On Suzanne Vega and Playgrounds in Winter

by Abby on November 22, 2013

I saw the snippet of song lyrics below in another parent’s email signature. (File under “Unlikely sources of inspiration”) It caught my attention first because of the time of year. There’s something strange and melancholy about playing outside with the kids after school now. You know what time the sun sets these days? 4:45 pm! Depressing.

Suzanne Vega, The Passionate EyeThe lyrics also grabbed me because of my infinite love for Suzanne Vega. Most people know her from “Luka” or “Tom’s Diner.” (Which I just learned was composed in 1981 on Nov. 18, making that date the official Tom’s Diner Day. Who knew?!) My favorite song of hers is actually the weirdly catchy “In Liverpool.” (#funfact)

I once saw Suzanne Vega very up-close and personal when I attended a reading of her book, The Passionate Eye, at a now-defunct bookstore in Baltimore. It was a combination poetry reading/storytelling/acoustic performance and it’s the closest thing to a private concert I’ve ever experienced. It was magical. And I almost didn’t go because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me. (File under “Life lessons”)

Here are the lyrics, which stand on their own as a poem. Or hear her sing it live here. Happy Friday!

“Freeze Tag,” by Suzanne Vega

We go to the playground
In the wintertime
The sun is fading fast
Upon the slides into the past
Upon the swings of indecision
In the wintertime

In the dimming diamonds
Scattering in the park
In the tickling
And the trembling
Of freeze tag
In the dark

We can only say yes now
To the sky, to the street, to the night
We can only say yes now
To the sky, to the street, to the night

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TUNE O’ THE DAY: My fave Suzanne Vega song, “In Liverpool”

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