I saw you there beneath the porch light,
A winter storm was raging bad.
Across your back there lay a banjo,
Seemed like the only thing you had.
You shook your coat, the snow like feathers,
You tried to keep them from my floor.
My daddy said, “play me a sweet song,
My wife has passed, she is no more.”
One night by the fireplace, that’s all you asked for.
One night by the fireplace to keep you from the wind.
One night by the fireplace you traded for a sweet song
My daddy begs to bring you back again.
The room was still, your voice rang through it,
It filled the hollows like it had wings.
Your calloused hands were strong and steady,
Your fingers danced upon the strings.
As I recall your eyes were gentle,
The very color has slipped my mind…
I’d like to say like leaves of autumn,
I only know your eyes were kind.
Your hat was worn, your coat was ragged,
Least that’s the way I recollect.
If I had had a carpet needle
I would have sewn them as you slept.
My father soon will join my mama,
Don’t know your name, please understand…
It’s not for me, it’s for my daddy,
He longs to hear “that banjo man.”
I ventured down and asked the townsfolk
If they had seen you in these parts.
I told them of the song you fashioned,
The way the tune could melt a heart
Another winter has come a calling…
I push the curtain and try to see
If you are there in snow and shadow
You must believe it’s not for me.
Last Chorus: (banjo man’s voice)
One night by the fireplace, that’s what she gave me
One night by the fireplace to keep me from the wind
One night by the fireplace she traded for a sweet song
These boots are heading back her way again…