Friday, October 24, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "City of Immigrants"

I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Steve Earle – City Of Immigrants [With Forro In The Dark] (reminds me to see that of God in everyone, as we Quakers say).

"City Of Immigrants"

Livin' in a city of immigrants
I don't need to go travelin'
Open my door and the world walks in
Livin' in a city of immigrants
Livin' in a city that never sleeps
My heart keepin' time to a thousand beats
Singin' in languages I don't speak
Livin' in a city of immigrants

City of black
City of white
City of light
City of innocents
City of sweat
City of tears
City of prayers
City of immigrants

Livin' in a city where the dreams of men
Reach up to touch the sky and then
Tumble back down to earth again
Livin' in a city that never quits
Livin' in a city where the streets are paved
With good intentions and a people's faith
In the sacred promise a statue made
Livin' in a city of immigrants

City of stone
City of steel
City of wheels
Constantly spinnin'
City of bone
City of skin
City of pain
City of immigrants

All of us are immigrants
Every daughter, every son
Everyone is everyone
All of us are immigrants - everyone
Livin' in a city of immigrants
River flows out and the sea rolls in
Washin' away nearly all of my sins
Livin' in a city of immigrants

City of black
City of white
City of light
Livin' in a city of immigrants
City of sweat
City of tears
City of prayers
Livin' in a city of immigrants

City of stone
City of steel
City of wheels
Livin' in a city of immigrants

City of bone
City of skin
City of pain
City of immigrants
All of us are immigrants


Steve Earle's website is http://steveearle.com/

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "If Only Avenue"

I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Ron Sexsmith – If Only Avenue

With the luxury of hindsight
The past becomes so clear
As I look out on the twilight
My days have become years
It's strange, as people we're prone to dwell
On things that we can't undo
And we're liable to wander down
If Only Avenue

In the company of distance
We see where it all went wrong
And we know what we'd do different
Should the chance come along
But change is easier said than done
It's a difficult thing to do and soon
You'll be taking the next right on
If Only Avenue

If only
You hadn't used up all your excuses
Now there's nobody else to blame
And that's when they call your name

"It's down at the end of lonely street"
Neath a moon that keeps shining blue
And we live with our thoughts alone
If Only Avenue
Oh why have I wandered down
If Only Avenue


Ron Sexsmith's website is http://www.ronsexsmith.com/

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"...I ate crostatas for breakfast...": Poem


Crostatas by Charlie Smith

in rome I got down among the weeds and tiny perfumed
flowers like eyeballs dabbed in blood and the big ruins
said do it my way pal while starlings
kept offering show biz solutions and well the vatican
pursued its interests the palm trees like singular affidavits
the wind succinct and the mountains painted blue
just before dawn accelerated at the last point
of departure before the big illuminated structures
dug up from the basement got going and I ate crostatas
for breakfast and on the terrace chatted
with the clay-faced old man next door and said I was
after a woman who’d left me years ago and he said lord aren’t we all.


Most Recent Book by Smith
Jump Soul: New and Selected Poems
(W. W. Norton, 2014)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "Good Light"

I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors – Good Light

Wasting time and wasting money,
you've been acting like a fool.
You spend your whole life fighting for a guarantee,
when all you really need is a friend.

Hey, there's a good light, shining in you. There's a magic in your eyes.
Hey, there's a good light, shining through, and I need it tonight.

You've been looking for rhyme and reason.
The confusion is dragging you down.
You got lost in the chaos.
You got lost in the ashes and dust.
What you needed was someone to trust.

Hey, there's a good light, shining in you. There's a magic in your eyes.
Hey, there's a good light, shining through, and I need it tonight.

We're all stumbling through the darkness.
No one can stay there and still make it through.

Hey, there's a good light, shining in you. There's a magic in your eyes.
Hey, there's a good light, shining through, and I need it tonight.


Drew Holcomb's website is http://www.drewholcomb.com/

Friday, October 17, 2014

Six Cheerful Couplets on Death: Poem


Six Cheerful Couplets on Death
by Michael Blumenthal


Most things won't happen, Larkin said,
But this one will: We will be dead.

The saddest thing, in each context,
Is knowing that we could be next.

Some take the bus, some take the train,
Some die in sleep, the rest in pain

But of one thing we can be sure:
All die imperfect, each impure

Some wishing that they had been better,
Others worse, but no one deader.

Shoes left, like Buddhists, at the door:
Those won't be needed anymore.

"Six Cheerful Couplets on Death" by Michael Blumenthal, from No Hurry: Poems 2000-2012. © Etruscan Press, 2012. From the Writers Almanac. (buy now)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

...a prayer utters itself...


Prayer by Carol Ann Duffy


Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade I piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer—
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.

"Prayer" by Carol Ann Duffy, from Mean Time. © Anvil Press, 1993. (buy now)

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "With God on Our Side"

I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Buddy Miller – With God On Our Side (Buddy's cover of Bob Dylan's song)

Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side

Oh the Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
l’s made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side

Oh the First World War, boys
It closed out its fate
The reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side

I’ve learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war starts
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side

Through many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war
Copyright © 1963 by Warner Bros. Inc.; renewed 1991 by Special Rider Music


Buddy Miller's website is http://buddymiller.com/

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints: "Lakes of Canada"

Innocence Mission
I have a started a project in conjunction with my "The Humble Stumble: Lessons on Simplicity, Stillness, Fashion and Faith from a Bad Quaker" book. It's on Spotify -- "Humble Stumble: Hymns for Imperfect Saints."

I'll add a "hymn" a day.

These are not "hymns" in the traditional sense. Rather they're songs that have spoken to my soul in a spiritual sense -- even if they are not "spiritual songs" per se. Though my bias is that that our hearts hunger for beauty and meaning and when artists create something that sings deep in our souls, well, they've created a "hymn," even if it was unintentional.

Suggestions of songs that have spoken deeply to you are welcome!

I'll also post lyrics and video (when available) here.

Today's hymn is  Karen Peris – Lakes Of Canada (The Innocence Mission)

Lakes of Canada

Look for me another day.
I feel that I could change,
I feel that I could change.
There's a sudden joy that's like
a fish, a moving light;
I thought I saw it
rowing on the lakes of Canada

Oh laughing man, what have you won?
Don't tell me what cannot be done.
My little mouth, my winter lungs,
don't tell me what can't be done.

Walking in the circle of a flashlight
someone starts to sing, to join in.
Talk of loneliness in quiet voices.
I am shy but you can reach me.
Rowing on the lakes of Canada,
rowing on the lakes of Canada.

Oh laughing man, what have you won?
Don't tell me what cannot be done.
My little mouth, my winter lungs,
don't tell me what can't be done.

Look for me another time
Give me another day
I feel that I could change

Rowing on the lakes of Canada


The Innocence Mission's website is http://www.theinnocencemission.com/