A short stay in longevity

by Simon Beavis

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This collection of 18 original songs, tunes and poems, described by one listener as “an epic exploration of the everyday”, deals with love, loss, regret and finding peace, the resonance of small events and the importance of living in the present. It was originally released as part album, part poetry book in a beautifully designed limited edition hard back pamphlet, with words offset by the atmospheric photographs of Alida Bea - many featured here. 80% of the proceeds from the album are going to support the international charity, Children in Crisis, and copies of the limited edition pamphlet are still available at www.ashortstay.co.uk. Thank you for listening.


released May 25, 2013


Simon Beavis: vocals and spoken word, Spanish, tenor and bass guitars, baritone ukulele, accordion, piano, and keyboards.
Andy Bell: flute on Maps.
Theseus Gerard: body percussion, cymbal and Tibetan bell on Maps.
Tony Hobden: 12-string on Maps and Amsterdam.
Dave Loach: Bass on Gaby’s, Maps and Amsterdam and backing vocals.
Rob Lowry: acoustic guitar and dobro on Later, electric guitar on Bygones.
Penny Marler: Mandolin and vocals on Maps and Amsterdam; vocals on Gaby’s and Breath.
Nodd McDonagh: bass on Later and Bygones.

Music and words by Simon Beavis.
Maps and Amsterdam are remastered songs that first appeared on the in cahoots album, Newtimber.
Recording, mixing and mastering by Paul Pascoe at Church Road Studios in Hove.
Photography by Alida Bea – www.beazneaz.blogspot.co.uk
Website design by Harry Hodge.
Printing and artwork by GP – generationpress.co.uk.


all rights reserved



Simon Beavis Brighton, UK

Simon Beavis is a writer and musician based in Sussex in the UK. This is his first solo album, bringing together songs, tunes and poems written over 15 years. He has also written songs for two albums by the acoustic roots band, in cahoots.

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Track Name: Tobogganing
1. Tobogganing

She is going away from him
Skimming down the hill on a blue toboggan
Snow sprays over her shoulders

She is going away from him
Caught in the magic wonder of the ride

She is going away from him
In a blaze of cold sunshine
The snow smells smoky; frost bites her eyes

She is going away from him
And he watches her going down the hill
Until she is too far away to call to
Track Name: Gaby's song
2. Gaby’s song

And now the first fat sleepy bees
Are sipping blossoms
In the sunshine and the breeze

And lazy planes chalk-mark their way
Across this blue and golden day

She rides a red bike with a basket on
Carries flowers, wears a hat
And freewheels in the sun

He’s held in stillness as she hurries by
Caught by the shadows and the laughter in her eyes

And Gaby is this what you mean
The metal days will turn to green
And suddenly the light will shift
And you will feel your spirit lift
I see it now; now I see

The sea goes silver as the big moon climbs
And last birds scatter
Over the deep Spring tide

Long days come and long days fly
But night still throws so many stars into the sky

And Gaby is this what you mean
The truth may not always be seen
And though the days will surely race
The truth will one day find its place

I see it now; now I see
Track Name: She fears the loss of love
3. She fears the loss of love

The rain is inconsolable
It will not stop lamenting
Lamenting into
These great broad fields of scrub
Where wheat was crudely cut
And bundled into bales
And the clouds, the low skies
Will not stop their brushing at me
Will not stop their rushing at me
Will not stop their raining
Track Name: Geese
7. Geese

Did you hear the geese going over?
Did you hear their quirky claxon shouts,
And their wings creaking, as they travelled out?
They were so low, so close.

It was a soft September morning
All watery sunlight on the willow
And there was a breeze
Which seem to make the day billow like a piece of cloth.

The world was in reverse
The cars were a distant sound
And all around the leaves were only swaying
But were louder – they were so close.

And the chuckling geese were flying
In a perfect V of twenty-two or twenty-three
Over the station, up to the park
And they laughed away the dark in my heart.
Track Name: Maps
8. Maps

A fine wing tilting on the wind
A flash of white out in the blue
She is the wanderer
Carefree follower
Of thunder clouds and the lift and fall
Of all her dreams

He is the traveller
Cautious master
Of high ground, horizons
And the biggest seas
Measuring days out in contour lines
Isobars and the rhythm of the waves

Each breath she drew
An act of faith in winning through
She flew but took no heed
Of the landing places she might need

He craved the certainty of maps
And all the things they let you know
But never thought enough about
The things that maps can never show

She takes the photograph down from the shelf
Captures the distance between themselves
He finds it later broken on the floor
Collects the pieces, shuts the door.
Track Name: Lost
9. Lost

I am feeling lost
Don’t know what to say
Don’t know where to look
To find my way
Want the sky to clear
Just want to feel new
But my broken heart
Is cut in two.

Once it seemed
You and me
Together we would be
But the love
Just leaked away
You go
I stay.

Gonna take this boat
Gonna sail away
Won’t be coming back
For many’s a day
Want to feel the wind
And the ocean spray
Won’t be coming back
Till I’ve found my way.
Track Name: In Aix
10. In Aix

In the city of fountains
You stopped on the hill
In a purple shadow, and said:
I play with paint
Like the men in the bistro
Play with cards –
Sometimes I win
Sometimes I lose.

We drank coffee by the Hotel de Ville
You were shy and precise
At four, you adjusted your clock
And went back to watching the sky
The light in the leaves was never still
Your eyes seemed to ask
Where does distance begin and end?
And I knew the yes and the no
Had cut you in two.

But later you became tranquil
You placed the fruit bowl by the window
Took an apple
And rubbed with your thumb
At the speckled skin
With this, you said,
I can say everything
It is enough.
Track Name: Hide and seek
12. Hide and seek

Tea over, we played a game of hide and seek
And I ran to the red room at the back
The one we never went to much as kids
The one that they insisted was kept black
With big thick curtains always drawn
To stop the sunshine bleaching mother’s baby grand.
And there I steeled myself and hid
The bright side of the deep red drapes
Hoping I would soon be found
Among the folds of soundless velvet.
It took an age before the door
Pushed open and then shut again
And someone turned a low lamp on.
I heard my father say – come here
And the woman that we always called Aunt Is
Replied, half with that lovely chuckle that she had:
Are you sure it's safe in here, my darling?
And he said: Just be still, my love.
The breath all tight around my heart
I pulled the curtain back the smallest bit
To see him fumble with the buttons of her shirt
And saw her tilt her long neck back
And fan the corners of her skirt
As dancers sometimes do.
Such was the mist of heat and blood across my eyes
I can’t recall what happened then
Except they heard the children rattle at the door
Before I did and nonchalantly they hid
All signs of love and passion. Hello there, my father said,
She’s not in here! Let’s try the garden and the shed -
And hurried out with them, leaving the red room black again.
At bedtime, with the story read, my sister asked my father:
What were you doing with Aunt Is this afternoon?
And mother, standing at the window, said:
So many questions, kids, so many questions
When it’s time for bed! And drew the curtains on the moon.
Track Name: Amsterdam
13. Amsterdam

I left you in a shower of rain
Heading home on the evening train
Will I ever know love like that again?
Oh Amsterdam

Got the music of bicycles in my ears
I’ve been on the run all these years
One day I’ll stop and face my fears
Oh Amsterdam

You waved goodbye and blew me a kiss
I knew right away all the things I’d miss
The agony of just touching bliss
Oh Amsterdam

Now I glimpse you in shadows in the park
The sun on the water, the lights in the dark
Maybe somehow I left my mark
On you Amsterdam

And home lies over the cold North Sea
There’s nothing much left here for me
At least I loved, at least I was free,
In Amsterdam
Track Name: She sat on a train
14 She sat on a train

Watching the dance of travellers
On the station concourse
Seeing the greetings and the farewells
Some kisses cold
Others faint as a powder brush
And some a crush, a crescendo
Of joy, or imminent loss
So many tones of taking
Giving, holding on or letting go
The people clicking in and out of view
Like the names of distant cities
On the arrivals and departures board
That she knew but would not travel to.

And later, with rain falling like rivets,
Straight and grey,
She watched fields and woods,
Odd isolated homes, farms,
Villages and country towns
Flash past the streaming windows of the train
And knew her heart was getting ready
To be alone again.
Track Name: Unquiet
16. Unquiet

In the sea mist
Strong hills hush
Soften and go silent
The wind lies down
On the glassy bay
And sleek boats slacken
On their oily chains.
Often a darting seabird calls
Shrieks not of laughter
Not of pain
Which seek but find no echo
In the black hill’s bracken
Nor on the grey stone lane.
It is the purple evening
That time when unquiet minds
Lie still and say
This bright day is done
And watch a hundred tattered crows
Start flocking into the wet woods
To wait for night.
Track Name: Red and gold
17. Red and gold

The first street lights are coming on
It’s only five and the day’s just gone
Rain is tipping down
Splashing in puddles on the ground around me
Winter’s coming on
And there’s a breeze,
Blowing though the trees
It’s shaking down
All the last leaves
What is it telling me?

It says Autumn is your time of year
It’s the time when we first got near
I remember walking on frosty nights
Under the moon and the orange street lights
Shadows kissing on the wall
The fear and the sadness growing small
There’s no need to feel cold
Can’t you see – we’re going, we’re going red and gold.

The kids coming back to school
With their bags and their crayons
And their brand new shoes
Kicking through the leaves in the park
Watching the river till it gets dark
Strolling down to the sea
Get on a train to the west country
There’s no need to feel old
Can’t you see – we’re going, we’re going red and gold.

I am a cave you are the sea
Rolling into me

Met a man once he said to me
Open your eyes it’s amazing what you can see
Come on open up your heart too
It’s amazing what you can be.
When I think about what he said
I know one thing is true
All this going gold and red
I couldn’t have done it without you.

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