Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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Ode to Procol Harum

By 'Harry Salzberg's Simple Sister' (1970)


First page of Bambi Salzberg's Chaucerian effusion, signed by Maestro Brooker

I sit in comfort and serenity
And tell my tale which should speak admirably;
But first, indeed, you'll want an explanation
Before my words do reach their destination.
Keen interest in Procol Harum came slowly.
It came due to my brother's interest wholly
For he, a connoisseur of musical art,
set Procol Harum above the others; apart
in style, performance, spirit, philosophy
Unpretentious people who musically
sway the mind toward heavy, mystical storms
and make it, like the Salty Dog, see forms
of truth, life, love, death, and sorrow
all of which will be here on the 'morrow.

Sail forth, oh pen, into the mighty gale
perhaps the fog will lift, so tell your tale.
Senses are drained senseless by your sound,
the founder lost, the lost are finally found.
The wrecks are raised from clutching hands at sea;
all this and more are somehow done by thee.

My love for Procol Harum is evident;
to view them play at Fillmore East, we went
so many miles from home when? In June
twelfth, eleven-thirty show, the tune,
coming from the gates of Cerdes below,
and from this sea of wheat did I hoe.
Clad in usual clothes they cast a net,
splashed us with their music, made us wet.
Took us home again, guitar wailing,
told us well-known stories, never failing
to shine on brightly after standing ovation,
giving light from lamps of contemplation.

No need to turn a whiter shade of pale,
the milk of human kindness could not fail
to bestow color to my cheeks
I was to see them again in four weeks.
My friends and I certainly did not mean
to be late for the rock festival scene.
Driving to Georgia, we finally set up camp
I remember July was humid and damp.
Excitement grew, anticipation soared
as band after band upon the listeners poured.
Their songs which blasted them to stardom and fame
nothing could compare, nothing's the same.
But Procol Harum's performance compared to few;
they were better than the rest, I knew
that no comparison would be right
at least the others put up a damned good fight!
They played again I pretended for me
their eerie classic rang out with a plea?
The piano pounded, the organ cried and wailed
the powerful song, A Whiter Shade of Pale.


I love that song, request it every night;
the radio plays it, I turn out the light.
All of Richmond hears it and I'm glad
to think of the experience I know they've had;
by concentrating on that song, as such,
through fantasy, reality they touch.

They quitted the stage; why did they have to leave?
Desperately I wished that I could heave
myself at their feet and cry aloud,
as do thunder, lightening and rain from a cloud.
"The Dalai Lama sent me to you
as a disciple and a sign, one who is true."
... reminds me of In Held 'Twas in I
the purpose of this song I'll not deny.
It's so simple, just look to your soul
and listen for whom the wedding bell shall toll.
In the future I hope to be carried
across the threshold of those who have married;
not from the usual church of the nation,
but from Richmond's Broadstreet train station.
It is large, majestic and stands proudly
here you could play your creative music loudly.

I won't marry for years five ... nine,
but I like things arranged ahead of time
like your music, ahead of time in waves,
I'd like to hear it on my wedding day.
By now you know exactly what I'm saying,
I'm desperately hoping, wishing, waiting, praying,
that Procol Harum will gladly reply "yes"
to a weird but not ridiculous request.
No invitations sent, no gifts given;
only one thing after which my heart has striven
don't think I've just stepped from the Whisky Train
my mind's in tune I'm just making it plain;
please Procol Harum, do this for me
One definite hang-up exists it is the fee
if you should be possessed to do it free,
naturally I'd scream from shock and glee.
I don't expect this to be done
I merely said the above all in fun.
Money is precious, but so is Procol Harum
I'll save my money in order to have a sum
which would pay for a job of this sort
asking you to sail from port to port.
Everyone in the world will be invited
no hard feelings, noone will feel slighted.
I've tried to show just what you mean to me
through Chaucer's style and ingenuity.
Even if for my wedding you don't play,
I'd really like to meet you perhaps some day ...


More Procol features

Read about the circumstances of Gary's signing this poem


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