Guest Observation: Antonio Carlos Jobim

Just watched “Synechdoche, New York.” I need to/want to/will watch it again to try to see if I really did miss something–it’s a Charlie Kaufman movie, so less that straightforward. One memorable moment is the final credits, covered by a ballad called “I’m Just a Little Person.” That made me think about “The Waters of March,” by Brazilian songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim, which rolls at the end of Jerry Seinfeld’s movie, “Comedian.” Thinking back, I can’t remember how the end of the movie segued into this number, which combines a bossa nova jauntiness with a pointedly bittersweet flavor. The song has been done many, many times, but the version in the movie was by the late Susannah McCorkle, a Berkeley native and New York cabaret legend. The lyrics, as she sang them:

The Waters of March

A stick a stone
it’s the end of the road,

it’s the rest of the stump
it’s a little alone

it’s a sliver of glass,
it is life, it’s the sun,

it is night ,it is death,
it’s a trap, it’s a gun.

the oak when it blooms,
a fox in the brush,

the knot in the wood,
the song of the thrush.

the wood of the wind,
a cliff, a fall,

a scratch, a lump,
it is nothing at all.

it’s the wind blowing free.
it’s the end of a slope. …

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