It was one of those days from the ground rose a haze
That threatened to block out the sun.
From the East a hawk cries where the carrion flies,
‘Round the dying too finished to run.
The dust rose to swallow the town in the hollow,
No welcome to those who arrive.
With fences, pretenses, alarms and defenses `
Even the trees had no will to survive.
Many a man with revenge has a plan,
Hiding the guilt he’s hoping to shun.
Came the stranger in black, like a wolf to his pack,
Whose name was familiar to some.
He had left just a boy and came back a man
With scars from a time in his youth,
Anger and malice on his heart were a callous
That kept him from finding the truth.
Way down deep, was a grudge meant to keep
And held close to his heart like a gun.
From spurs to his swagger, he was sharp as a dagger,
Intending to finish a job yet undone.
With his horse and his weapon came no friend he could beckon,
Just the ghosts of a past that needed amends,
And he brought all the years that the hurt had to reckon
In a showdown marked up with the look of revenge.
But a grievance is something not quickly forgotten,
And without a pardon, it’s quick to revive.
And it claws to the surface with only one purpose:
The problem ain’t dead, it’s just buried alive.
Well, his spurs hit the ground with an ominous sound
When a gunshot rang out in the dell
The warning intended inevitably ended
The intent he had brought when he fell.
No one had planned a murder that day,
Just getting to dinner and maybe a show,
Who knew whose aim had waylaid that trigger
And who knew ignoring a grudge makes it grow.
When the last of the light had escaped from the sky,
The deed was all hushed up and done.
Curtains shut tight, and to anyone’s sight
The night had no worries, no dispute, no gun.
Now, remember that grievance not quickly forgotten?
You can’t bury a dead thing alive.
It will claw to the surface with only one purpose:
The hate may be buried but it’s gonna survive.
A year to the day had passed in a way
That left everyone broken and spent.
Then, they woke up one morning with a hawk screaming warning
Like a call from above – to repent.
Something was shifting that day and was lifting
The haze that was blocking the sun.
There were quarrels and tears and expressing of fears
As the journey to truth had begun.
There came one to another, sister and brother,
Recalling that day when their townsman came back.
A reckoning was made and the groundwork was laid
To remember the lesson of the man dressed in black.
Yes, times were a’changing and thoughts rearranging,
And new friendships were starting to grow.
Folks were converging and talking and urging,
Reviving the stories from a long time ago.
So an epitaph was set on that tomb and was etched
At the gates of the town, on a gunmetal seal.
And the story was told by the young and the old,
“There’s no grievance or truth that forgiveness can’t heal”.
You still hear the hawk cry where the carrion fly,
Who circle the weak that can’t run.
But when folks start connecting, the strong start protecting,
And the way of new hope has begun.
You gotta revive those dead things alive
Still buried down deep in your soul.
Cause the hurt not forgiven,
Is a nail that’s been driven
In your heart ’til it hardens to coal.
You can’t bury a dead thing alive,
No matter what story or lie has been spun.
It’ll claw to the surface with only one purpose:
Dead won’t stay dead – ’till it’s dealt with and done.