Archive for April 10th, 2022



Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there!
He wasn’t there again today,
Oh how I wish he’d go away!

When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away….

-William Hughes Mearns, 1899

The poem above is said to be about ghost that haunted a home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia back int he 1890’s. It is sometimes cited as at least a partial inspiration for the 1970 Davd Bowie song, The Man Who Sold the World. You can see bits of the influence in the first stanza of the song’s lyrics:

We passed upon the stair
We spoke of was and when
Although I wasn’t there
He said I was his friend
Which came as a surprise
I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone
A long long time ago

The song is also said to be about Bowie’s internal conflict about how much of himself he was willing to bare in order to sell his music. It’s a question every artist in any creative field has to face and answer for themselves.

These things, his personal thoughts and feelings, Bowie saw as his world and his willingness to sell it all for money sometimes seemed a bridge too far.

After all, if you sell the world, where do you live?

When I hear the song, I often think of a different meaning for it, one that doesn’t really match the lyrics. It always makes me think of the ultra-wealthy and powerful who are so willing to trade the lives and homelands of others for their own gains, to satisfy their own thirst for acquisition.

More, more, more…

We see it time and time again. Those who are willing to sell the world are the source of most of the problems in this world now and through the ages. You see it in Putin’s War in Ukraine. You see it here in the States in the willingness of one party to throw aside all principles and morals, abandoning democracy to regain power.

So many willing to sell the world.

But again, if you sell the world, where do you live?

Here’s the song for this week’s Sunday Morning Music.

Now get off my lawn.

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