Standing In Your Memory (For Phil Ochs)

Jen Cass
Jen Cass


I made an accidental pilgrimage

To city streets you left behind

Found myself standing in your memory

Almost…forty years before this time

When you walked proudly through the city that you loved

Those buildings high above, they used to guide you on your way

And maybe…I’m a stranger in a legendary town

But I walk hallowed ground and I still feel you here today


I took the subway down to Bleecker Street

Stood outside The Bitter End

You got your start inside these red brick walls

But you won’t be coming back again

Too Many Martyrs and far too many dead,

Isn’t that what you said?  Somehow you let it be again

You became…another tragedy, a casualty of war

What were we fighting for if you Ain’t Marching Anymore?


In your Rehearsals For Retirement

You said you died in sixty-eight

Kent and Chicago stole your soul away

To take your life they’d have to wait

Through years of silence when the madness raged

You couldn’t fill a page, thought you had nothing left to say

And no one…took an interest in a rebel’s dying words

But you were always heard and we’re still listening today


I hear your voice in every alleyway

Spilling out of passing cars

The new disciples of the Broadside years

The Chords of Fame in every bar

And time will always bring the tallest to their knees

But you live on in me, in every troubadour who dares to wage

A mighty protest with the beauty that remains, in ugly times of change

And tells the truth from every stage