Lyrics

THE SIGNAL (2014)

1. Willow

By this piece of weeping wood
Lady fell, lady stood
Like its crooked lines
Time to us hasn’t been kind

                Softly blows the willow, aching through my echo
                Softly blows the willow, aching through this echo

Such fear of busy hands
Bells toll witch hunt through the land
Hear your daughters years on, saying;
“Sister, where have we gone?”

                Softly blows the willow, aching through my echo
                Softly blows the willow, aching through this echo


2. What’s Happening?

Feel the welcome start to fade, what’s happening, what’s happened here?
It’s a new and different war to lose again; I’m losing it.
Neighbours slowly turn away; I’m trapped here, I’m trapped again.

                Thinly veiled is my pride
                Thinly veiled fear in their eyes,
                Such waste for my heavy heart 
                This wasted life, this part I play

                How I know this sinking feeling well, so well
                Of written laws that hold the keys to hell, my hell

Empty schools bear testament  – it happens here, it’s happening
Sisters say it’s for our good, just feel our love, do you feel our love?
Take away the work I own and keep the pay, just keep your pay.
But leave me my own war to wage for dignity, for dignity.

                Thinly veiled …


3. B.T. Cotton

Turn around man, don’t be caught in a corner -
he’s got a plan that will keep you safe.
It’s just what you need, it’s the seed of a promise;
heaven’s closer with a crop that pays.
Don’t sell the farm just to keep your little acre;
the future’s brighter than the height of day!
Just give him one season to show what you’ve been missing -
no other way but forward.

             Too good to last …

More than one summer, you gave all he asked you -
no way to bargain with the devil’s rate.
Rain mixed with blood as the soil kept on drying,
‘til it hit you like the noontime rays:
better off dead than a broke man owing -
drink the hope from the cup he made (go on, go on).
Liquid poison kept your cotton from growing,
coats your throat, now it’s over …

             Too good to last …


4. The Signal

New York; my birthday, 1988.

4th day, 12th hour on the 10th month;

room 23 at the Algonquin Hotel…

I remember the sound of your suede leather shoes;

we were one with the world that day.

We’ll meet once again, we said -

but only if the memory doesn’t fade.

Paris, the Eiffel Tower

Noon, 10th month -

noon, same date,

1998.

My birthday falls on a Wednesday that year;

Remember

the sound of my footsteps,

the Eiffel Tower will be quiet.

and I’ll be sure to wear the same suede leather shoes.

and I will know the sound, the sound

the sound of your footsteps.

I’m so tired; whose idea was this anyway?

Paris, 2 kids – always the planning…

Noon, 10th month

When did it change -

1998;

the story of us?

it’s the day.

Can I choose? You used to let me choose, but then –

Maybe she’s changed her hair

I didn’t have to choose, because you knew already.

It’s gotta be time for lunch.

It’s time…

Is anyone else hungry?

It’s time.

Let’s go now -

Noon,

There’s nothing more

10, 4

Let’s go now

1998.

Wait;

How could I be

never mind.

so silly to think

I know, I know, I know

that the sound -

I know that sound

that the sound of a footstep -

I know that sound…

After all these years…

5. Lion’s Den

Back when magic held the land
Ruled a prophet seated at the right hand
Of a vain king who would fall yet again
For the flattery of all his greedy men
One night a single question,
A riddle to the prophet posed by heaven:
“Of the fiercest to roam this place
Just who’s the beast and do you know his face?”

                Father deliver me safely out of the lion’s den
                Tonight I meet the mistaken soul of the beast within
                And if I’m safer here than at the hands of fellow men
                How can I live with the other side of these walls I’m in

Now those beasts all rule the land
Swiss bankers seated at their right hand
An unknown girl is set apart
12 years young, she’s man-fearing, pure of heart
running fast from greedy men
who’re looking to wed when 3 lions step in;
of the fiercest to roam this place
just who’s the beast and do you know his face?

                My mama couldn’t keep safe from the hands of men
                oh bleeding legs we can’t escape from the hell I’m in
                but if I’m safer here than at the hands of fellow men
                I found my home tonight safe within the lion’s den

                Black manes you recognize all that they wish to tame
                We share one heart one soul one fear that just cannot be named
                And if I’m safer than at the hands of fellow men
                I found my home tonight safe within the lion’s den

 


6. This

Like the songbird sentenced to his silence
Though all along his song was just for one,
Little life, you have a way of breaking us
Even though your time may not be done.

Through the burning, through the wanting – we’re hoping still
The bending and breaking, the moaning – believing still
Through the crying, the dying – we’re standing, still
The aging, our gracing – we’re breathing still.

                Take this little moment as it is, this tiny sigh of time.
                In a body that ebbs away little moments still taste of the divine.
                Taste this little second as it is – though small, it holds it all;
                for too soon it will pass away: single moments weave into a life.

Like the piece of light that falls between all of the
shadows that may well make up our time,
Even blinded eyes still turn to feel you -
Little life of little joys sublime.

Through the burning, through the wanting – we’re hoping still
The bending and breaking, the moaning – believing still
Through the crying, the dying – we’re standing, still
The aging, our gracing – we’re breathing still.


7. On Our Way

Nobody said it would come so easily -
There are tomes instead playing into uncertainty.
When I count the hours wasted on some “how-to” book,
Tally up the days, the epic climbs, the efforts made:

Chat rooms and mommy forms
Search tools to weather storms
Calling out in the night:
“Could someone shed some light here?!”
Put down the guide to a mommy-making industry,
Sift through the words, and weave them into love instead.

                For now all that’s inside of me
                Somehow is guiding our days
                From now, all that’s sustaining me
                Is this love, so let’s be on our way

Back as a child, holy fear was guiding me
Keep my step in line help me on the narrow way.
Rooms built on shame, galaxies of endless guilt -
Young mind takes in, young young body puts it out.

Terse words by old white men
Harsh terms for every sin
No mercy for the likes of half the folks I love here.
Put down the fear and step right back into this life,
Sift through the words and weave them into love instead.

                For now all that’s inside of me …

 

8. I Gave

“Where is my faith? Even in my innermost feelings, there is nothing except emptiness and darkness.  If I ever become a saint, I will surely be a saint of the darkness”

- Mother Teresa

She takes her time to wipe his eyes as they water – her soul took the bait
She’s fearless as she weaves through their illness and glides over hate
Once called by faith but now a daily fall so far from His grace
“My Father,” she calls “why this darkness?” – but silence awaits

             I gave my all to see, sacrificed joyfully;
             but if I can’t believe, what now’s your heaven to me?
             My hope a shadowland, doubt is on what I stand.
             Love saw the best in me, what now’s the greatest of these?

Her bent knees grow tired from the asking, her back’s ached for years
Passersbys move slightly to the side – part reverence, part fear
She longs to yell, to tell her world of sorrow: “I’m drowning in tears;
Look – see us here, we’re all begging for something, but who’s going to hear?”

I gave my all to see
9. Another Day

for Sybrina Fulton

My feet don’t fear the night – they’ve never known escape.
Happy the pulse of my days, when fearless I awake.
Yet with each dawning under the sun,
Across the vastness we are somehow one.

 
                Running or nesting or frightened or free, a child’s tears will feel the same.
                The salt on our skin and the singing to sleep: these simple things remain.
                Aching, elated, in silence or song, a child’s laugh will feel the same.
                The breeze on our lips and the aging within – these simple things remain.

Sweet are the joys we all seek and honest the shades of pain;
Many the miles in between the songs along the way.
Yet in each voice singing under the sun,
I recognize the sound of why we’ve come.
 
                Running or nesting or frightened or free …

 

Another day ’round the sun …


10. Baby Steps

for Sanna Madeleine

How perfect for you to choose
the dead of a cold winter night to come.
Little seed, on a star dusty breeze, you made your
way to me, in an essence so complete,
to rest awhile in me – watch us grow.
Two souls, one cord; this is eternity.
Counting down the days, slowing down our ways,
indifferent to this crazy pace.

                1 2 3 4 5 6 and 7
                baby steps to take us straight to heaven.
                Here or there, my love will never leave you;
                little one, this life so becomes you.

Oh to retrace this tired earth’s lines,
erase its shadows and heal the pain of time;
I’d give my life to carve another way
for your perfection to last another day,
but this world and me – we’re bold;
and so I’ll leave no truth untold.
For the gift of love, it’s one small fee:
who we are in our entirety.

                1 2 3 4 5 6 and 7
                baby steps to take us straight to heaven.
                Here or there, my love will never leave you;
                little one, this life so becomes you.

                1 2 3 4 5 6 7
                baby steps to take us straight to heaven
                take it slow, we’ve got a life to do it
                gratitude of mine you have no limit.
                My love will never leave you,

                my love.