The listless feather drifts upon the wind
Casts a wounded refuge from the nights severed wing,
Down, down, tumbling down,
Unto your hand she lies,
To kiss the blessed skin and then to die
In the morning when I rise

The silence of dawn is broken by a new child's cry
A young girl slowly smiles as the sun breaks the sky
I find myself sinking into her gentle eyes
And my blood flows so wild
Through the rivers of her mind,
In the morning when I rise

A morning star glows with kindness
As she brings the child down by the sea
To be christened
Amidst the onrushing tide
Tiny crystals of salt water
Trickle down the new born face
And I stand beside her
And taste the sweetened taste
Of a love we had one young sea morning

Twisted roots of a torn oak tree
Bend and wind together as you and me
Then break upon the earth
Molded tightly into one to receive [sic]
The honeyed kisses of the golden sun
Remember when we were young

Remember when we were young
When we were young
Through the park we would run
When we were young
Just to sit and watch the day
When we were young
Just in time to maybe catch the circus parade
When we were young

Come into my circus tent
See the lions and elephants
watch the silly clowns at play
Come at night and stay all day

See the lion tamer crack the sky
With the tip of his lash
Wach [sic] the man on the flying trapeze
As he swings so gracefully undaunted

Standing in an open doorway
Hands reaching out to touch the rain
Forever, that have been weary
Now begin to change
Knowing things shall never be the same
Tainted blue coolness of a misty night
As we stood under the sheltering tree
Everything seemed so right
With your smile
I became lost in love and life

And within the heart of a grandfather clock
Gray heired [sic] children sease [sic] to sing
The worn out roking [sic] chair
And the raven flys [sic] for the morning so tired

We sat with dreams of the sun
When we were young we sang the songs
That had to be sung when we were young
We did the things that had to be done
When we were young
Worked and loved together as one when we were one
Remember when we were young

Page last updated: 18 Aug 2010


LOVE CYCLE is an early Bruce Springsteen poem most probably dating from the same period as the two poems he submitted to the literary magazine of Ocean County College, MY LADY and SEASCAPE. The submissions for that magazine had to be in by early Dec 1968. It was published in late January 1969 when the students returned for the start of the 2nd semester. There was another, identical print run of the magazine in Apr or May 1969.

The opening three words for LOVE CYCLE, "The Listless feather", were also the opening words for MY LADY.

Apparntly, when Bruce finished writing the initially "2-page" poem, and when he was revising it (most probably the same day, or same hour), he thougt about expanding the "circus" theme that appears in the second stanza in the second page ("...catch the circus parade..."). He draws a line (see scans below) to seperate that stanza from the one after ("We sat with dreams..."), as to indicate that new stanzas will be inserted here between these two. This means that the third page comes before the "We sat with dreams..." stanza, which closes the poem. The arrangement of the poem would then be:
1- Page 1
2- Page 2, till the horizontal line
3- Page 3
4- Last stanza of page 2 ("We sat with dreams...")
The lyrics above follow that order.

It should be noted that the It's Only Rock 'N Roll notes (see section below) erroneously state that "The final verse of the three-page poem contains lyrics that Springsteen would later use for his 1969 Child-Steel Mill song, Resurrection".

[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce scan]
[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce scan]
[Click thumbnail to enlarge/reduce scan]

1968 Lyrics Notebook

Thanks to the It's Only Rock 'N Roll online auction that was held in June 2006, a handful of Springsteen handwritten lyrics sheets and setlists saw the light for the first time. The highlight of the auction was a Bruce Springsteen spiral notebook of never before published collection of 20 handwritten lyrics from 1968:

  1. CLOUDS [2 pages]
  2. CRYSTAL [2 pages]
  3. THE WAR SONG [2 pages]
  4. THE WINDOW [2 pages]
  6. THE VIRGIN FLOWER [3 pages]
  7. FOR NEVER ASKING [3 pages]
  8. UPON THIS DAY (EURYDICE) [2 pages]
  9. UNTIL THE RAIN COMES [3 pages]
  11. DEATH OF A GOOD MAN [2 pages]
  12. ALONE [2 pages, lyrics by Norman Luck]
  13. NEW YORK MORNING LOVE [2 pages]
  14. SLUM SENTIMENTS [2 pages]
  15. SUNLINE [2 pages]
  16. MISSISSIPPI [2 pages]
  17. untitled [1 page]
  18. LOVE CYCLE [3 pages]
  19. THE WIND AND THE RAIN [2 pages]
  20. untitled [1 page]

The first page of the notebook is a "contents page" listing the first 15 songs.

Songs #1 to #4 were transcribed on 26 Apr 1968. Songs #5 to #7 were transcribed on 29 Apr 1968. Songs #8 to #11 were transcribed on 30 Apr 1968. These songs (#1 to #11) appear to have been transcribed into the notebook in a tidy fashion in three batches over a five day period. Same pen and writing style. These are likely to represent writings that Bruce had accumulated over some time in late 1967 or early 1968, and then shifted into the newly purchased writing notebook.

There is no transcription date noted for songs #12 to #15. The writing style is more rushed and multiple pens have been utilized (both on the individual songs and in the "Contents Page" listing). These 4 songs may have been transcribed at separate times into the notebook over a more scattered timeframe after April 1968 (perhaps summer or fall 1968).

Items #16 to #20 are undated and show much more "work-in-progress" characteristics. Various pens were used. These are likely to date from fall 1968 to late 1968 to possibly (in the case of #19 and #20) the early months of 1969.

It certainly appears that the notebook (in total) has Springsteen writings spanning the entire year of 1968.

Song #17 seems to be too short to be a completed song, and is most probably just a work-in-progress idea. Lyrics are (see scan here):

Jesus Mary and Joseph
Can you help a lost sheep please
Won't you show me the way
Cause I got more confused each day and
I got calluses on my knees

Song #20: This appears to be merely an "lyrics ideas" sheet, with no song really formulated yet (see scan here). The first two paragraphs are in completely different ink than the final (longer paragraph). The first two paragraphs seem to have been written at the same time and seem to relate to each other. The final (longer paragraph) seems unrelated to the first two, and contains lyrics from the 1969 Child's song RESURRECTION.

Several of the first 15 song titles, or slight variations of the titles, (particularly those from the first batch of 11 titles in the book) have been known about (in vague terms) for many years via the recollections of some people who actually saw Springsteen play solo at the time - including unpublished interview comments by the late Curt Fluhr (of the Castiles).

Jeannie Clark, who performed solo shows with Bruce at the Off Broadstreet Coffee House in Red Bank, NJ, in mid 1968 (she even performed once at the time with The Castiles in place of vocalist Paul Popkin), recalled several of the song titles years ago and has recalled that Bruce had a repertoire of about 10-20 self-penned songs at the time. But nobody had ever seen any setlist or lyrics or audio to back up Jeannie's (or others') memory. For this reason, this notebook is such an important historical find.

Norman Luck, co-writer of ALONE, vaguely recalls some of the other song titles in the notebook, and recalls them as being from the late 1967 to spring 1968 period.

According to Brucebase, the first 15 of the above songs were performed in May 1968 at The Off Broad Street Coffee House in Red Bank, NJ, which opened in May 1968 to cater for the acoustic orientated, singer/songwriter music scene then taking hold in the area. The club provided "open mike and hoot nights" for aspiring young songwriters to perform. Springsteen was among the first to take advantage of the opportunity and is known to have given at least two solo performances in May and several others during the summer. These performances included an impressive array of folk-orientated songs Bruce had written in recent months - material that didn't fit into the rock setlists performed by The Castiles. The above-mentioned 15 songs (all Springsteen originals) represent most of his original solo-oriented music repertoire played at these shows during May-Aug 1968. One of these songs, ALONE, was co-written by Springsteen and Norman Luck (leader of the band Purpul Dyneste). The Springsteen songwriting style of this mid 1968 period bears similarities to the lyricism displayed in his 1972 solo demos and was strongly influenced by Tim Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Donovan and Dylan - and these four artists songs were often intermingled with Springsteen's originals during the solo shows.

For additional information, read the notes about this item as published on the It's Only Rock 'N Roll auction page (note that there are some minor mistakes/inaccuracies).

The bid on this notebook started at $5,000.00, and reached $57,706.61. The auction also included many other lyrics sheets and setlists from the late '60s or early '70s, which included additional songs, most of which were also unheard-of: WE'VE GOT TO DO IT NOW, SOME TIMES AT NIGHT, IF YOU WANT TO GET HIGH, OH NO NO NO, SPANISH DREAMS, GYPSY RIDER, SHE'S GOT THE LORD, and others... We don't know if all of these songs are original compositions or covers.

The collector who purchased the notebook in the late 1980's never gave out any information about it. So we are lucky this was a public auction sale, or else we may have never seen the contents.


Thanks Audio2575 for transcribing these lyrics.


If you have any corrections or additional info, please contact me via the below form or by email: . If you own or have access to the above-mentioned spiral notebook, I would be very grateful if you'd send me higher resolution scans. You will be credited (unless you prefer not to). Thanks in advance.

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