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Going and Staying

[words Thomas Hardy, music Howard Evans]

Going and Staying is the title track of Brass Monkey fourth album, Going and Staying. The album’s sleeve notes commented:

This short poem by [Thomas] Hardy ends, unusually for him, on a note of optimism—or at least an acceptance that adverse destiny is moderated by time and that what goes around comes around. The tune was written on a plane somewhere over the USA during an early Brass Monkey tour. Later regulation was necessary to fit it to the uncommon scansion.


The moving sun-shapes on the spray,
The sparkles where the brook was flowing,
Pink faces, plightings, moonlit May,
These were the things we wished would stay;
    But they were going.

Seasons of blankness as of snow,
The silent bleed of a world decaying,
The moan of multitudes in woe,
These were the things we wished would go;
    But they were staying.

Then we looked closelier at time,
And saw his ghostly arms revolving
To sweet off woeful things with prime,
Things sinister with things sublime
    Alike dissolving.