Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

The Genius

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1959 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1987.

As I walked out upon Stockton street
One fine September day,
I saw a girl in a coffee shop,
And here's what I heard her say:

Alas, my love is a genius,
And why was I saddled with such.
He's up in his tower
About ev'ry hour,
But doesn't come down with much.

Oh heavenly breath of glory
That breathes in the soul of man,
Why can't you do something with Charley
And make him get off his can.

Alas my love is a genius,
He wants adulation for free,
He has a deep feeling
That folks should be kneeling,
But the only one kneeling is me.


Alas my love is a genius,
He deals in meter and rhyme,
He seeks inspiration
Through yogi prostration,
And work is a waste of his time.


I understand his reluctance
To enter the marts of trade,
He wouldn't do well
At the old hard sell,
But couldn't he handle a spade?


He couldn't do T.V. commercials--
You know how a poet feels--
He's off and away
From this world of clay,
But he always comes back for meals.


I guess that I'm stuck with Charley,
I love him for better or worse,
But I'm second-guessing
That art is no blessing,
And love is a terrible curse.

Last Chorus:
Oh Heavenly breath of glory
That breathes in the soul that's free,
If you can't do something with Charley,
Won't you please do something with me.

Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
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Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
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