Helen

Helen Chellin was a girl from my old neighborhood in the Bronx. I didn’t really know her but at one point she started hanging around with my group of friends (I think she had a crush on my buddy Jake). She was very pretty and I quickly developed a crush on her and I wrote this song (my first love song) but never played it for her. She was my first muse, I guess. Fifty years later I Googled her, she is an artist living in San Francisco. I sent her a copy of the song and she seemed pleased (“honored” was the word she used). My pop, who never said anything about my songwriting (for fear of encouraging me to be a singer/songwriter) did confess to me on a few occasions that he loved this song.

Helen

When the wind from the mountain blows me down to the shore

And the great northern sky bursts in flame

They’re only preparing a symphony for strings

That sounds like Helen’s name

And I’m beckoned to the spot where the sea will slowly rise

And I see the eternity that’s echoed in her eyes

And I hear the singing of the stars in the skies

A dove will sweetly cry

Wherever Helen lies.

 

(cho) A love song’s refrain on a June night

Will fade like the morning dove’s sigh

But the sound of Helen’s name in the moonlight

Will never, ever die

Will never, ever die

 

If you’ve not felt the tempest as she reigns o’er the seas

If you’ve not seen the swallowtail fly

If you’ve not smelled the morning or tasted the breeze

You have never loved Helen as I

And when the great mountains see the snow melt and run

And the grass it awakens and leaps towards the sun

And the birds in the trees, they all sing as one

It comes as no surprise

That her smile comes to my eyes.

 

            (cho)

 

I have seen the great monuments scraping the skies

As I sailed into ports on distant shores

I have known all the kingdoms, I’ve known all the kings

Tell me who could wish to know more

I’ve known quests that were greater than the great golden fleece

I’ve known love I’ve known hatred I’ve known war I’ve known peace

But I’d gladly know nothing and my wandering cease

For the thing I’ve been denied

To know love in Helen’s eyes

 

            (cho)