Walt Whitman’s Niece

Last night or night before that,
I won't say which night
A seaman friend of mine,
I'll not say which seaman,
Walked up to a big old building,
I won't say which building,
And would not have walked up the stairs,
not to say which stairs,
If there had not have been two girls,
leaving out the names of those two girls.

And I recall a door, a big long room,
I'll not tell which room,
I remember a deep blue rug,
but I can't say which rug.
A girl took down a book of poems,
not to say which book of poems,
And as she read I laid my head,
and I can't tell which head,
Down in her lap, and I can mention which lap

My seaman buddy and girl moved off
after a couple of pages and there I was,
All night long, laying and listening
and forgetting the poems.
And as well as I could recall,
or my seaman buddy could recollect,
My girl had told us that she was a niece
of Walt Whitman, but not which niece,
And it takes a night and a girl
and a book of this kind
A long long time to find its way back

Published by Woody Guthrie Publications, Inc. [BMI]/BMG Songs [ASCAP]

Words: Woody Guthrie 1946
Music: Billy Bragg 1997
Jay Bennett: piano, clavinet, Farfisa organ, drums
Billy Bragg: acoustic guitar, lead vocal
Ken Coomer: drums and percussion
John Stirratt: acoustic bass
Jeff Tweedy: electric guitar, harmonica
Wilco plus Jonathan “JP” Parker: answering vocals

Played Live On

Chicago, IL - Lounge Ax