On Susan’s Floor

It’s been far too long since I posted one of these. This is a cover of “On Susan’s Floor” from Gordon Lightfoot’s 1972 album Don Quixote. It’s one of only a handful of songs on Lightfoot’s albums not written by Gord himself. This is actually the work of the American poet Shell Silverstein, best known for his book Where the Sidewalk Ends. Silverstein seems to have dabbled in songwriting during the late ’60s. I’ve heard a handful of his tunes and they’re all good, but this one is a personal favorite. I’ve been playing it for more than fifteen years, going back to my days playing open mic nights in Oklahoma City, but I feel like I’ve only started to get the feel of the song down just right in the last couple of years.

Like crippled ships that made it
Through a storm and finally reached a quiet shore
The homeless found a home on Susan’s floor

Didn’t feel so cold and tired
Stretched out before her fire
Rolling smokes and drinking up her wine
And I remember candlelight
And singing ’til we could not sing no more.
And falling warm asleep on Susan’s floor.

Now that my song is sweeter
I think I’d like to greet her
To thank her for the favors that she gave
When a stranger I came
My head bowed in the rain to her door
I sat and sang my songs on Susan’s floor

In the morning I’d go off
Buying kingdoms with my songs
Knowing I’d be back in just awhile
Warm in the sunlight of her smile

Now lots of time and songs have passed
I catch myself just looking back
Reliving all the wonders of those nights
That’s where I’d be today
If I had only stayed one night more
And sang another song on Susan’s floor.


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  1. Many of us baby boomers remember Silverstein chiefly for the songs of Dr. Hook.

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