Fait Divers: Sondheim Sings Again

Consider this It’s right out of Bounce, no?

But it’s an (ever so slightly revised) Follies aria I’m thinking of most right now —

“You’re either a poet
Or you’re a lover
Or you’re the famous
Benjamin D.
You take one road,
You try one door,
There isn’t time for any more.
One’s life consists of either/or.
One has regrets
Which one forgets,
And as the years go on.
The road you didn’t take
Hardly comes to mind,
Does it?
The door you didn’t try,
Where could it have led?
The choice you didn’t make
Never was defined.
Was it!
Dreams you didn’t dare
Are dead.
Were they ever there?
Who said!
I don’t remember,
I don’t remember
At all.
The books I’ll never read
Wouldn’t change a thing,
Would they?
The girls I’ll never know
I’m too tired for.
The lives I’ll never lead
Couldn’t make me sing.
Could they? Could they? Could they?
Chances that you miss.
Ignorance is bliss–
What’s more,
You won’t remember,
You won’t remember
At all,
Not at all.You yearn for the women,
Long for the money,
Envy the famous
Benjamin Ds.
You take your road,
The decades fly,
The yearnings fade, the longings die.
You learn to bid them all goodbye.
And oh, the peace,
The blessed peace…
At last you come to know:
The roads you never take
Go through rocky ground,
Don’t they?
The choices that you make
Aren’t all that grim.
The worlds you never see
Still will be around,
Won’t they!
The Ben I’ll never be,
Who remembers him?”


  1. Belga March 24, 2006 4:10 pm 

    I heart Stephen Sondheim! Thanks for posting this, Herr Ehrenstein.

  2. Don Surber March 24, 2006 5:00 pm 

    Hey, Jim Brady, Hire Me

    Whoever you get: Vet!
    Don Surber
    Poca WV

  3. chris March 24, 2006 5:26 pm 

    In a similar vein …

    “Could he leave them?
    “Would he leave them,
    “Would he leave them …

    (Offered with a deep bow to the remembered image of Alexis Smith)

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