Andersen story. It’s just what
the title evoked in my braincase, suffused as it was at that
moment with all the best secretions from my inner
pharmacopia.

I hope it haunts you. I hope it embeds itself into your
brain and crawls like a worm for decades. I hope one
day while you are looking at ragged waves crashing
a moonlit beach it repeats on you and unnerves you
slightly.

Regarding movies??? Hmmm…there’s a feeling of
magnificent obsession here…maybe it can be used
in a movie having to do with a mission.

About the recording: This was recorded at the Rogue
Studios with James Paul in Toronto. On piano and
keyboards, I was lucky to get the late Richard Bell.

I think Richard’s greatest claim to fame was being
in Janis Joplin’s Full Tilt Boogie Band. He also played
in ‘The Band’ post Richard Manual.

He did a heck of a job on the B3 I think you’ll agree. I
have to get back in the studio and complete it. It’s a first
pass vocal, but hey, we’re all friends here.

What the Moon Saw

What The Moon Saw
© Tom St. Louis

Now it’s almost light and the sun is coming back
In a little while you’ll see me disappear
In a little while you’ll forget about these beams
But I’m here

I was looking down and I chanced to see a singer
Pouring out her heart to a boy she used to know
But he left her world and the earth before his time
Let him go.

I was glancing to my left
And I spied a bright young man
Pouring out his love to the girl who wasn’t there
She was counting dreams of all the hearts she’d snared
So fair

When you find someone to love
Do you look up to my face?
And in your lover’s eyes
Do you feel a special glow?
But you’re not alone with the secrets of your heart
You know.

I saw the swelling sea,
She was drinking in my beams
Down to her depths to shine them back at me
On every ocean wave as far as I can see
It’s me.

I saw the sun, he gave me everything
Left me alone to reflect upon his light
So many gifts but the greatest one of all
The night

Then I turned and dropped my beam
On a barren mountaintop
Where a little boy dreamed that he could fly
He saw the eagle’s dance and he thought
that he might like
to die

Now it’s almost dark
And the sun is coming back
As I move along into your little piece of sky
Don’t believe the sun is just a local star
It’s a lie

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7 Responses to “What the Moon Saw”

  1. Dossy Says:

    Yes! Very nice. As Liz Lemmon would say, “I want to go to there.”

  2. Sue Says:

    You are truly a great story-teller.

  3. barrie orton Says:

    I remember Bob from 30 years ago… on first meeting he proferred, “… a wee heart starter?” at sun down. Did you find out why he walked around Crete – a very interesting story?
    Did you know that 92 year old Paddy Leigh Fermor has lived just down the road at Kardimilli since 1960s? I built the shelves in his library 30 years ago!
    I parked my truck on Kalogria for months, not a single foot print on the white sand other than mine…
    I’m building a house there, 30 years too late.

    • getmysonginamovie Says:

      Hi Barrie:

      Thanks so much for getting in touch. Are you on Kalogria
      Beach? I might be passing by in early October.

      I’m definitely going to Samos for a few days.

      I do not know why Robert went around Crete…all of
      these things I learned second hand. Do you know his
      neighbours…the English lady and the Greek guy?

      Tom

  4. Angela Landry Says:

    Killer, mang!

  5. jiacoma Says:

    great story! thanks.

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