Covid Confessions Of A One-Legged Pedal Steel Player
For countless millennia, the Earth has turned on its axis and circled the sun, bringing days, nights, and seasons to our oxygen-fueled world. We build our lives, and they’re built for us, passing the days lulled into the fantasy that—unless we’re living in the path of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, or floods—things will keep going on as, in our memory, they always have. We have a feeling for what catastrophes we might encounter. So, when something massive and all-encompassing like a plague comes upon us, as it zeroes in on continents, nations, neighborhoods, and our individual lives, we feel helpless. For this catastrophe, we each have our own stories.
The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic started for me on March 9th driving home from Quebec City, the last gig on a week-long Canadian tour. Driving back to our home in Baltimore, my husband, David, and I spent the night in Connecticut. Then, while driving through New York, we heard on the radio that New Rochelle was experiencing a sudden upsurge in Covid-19 cases, a hot spot (new word), and was in lockdown. The highway going through New Rochelle was blocked, probably unrelated, but to us it felt ominous. We arrived home late in the afternoon of March 9th.
On the morning of March 10th, it was sunny and unseasonably warm. The world seemed oddly different. Like some sort of dystopian movie, an invisible, silent, and potentially fatal “something” had permeated our lives outside the home. Stay away from other people, don’t touch anything, use hand sanitizer, stock up on toilet paper. Most businesses were closed, and soon, out in the world, it was a landscape of masks everywhere, many of them, at the time, improvised. It felt a little like the Middle Ages—a plague. But wearing masks, homemade at first, and eventually more effective ones (at least in Baltimore City), we started to feel somewhat more safe going out into public places like supermarkets, even as people were dying all around us. That said, I doubt I was the only one having nightmares of being in a crowded room with maskless people.
My last performance outside of the home, which felt like a measured risk, was on March 15th in Takoma Park, Maryland where I played a live radio broadcast on station WOWD. No one had masks yet, but there was hand sanitizer everywhere. Everyone I met that day at the station (Montgomery County, Maryland had become a hot spot) seemed like they were in shock, and I must have seemed the same to them. It was in that building that I had my first elbow shake.
April was the month that it started to dawn on people that the pandemic was not going to be over anytime soon. Gigs and festivals booked for the summer months (when we were promised the virus would die from the heat, even though it seemed to do just fine inside the warm confines of the human body) were getting postponed, then later canceled, when it looked like it would last beyond the summer, and my husband and I, like most people I knew, were sort of huddling in their homes.
Streaming concerts started to be a thing, but they could not replace—for me at least—the human element. Sitting in your music space at home and playing to an empty room with a camera and maybe a couple of bright lights didn’t give you that warm and silent communion with others. You could only hope that someone would listen appreciatively on their phone or computer before they got bored and checked their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Still, it was something to do, and, though not for a live audience, it was different from just practicing.
May, June 2020
I thought, “Well, if this is going to last a while, and I won’t be able to play with other musicians or give concerts of my own music, it might be a good idea to use the time wisely by recording some music that I love but which is difficult for me, music that I wouldn’t otherwise have the time to delve into.” I can be a glutton for quixotic projects, so my feeling at the time was, “OK, let’s do an album of Olivier Messiaen tunes.” I felt that working on Messiaen’s music would offer me a sense of purpose and also of hope—something to constructively occupy myself for the few months left before the pandemic was over.
I began with his Louange à Éternité de Jésus, a fairly well-travelled piece from the Quartet for the End of Time, first performed in a German prisoner of war camp and scored for cello and piano, these instruments being two of the only four musical instruments—piano, cello, violin, and clarinet—available in the camp. This piece, with a different title, was originally written before the war, four years prior, for five ondes martenots. His tempo marking for the piece was infiniment lent, extatique, infinitely slow, ecstatic. I was hoping that the pedal steel, which has some vague similarities with the ondes martenot would perhaps convey the mystery and static ecstasy of this piece. It took some time, and the infiniment lent was more like a ballad than that glacial rough beast slouch toward Bethlehem, but in the end, I was happy with how it came out.
The next piece I embarked on, also from the Quartet for the End of Time, was Abîme des Oiseaux (Abyss of the Birds), a solo clarinet piece. I thought, “Well this should work. It’s written for one instrument, everything is in my range, and there are no large dissonant chords that could derail a project like this for the pedal steel guitar.” Transcribing it went well until I came to large sections of the piece where the pace quickened and each note was written with a reverse swell. Crescendos and decrescendos, in addition to its trademark glissandos, are a hallmark of the pedal steel guitar. Small and often imperceptible, these tiny adjustments to the volume are how the instrument breathes, and it is also how we keep note attacks from sounding harsh. When we play really fast, though, the volume pedal does not usually move for every note—just like a saxophonist does not usually take a breath between every note of Donna Lee—but it’s always there. To stay true to Messiaen’s conception of the piece, I played in the reverse swells as best I could. To do this, I had to keep moving my ankle up and down in rapid, minuscule motions. Little did I know that this was an extremely difficult piece, even for clarinetists, and I was soon to find out why.
After completing the transcription, I began to record using the constant foot movement the piece required. At some point toward the end of the piece, my ankle decided it had had enough, and I began having pain playing each note. I was able to complete the recording, but by June 24th, the date I finished, my right ankle was shot, and I had lost any semblance of musical control over it that I might have once had.
Perhaps because the pedal steel was not designed with this music in mind (though what instrument is), or perhaps because my ankle was 67 years old at the time and had been moving up and down like that for decades, I was ripe for some sort of injury. Or maybe it was just a repetitive-motion injury, the result of going one bridge too far in my musical quests. I was, of course, worried, so I made an appointment with my family doctor—a gifted and dedicated physician, amateur accordionist, and, oddly enough, fan of experimental and free jazz music—who referred me to an orthopedist who he called “the foot and ankle guy” for Baltimore. I called the orthopedist and made an appointment.
Three weeks later, I showed up for the visit with the orthopedist. He examined my ankle, gave me a cortisone shot and an ankle brace to wear, then told me that my ankle should be good to go for a streaming performance a week later, and that if I wore the ankle brace for a while, it would get better. I walked out of his office a happy woman; I’d be able to play again!
The ankle did improve enough for me to play the performance, but the pain was still there, and soon it returned to its former level. Through the web portal (an app which has mitigated actual conversation with a doctor), I again contacted the orthopedist, who prescribed an MRI. I waited three weeks until he had an opening, and walked in with the MRI CD. In a monotone voice, he told me that the two peroneal tendons in my right foot were torn and that one might be severed. He told me I would need surgery, possibly using cadaver tissue which has a higher rate of complications, followed by a cast with two weeks in bed, and then physical therapy. I would have to learn to walk again, and the healing time would be six months to a year. Nothing else, including physical therapy, would help. And I had to completely stop playing the pedal steel guitar. I was stunned, speechless.
As he got up to leave. I asked him if I could hold onto the MRI, to which he answered, “OK, but if you’re getting a second opinion, bring it back before the surgery.” (I hadn’t even thought about a second opinion.) Then he left.
I was taken aback by his lack of bedside manner and the casual severity of his diagnosis. But, due to the suddenness of the diagnosis, I was nervous and more than a little afraid. So, I made an appointment for an October surgery and talked briefly with his assistant who assured me he was the best surgeon in the area for this. I thought, “Of course she would say that, she’s his assistant,” (though, looking back, maybe she was right).
Around the same time, a close musician friend gave me the number of a physical therapist who had helped him with some joint-related problems and who had been the personal physical therapist for some well-known classical musicians. He had also been the personal (and touring) physical therapist for the legendary pianist, Leon Fleisher. So, I called him up. He told me he was retired, so he didn’t accept insurance, but he could do a session if I brought him a bottle of Talisker Storm Scotch Whisky. At the session, he explained to me that my orthopedist, whom he knew of, just wanted the money and that orthopedists see themselves as a hammer and everything as a nail. I went to him for three sessions (accompanied by three expensive visits to the liquor store), then began treatment with his protégé, who accepted insurance (in my case, Medicare), which lasted for about twelve weeks. Pain is a funny thing because it is so individual and subjective, and there are times that I think I fooled myself into thinking I was getting better, though in reality nothing had really improved.
I did two streaming gigs that month: one for Rhizome, a venerable DC venue, and one for the Option series out of Chicago where I improvised together with Macie Stewart and Tim Daisy, whom I had never met before. Here I was, playing and interacting on Twitch or Zoom with real human beings in real time; we could actually see each other while we were playing! We did a soundcheck the day before, and perhaps we all felt a little giddy, I know I did. We agreed to have a toast after we finished. If you look at the YouTube video of that session, you can see each of us gulping down a shot at the end.
Also during this time, I began to get together on a weekly basis with my friend and neighbor, Liz Downing, an improvising singer with an unfailing sense for harmony and pitch who plays the banjo arco style. After sitting and drinking iced tea on a hot summer day, we made music together, me on viola (which I play at more than play), with masks, on her porch, trying—not always successfully—to keep socially distanced while we played. I felt like this connection kept me sane. We continued playing together—improvising melodies and harmonies—into the fall, winter, and spring (whenever the weather was tolerable) and into the following summer.
In mid-August, another close friend and a podiatrist from out of state both suggested that I check out a world-renowned foot and ankle clinic located in a downtown Baltimore hospital, headed-up by a doctor known to other doctors as the “rock star orthopedist” because he handles the bone, muscle, and tendon foot and ankle issues of celebrity musicians. (Why did I not know about this before?) In fact, he was so good, everyone said, that the rock stars even invite him onstage at their concerts. But I was unable to get an appointment with him. My friends kept telling me to tell them who I was. But “Don’t you know who I am?” was a card I could not play; in fact I don’t even think I could have said it with a straight face, even if I was a rock star. “You’re turning me away? You don’t know who you’re dealing with . . . buster! This isn’t over.” I booked an appointment with one of the younger orthopedists at the clinic and waited three weeks.
The new orthopedist examined my foot, and we looked at the MRI together. I had a good feeling about this doctor. The surprisingly good news, he said, was that the MRI showed there was no damage to my peroneal tendons, my troubles were simply due to over-pronation: flat-footedness. He sold me a $50 pair of inserts and told me I’d be good to go. I asked if physical therapy would help, and he said it couldn’t hurt. He made an appointment to see me in three weeks. I remember what must have been a big grin on my face as I walked out of the hospital. It’s not that bad after all! There’s hope.
Also in September, I was invited to perform for an online streaming version of Baltimore’s popular High Zero Festival, a festival of improvised music where they choose who you play with. I told them that there was a good chance that my ankle wouldn’t be ready by then, but offered to play the viola instead, while letting them know that I was a beginner (at best) on the instrument, though every once in a while I could play a note that sounded nice. The High Zero people jumped on that, saying they were excited to hear what I could come up with on the viola. So, in late September we did the recording, me with my mask lugging a viola case to an empty theater instead of the pedal steel, amp, speaker, rack mount, and seat that I usually bring. The performance was kind of liberating in a way. I couldn’t play much more than single notes or double stops and the kind of extended technique that perhaps takes ears and good judgment but not much skill. Interestingly, I could actually find the notes I wanted to play more easily—fewer choices, perhaps—than on the pedal steel (where there are twenty middle C’s).
And it was nice to be able to move my body with the music while I played and to walk around to hear others better. Luckily, I was low in the mix when the video was posted. Though socially distanced and masked, it was thrilling to play music in the same room other human beings.
It was around the same time that I decided to take piano lessons, an instrument—especially for one who composes music—that I should have learned a long time ago. I kind of enjoyed working through the Hanon book and learning a few easy, but interesting, pieces of the beginner’s repertoire.
Late in September, Lawrence Kumpf had asked me if I would be interested in doing a solo concert at an outdoor fundraiser for Blank Forms. Lawrence is an old friend, so it was hard to turn him down, plus . . . it was a gig. Still under the impression that my ankle was slowly healing, I asked to postpone it for a few weeks. In mid-October, my husband, David, drove me to New York for the gig. This time, there was a live audience. It was a bit chilly outside but what a joy it was, bundled up, to play for real people. I was worried about my ankle, but I lasted a half an hour without much pain. I had a feeling that I was on the mend.
However, in spite of twice-weekly physical therapy, my ankle was getting worse. Whereas, before my ankle issues, I used to run six blocks every morning, now I could no longer even walk that distance. By the end of October, I could only walk to the end of the block (three houses down) and back. Around the same time, driving became painful, so I had to quit. I stopped taking piano lessons.
In mid-October, I returned to the new orthopedist for my second appointment. He asked me how my foot was, and I said it was the same, maybe worse. His reply was that this was normal; it takes longer to heal. Then he told me, “You’re doing great,” and wouldn’t hear otherwise. He said that, since I was doing so well, I didn’t really need another appointment; if there was a problem in the future anytime, I could call and make an appointment. He basically washed his hands of me.
November, December 2020
I played a few things on the pedal steel for various London Improvisors Orchestra projects which were now being done online. Perhaps because there were so many members of the orchestra spread out through the UK and Europe, the composed/improvised pieces were usually short (and fun), lasting on average from 90 seconds to five minutes.
In late November, I saw my family doctor for a flu shot. I told him what had been going on for the last several months. Visibly upset, he told me the same thing the physical therapist said months earlier—hammer and nail—that surgeons tend to lose interest in anything they can’t operate on. So, while I sat there in his office, he called a podiatrist friend of his, told him my story, and said that I needed an appointment as soon as possible.
Three days later, my husband drove me to the podiatrist’s office, located in a strip center in one of Baltimore’s northern suburbs. It seemed a little weird that it was not in a hospital or medical building, but it was more accessible, it was easier to get appointments, and it was a less intimidating atmosphere. The podiatrist looked like he was young, perhaps in his 30s, and very self-assured.
Echoing the previous orthopedist, he said that my problems were in large part due to plantar fasciitis and overpronation. He refused to look at the MRI, saying that MRI’s were inaccurate and often misleading. He told me that surgery was unnecessary: it was clear my ankle would improve with “conservative treatment.” He said he could make my ankle better, but only if I did everything he said. “Do you want to get better?” “Yes, yes!” I replied like a child to an authority figure. He told me that the orthotics I bought from the other orthopedist were a joke, and that I’d need custom-fitted inserts. So, he scanned my foot for a $500 pair of orthotics, sold me a $50 pair of compression socks, and prescribed more physical therapy. He also said that he had seen success with patients who had undergone laser treatment and intimated that this could speed up my recovery; insurance didn’t cover it, so it was my choice. I shelled out $1000 (which was more than my total income for 2020) for ten visits, but there was no discernible change to my ankle.
I went to his recommended physical therapy center twice a week for three months, but despite the podiatrist’s claims to the contrary (“Your foot is improving, I can tell.” “No, it’s not.” “Oh, yes it is!”), my ankle kept getting worse. And my day-to-day life became more and more constricted. It was now becoming difficult to walk up and down stairs. At times, I woke up in the morning with my ankle throbbing. Eventually, playing the pedal steel was relegated to playing without the volume pedal, an analogy which might be applied to a violinist only able to play pizzicato—the weight and speed of the bow. Breathe.
My quintet album, Pedernal, was released on November 12th, and it got a lot of press coverage and good reviews; people, for some reason, seemed to like it. Sitting at home, reading all the reviews—some thoughtful and well-written—was kind of fun; there was nothing else to do. But I often wondered if this album, the first of mine to get some critical attention, would become a bookend for my so-called career. Like so many others, being a musician was such an overwhelming part of my sense of self that a life without playing my chosen instrument, or playing it poorly, was something that terrified me to consider.
In December the “Best of the Year” album lists started to come out, and Pedernal, the first group album under my own name, was represented on more than a few of the lists. This was, simultaneously, a boost for my ego and a foreboding.
January, February 2021
On January 30th, I recorded a video of a song I have always loved: Cesar Isella’s “Canción Con Todos.”
Finally, in February, after three months of therapy, doctor’s appointments, and a report from the physical therapist, the podiatrist admitted that the conservative treatment wasn’t working and that I might need surgery, so he referred me to a friend of his, a neurologist, to get it checked out. The neurologist, without touching my ankle, recited the original MRI explanation that the first doctor read, almost word for word. He told me point blank that I needed surgery and that nothing else would help.
I made another appointment with the podiatrist. This time he told me I would need the surgery—something I had been expecting—but that he could not guarantee results or a full recovery. Fair enough.
On February 25th, two weeks before my surgery I eked out a half-hour’s worth of music for the Brazil-based Improfest, a streaming improvised music festival.
On March 12th, almost exactly a year since the start of the pandemic in the US, I went in, socially distanced, and had the ankle surgery performed by the podiatrist. He sewed up the two torn perineal tendons and tied them to a nearby bone to give them stability. He also took a chunk out of my right calf in order to free up the anterior tibialis (the names of all these tendons and ligaments learned from several months of doctors and physical therapists). The operation went well. Soon after I woke up from the anesthesia, I was released. My husband drove me home, and all I had to do was get upstairs where the bedroom and bathroom were (in hindsight, it may have been better to buy a portable toilet). The podiatrist had told me I could get up the stairs by sitting down and pushing myself up backward with my arms. The problem was that my arms were like spaghetti, my right leg was numb, and I had absolutely no strength anywhere in my body for that climb. David tried to help, but it was an awkward angle, and I was dead weight. I was on my own. Each step was like a mountain. I had to summon up every ounce of strength to pull myself up even one stair, often falling asleep (which is all I really wanted to do) between stairs. It took me an hour to get up the stairs. When I finally reached the top, I fell asleep again, this time for an hour-and-a-half before making it into the bed.
The next day, I woke with little pain. (The meds were good, and my right leg was still numb and paralyzed.) I was in bed for two days, and on the fourth I went for an appointment with my podiatrist, who suggested I start physical therapy as soon as possible to mitigate the possibility of scar tissue. When I was able to get to the music room and sit behind my pedal steel (my ankle in a boot), I started to transcribe a bit of another Messiaen piece along with a piece for an upcoming group project. I felt good about it at the time, but three months later when I looked over those efforts, almost every note was wrong. The lesson is don’t transcribe Messiaen (or anything else) until the pain meds have worn off.
I had physical therapy again—twice a week for twelve weeks—at first in a wheelchair, then with a walker, then a cane, and finally just on my own two feet. For the last four visits, I drove myself. Throughout those three months, I had ups and downs, progress and setbacks, the therapists pushing me to my utmost. At times I wondered if I was overdoing it and actually injuring these tendons. I think the jury is still out on that, so I walk the tightrope, trying to listen to my own body and use my own judgement.
The doctor and the physical therapists advised me to play my steel more often, this time to strengthen the tendons and improve the range of motion.
By May, I had improved enough to do a streaming concert for the third annual Steel Guitar unConvention. Steel guitar conventions usually take place in a rented ballroom and feature a dozen or two steel guitarists, pedal and non-pedal, each performing for a half an hour with a house band. The music and the politics of these events are usually conservative, with frequent homilies to Jesus and to patriotism. The Steel Guitar unConvention, based in Brooklyn, features the music and the musicians who are often unwelcome at most conventions: weirdos like me. So, I was glad to play. A half an hour of continuous playing was still stretching it, so I videotaped each piece separately to give my ankle a rest in between tunes.
After three months of physical therapy, I feel like there’ve been improvements though I still have good days and bad days. Sometimes I can work the volume pedal well, but where I used to use the volume pedal without thinking about it, now I have to give attention to every movement. There are now times when I am not thinking specifically about volume pedal motion (there are other aspects of playing the instrument, like plucking the strings, moving the tone bar, and activating the pitch-changing pedals with the knees and the left foot), and suddenly one random note may be almost silent and another at blaring volume.
July 11th, 20221
Now, as I write, it is early July. Sometimes I can play for extended periods of time, using the volume pedal without pain, but other times, pain comes quickly. Sometimes the pain goes away after a bit, and sometimes it doesn’t. Where I once would do the subtle volume swells, those tiny movements of the right foot without thinking, I now have to make deliberate movements. In short, I have to relearn how to use the volume pedal.
People tell me, and I’m sure they’re right, that if I was going to have this injury, I was lucky to have it during a pandemic when everything was closed. But as I kept going to physical therapy and visiting doctors, each of whom had a different diagnosis and gaslit proclamations that my ankle was improving, the worry was existential, my self-identity so tethered to being a musician. Without music, what else would there be left? I know that is not logical; all kinds of music exist, as do all kinds of instruments, and there is an entire universe out there of which music (sonic vibrations interpreted by the mind as either music or noise) is only a part—though an integral part, perhaps without which there could be no existence.
During those months of social isolation, friends would ask what I’d been doing musically. Had I been composing? Working on new material? Making plans? But instead of spending time on new compositions, learning my instrument better, seeking out musicians to collaborate with online, I spent the last twelve months treading water due to my inability to play without pain (and doctors telling me not to play at all), practicing for a few streaming shows I was invited to play, trying not to forget music I had written or adapted to my instrument, and not lose whatever technique I previously had.
Those days were (and still are) a strange and difficult time for everyone, and the physical isolation from others has affected us in ways that may not be readily apparent. As the months passed with less and less contact with the musical world, I, and perhaps others, felt an increasing distance from that world of gigs, fellow musicians, promoters/friends, venues, jam sessions, and festivals. I felt that we were slowly losing that special bond that kept us active as friends, our music. I tried to keep a happy disposition around other people, but mentally, emotionally, and in my psyche, this distance from other human beings, coupled with doubts that I’d ever play again, began to take its toll. I became more isolated. Much of it was brought on by circumstance, but to be honest with myself, it was also fueled by my own mind and the stories I told myself. Old ghosts, some of them hungry, came to visit and, mentally, I was often in a dark space.
Will I ever return to a semblance where I was before June of 2020, for better or worse? Will any of us ever return to what was? I think the jury is out. But it is always out, and none of us can know what tomorrow may bring. That same jury is out for so many other things in the world: climate change, deaths from pollution and wars, pain and suffering from Covid, persecution, and repression. During this pandemic we saw the police murder of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others and the mass protests that ensued. We saw a president using his office to promote racism, police brutality, and a to-do list for right-wing neo-fascists, including an armed attack on the Capitol building. Frontline workers braved the virus to save others. Others had no choice—meatpacking workers, prison inmates, and those in nursing homes—many of whom succumbed. Many people lost their incomes and homes. We the survivors watched helplessly as friends and relatives died of Covid or other maladies isolated from their loved ones. So, compared to that, my trials seem insignificant unless, perhaps, they can be put into a proper context, which is that life is full of suffering. None of us are immune, and at some point it will come to all of us sooner or later, though, we hope, much later.
For those of us who are lucky enough to not having been physically affected by the virus, the trauma of these pandemic times is an inner one: relationships with others, the isolation, the slipping away of time, fueled by a personal world that has no markers for musicians, gigs, recording sessions, and projects. This has all been talked about before, perhaps ad nauseam. In many ways it is a collective experience, each of us going through variations of the same thing. But how it affects us is individual.
I write about my own personal trauma, but like those slowly coming out of their homes after plagues of old, we the living are all traumatized in some way as individuals and as a society, coming back out into a world that is not quite the same as we remember it eighteen months ago. The ecosystem surrounding us—the birds, trees, animals, and water—are pretty much the same as they were in early 2020, but it is we who have changed, and that cannot be undone. The thing is this—we must go out into the world, informed by what we have learned during our enforced hibernation, and see with new eyes, listen with new ears, and, incorporating what has happened during the pandemic, experience with a new understanding, a new relationship with the world that surrounds us and to the music within.
Thanks for reading.
This year many of us on the East Coast experienced a tidal wave of large red-eyed, seemingly blind insects called cicadas, the ones here having spent the vast majority of their lives underground, digging down then slowly digging up for seventeen years. Upon reaching the surface of the Earth, they shed their exoskeletons and then it’s four weeks or so of frolicking—flying, singing, having sex, until the eggs are all laid—and then the inevitable end, a long and fruitful life in cicada time. Sometimes I feel that the cicada is an apt metaphor for our own struggles with crises like a pandemic. I am reminded of Maria Elena Walsh’s song, “La Cigarra.” I don’t want to butcher the lyrics with a poor translation, but if you’re curious, you can find a recording or a video of the song (I would recommend the Mercedes Sosa version) and the Google-translated lyrics in English.
Tantas veces me mataron
Tantas veces me morí
Sin embargo, estoy aquí
Gracias doy a la desgracia
Y a la mano con puñal
Porque me mató tan mal
Y seguí cantando
Cantando al sol como la cigarra
Después de un año bajo la tierra
Igual que sobreviviente
Que vuelve de la guerra
Tantas veces me borraron
A mi propio entierro fui
Sola y llorando
Hice un nudo en el pañuelo
Pero me olvidé después
Que no era la única vez
Y seguí cantando
Cantando al sol como la cigarra
Después de un año bajo la tierra
Igual que sobreviviente
Que vuelve de la guerra
Tantas veces te mataron
Tantas noches pasarás
A la hora del naufragio
Y la de la oscuridad
Alguien te rescatará
Para ir cantando
Cantando al sol como la cigarra
Después de un año bajo la tierra
Igual que sobreviviente
Que vuelve de la guerra