"The Secret Language of Birds"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

J-Tull Dot Com (1999), The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

This sparkling wine is all but empty
Too late for trains and no taxis
I knew the feeling, seems all too contrived
There was no master plan but th fact is
You must stay with me and learn
The secret language of birds
A tentative dawn about to be breaking
On a Rousseau garden with monkeys in hiding
The truth of the matter, yet to be spoken
In words on which everything
Everything's riding
Now stay with me and learn
The secret language of birds
Circled by swallows in a world for the weary
Courted by warblers
Wicked and eloquent trilling
Lie in the stillness, window cracked open
Extended moments, hours for the taking
Careless hair on the pillow, a bold brushstroke
Painted verse with a chorus in waiting
Stay with me and learn
The secret language of birds

"The Little Flower Girl"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

Down at the church the flower girl sits
Legs innocent, apart
I make the picture puzzle fit to start your heart
Painted sister stopped beside
A word upon her saintly lip
Perhaps admonishing the child
Inside the open slip
I don't know where she might go
When she runs home at night
It's for the best
I wouldn't rest when I turned out the light
No little flower girl singing
In my troubled dream
Just an old man's model
In a pose from a magazine
I have touched that face a dozen times before
And I have let my pencil run
Laid down washes on a foreign shore
Under a hot and foreign sun
My best sable brushes
Drift the soft inside of her arm
Her chin I tilt, her breats I lift, I mean no harm
I close the door, she is no more
Until the next appointed hour
Northeastern light push back the night
Painted promises in store
No little flower girl singing in my troubled dream
Just an old man's model
In a pose from a magazine
Down at the church the flower girl sits
Legs innocent, apart
I make the picture puzzle fit to start your heart
My golden sable brushes drift
The soft inside of her arm
Her chin I tilt, her breats I lift
I mean no harm
I mean no harm, I mean...

"Montserrat"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

Fires on the mountain, and the dogs bark
Crash of the ocean swelling
Crickets in the dark
The temperature is rising
The village gets no sleep
It's hardly surprising
Given the hot company they keep
Somebody's home in the ash-fall margins
Somebody's life in the lost and found
Breaking news from the hotel Vue Pointe
Sinking feeling, sink another beer down
Hey, Jimmy, what you doing here?
Looking up at the high cloud cover
So far and yet so near
Flying in with the chopper
Lieutenant of the crown
Tell the boys from that CNN
The good cops have come to town
Angry island, no-one's listening
Shamrock villa, green to grey
Down in the swamp, iguanas glistening
Toast tomorrow, if not, today
In the shadow of the Souffriere
Under Chance's Peak
Did the earth move for you honey?
Well, come back next week
Queen and country forsaken you?
Now, that is that, see
The governor is leaving in his Sunday hat
Angry island, no-one's listening
Shamrock villa, green to grey
Down in the swamp, iguanas glistening
Toast tomorrow, if not, today
Hey, Jimmy, what you doing here?
You a scientist? You a newsman?
Or simply come to feel the fear?
The temperature is rising
And we're in too deep
There really is no point in disguising
The hot company we keep

"Postcard Day"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

My eyes are in white circles
Above cheekbones on fire
Pale hand gripping my pen
Rounding up to the zero
Adding infinite fractions
Letting nine become ten
Two pink doves strut the shingles
Picking crumbs from the breakfast I saved
For you dear, and I wish you were here
On the postcard day
Focus on the fine indeterminate line
Where the sky meets the sea
Desperate midweek words, banal and absurd
Freely flow out to me
Well, I may be a hostage to summer
But I'm a hostage, not a slave
And I'm clear that I wish you were here
On this postcard day
Precious cargo of flotsam
Mixed memories on an ocean tide
Swim madly with spice from the orient
On a mystery watery carpet ride
But, with the sun going down
The wind goes around
Blows them back out of mind
My eyes are white circles
Staring down past the point
Of my restless pen
While the ghosts of my youth
All sworn to the truth, call my name again
Two brown legs don't make a summer
But two brown arms couldn't keep me away
Well, my dear, I wish you were here
On this postcard day

"The Water Carrier"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006), The Best of Acoustic Jethro Tull (2007)

Crystal fountain springing from the hill
It irrigates your soul, you may drink your fill
Water of life, carried high
One hand upon the gallon jar
Feel her fix my eye
Every good traveller's for the taking
All good money for the making
Seller's market, wet appeal
Water carrier, let's make the deal
Covered face and black pool eyes, between us
No words spoken, no words to the wise
Here's to another time and a drink somewhere
Plush on a Nain carpet, on a cafe chair

"Set-Aside"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

Hard black crows bobbing
Where once ran deep furrows
Frazzled oak silhouetteed in her ivy dress
Winter sun catches dog
Fox through thin hedges
Throws his long shadow north to the emptiness
Farmhouse in tatters, shuttered and battered
Even lovers don't go there these last few years
Spider-web windows on set-aside heroes
Standing lost in a landscape of tears

"A Better Moon"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

I see you better now, shaded in deeper blue
Hardly needing to carry the find-you-way lamp
Down to the river, tonight flies a better moon
Sad water buffalo lie fast near the shallows
A splash revealing the fly catching fishes
Dark Gods silently watching
Tonight flies a better moon
I guess you've known lovers here
Compliant in passion
Softly laid in the old reed bed
Harshly lit in the noon sun
Tonight flies a better moon
Now cloaked in this milky light
New as the virgin dawn
Shrouded sweetly in all kinds of mystery
You turn, smile and then are gone
Tonight flies a better moon

"Sanctuary"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

Dear uncle sold her into
The purest kind of slavery
Hood-eyed little middlemen profited
From damaged goods along the way
Good angels brought her back
To a last Nepal summer
Debased, hollow-faced
A smile might become her
Now she's coised up
Coised up and comforted
In the warm flush of September
Gone before winter
Wondering as to might-have-beens
Somebody's daughter in sanctuary, waiting
Seen through softer cage of kindness
Far and further still away
From time-warp Victorian zoos
Where staring ice cream gameboys play
Big paws, worn claws and swishing tails
More damaged goods in the market sales
Too proud for anger, too late for hate
Resigned in dignity
Gone before winter, purring might-have-beens
Somebody's kitten in sanctuary, waiting
Somebody near you in sanctuary, waiting

"The Jasmine Corridor"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

In all my life, I never knew
A girl like you before, woke up one day
Swore I heard the sound
Of heaven knocking on my door
And after all these years
Long passing, time to reflect
No time for wasting
Walking down the jasmine corridor
Reflecting echoes of quiet laughter
In all my life, I was never better served
Than I was served by you
And in my way, hope you agree
I tried to serve you too
Out on the headland I stepped once unsteady
You there to catch me
I breathe more freely
Hand in mine down the jasmine corridor
Through all my life
I chased flitting illusions at a faster pace
Never stopped to think
The moment was for seizing
Had myself to face
You made my bed to lie in
Stately, mad cats, grandchildren
Here more often lately
The final view from the jasmine corridor

"The Habanero Reel"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), Living With The Past (2002), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

Cool in the corner, tom cat sitting
On the edge of the yard, sand-flies flitting
Orange order on a field of green
Smother me to smithereens
Rum and cola, ice cubes crashing
Jumping beans and brown eyes flashing
Long hair swinging, tell me how'd you feel?
Well, hot and fancy, it's the habanero reel
Troubled skin? Pour oil upon it
She's fit to burn in her new Scotch bonnet
Spice up anybody's stew
Frogs and goats and chickens too
Barefoot in the sunshine
Kicking empty beer cans
Down on the high tide line
Big wave nearly float your dress away
And I'm thinking that it's just another day
Just another day
Feel that hot rush start its tickle
Sweat is rising, taste buds prickle
With ears of bat and eye of eagle
It's just as well it's strictly legal

"Panama Freighter"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

Night close in on a shanty town
Panama freighter wearing rusty brown
She sails tomorrow and she's homeward bound
Had up on a jumpy sea
I'm not the only lonely planet rider
In this one horse town
I'm thinking, and I won't
Over-rate or patronize you
I know we're different as chalk and cheese
As black hole winters and salad days
And I wouldn't like your mother much anyway
But it's not her I'm taking home with me
Don't intend to dress you in silver threads
Like some trophy in sublime seclusion
Won't try to educate or civilize you
Night close in on a shanty town
Panama freighter wearing rusty brown
She sails tomorrow and she's homeward bound
And you're bound to come home with me
On the Panama freighter with me

"The Secret Language of Birds II"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

No buzz words, fuzzy fudge words
So freeze those goalposts
Don't take the Admiral on board
This Hardy's not for kissing, expression
No explosion, or whispered promises
In cliche or in rhyme
Instead let's talk
The secret language of birds
Right time but wrong idea, well
You're making it all sound just the same
Try taking it up a key like that Nightingale
Still over there in Barkley Square
Do we have problems of communication?
There's something I don't know
And you can't explain it to me
Let's talk the secret language of birds
Step out of the circus now
Learn a new trick and make it stick
Try taking it up a key like that Nightingale
Still over there in Barkley Square
Finger tracing on misty window
I'm reading loud and clear
This salacious semaphore
As you leave me standing at the station
Give it to me, the big dawn chorus
No whispered promises in cliche or in rhyme
Let's talk the secret language of birds
Right time but wrong idea, well
You're making it all sound just the same
Try taking it up a key like that Nightingale
Still over there in Barkley Square

"Boris Dancing" (Instrumental)
music by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), Ian Anderson Plays The Orchestral Jethro Tull (2005), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

"Circular Breathing"
music and lyrics by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)

Pick up my wings and fly into a Constable sky
Look down on the world and try
To make you out on the distant ground
Lonely toy in a lost-toy town
Suspended in spiral sounds
Sounds of circular breathing
I'm a kite on a silver thread
Daring lightning to strike me dead
Harsh echoes of things you said
Banished me to a thinner space
With unholy ghosts of your bedroom face
Hands cupped to my ears to place
The sound of circular breathing
Matchbox cityscape below
I watch Lowry matchstick figures go
Caught in the timeless flow
Of discreet silence

"The Stormont Shuffle" (Instrumental)
music by Ian Anderson

The Secret Language of Birds (2000), The Ian Anderson Collection (2006)