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a child
born in time
just out of line
a misfit traveler
estranged
in a strange land of strangers

who waved the wand
and gave the command…
did someone?
who decided it would be…
or wouldn’t…
did they?
the son of a misplaced son
found in a foreign land
the product of some decision
perhaps made before
who can know why
if even at all?

all is blurred
barely visible
reasons evaporate
answers flee
only questions remain
of plans perhaps made
but in sand, …while the winds blew
with the feet of men…
tramping through
what was written can no longer be read
if it was
we can’t know now
or then

sleep walkers
walking in the deep
interrupted steps
dreams incomplete
partly woken
in a confused state
disjointed, unappointed
perhaps it’s too late?

for some
peace can be found
even on the barren fields of war

being an ardent student
for over 45 years
of things musical…
sounds
sonic expressions
human and other
movement
harmony
resonance
vibration
frequencies
timing
space and movement…
my unexpected, and perhaps somewhat unwanted conclusion thus far,
is that you don’t play music,
…the music plays you

I’ve been up to the mountain
(not the one in my head)
the view from the top
wasn’t what they said

the mist was thick as soup
the clouds were dark and grey
no matter what I tried to do
it just wouldn’t go away

they told me it was good
they told me it was bright
but as they said these words to me
their eyes were filled with fright

I stared deep into the darkness
maybe it was me?
I simply couldn’t grasp
what they wanted me to see

so instead I closed my eyes
but never looked away
that was when it all made sense
there was nothing more to say

it isn’t up the mountain
where we are meant to go
the mountain comes to us
if you really want to know

dangerous mountain pass
.

real resonance and harmony is never static

the movement and momentum that got it where it is has a latent energy

if this energy is not fed it quickly fades away

it fades so quickly, so subtly,

you hardly know it’s going

never knowing when it’s gone

the roar falls

deafeningly silent

.

to protect ourselves we modify our perceptions

unwittingly we validate our present reality

we enthrone it as some sort of luminous memory

atrophy: a trophy of good times past

force-planted like some toxic weed

a misplaced alien

an invading life form

.

in this swamp we soon get accustomed to the smell of rotting flesh

unaware it is our own

we convince ourselves it is sustaining energy

meat for our dry bones

we are dying in the same breath we breath

as we say that we live

.

the chord of resonant harmony must move on to the next expression of itself

risk

fear of failure…

but it cannot afford to stop

or it will cease to be

if it does

it soon becomes predictable

a clanging drone of dull thumps

a pulse nowhere near to any living heartbeat

but celebrated as such

.

it is dangerous out there

this is the truth

there are impassable mountains to climb

unfathomable valleys to cross…

but how else will true resonance and harmony be heard again

unless we scream into the cliff face

scream as we cling to life

edging on…

one finger shift at a time

.

.

*
I looked to the East
I looked to the West
I cried out which way would be best
I looked to the North
I looked to the South
And a bug flew straight into my mouth

… and in your players and supplications

in all your quest for peace and truth

don’t ask for answers
…because there aren’t any

ask instead for steps to take

for there are plenty of those to go around

it may not be the way you would choose

but the choice will surely lead the way

and if by chance you get there someday

you may not even know you have

because yesterday and tomorrow

will not matter anymore

“look at me!” they all cry…
but we can’t!
because we want you to look at us!
and you can’t because …

gazing deeply into each others eyes

trying desperately to see

what we can never get to see

 

what we ourselves look like

 

reaching out to others

to make contact with ourselves

searching longingly for a witness

to our own lives

 

a sign

that we are not alone

 

that in here

we are out there

amongst others

 

and that they

hopefully

are searching too

 

The old “King James” translation of the bible had a phrase that popped up fairly often.

 

“…and it came to pass that…”

 

Whatever it is,  it will come, and in time it will pass.

 

Whether it is bad and hurtful, even unimaginably destructive and terrifying …

it will come … and it will eventually pass.

 

It may be good and indescribably beneficial, even truly wonderful….

… but it too will come, … and it too will eventually pass.

 

The word eventually is also an interesting turn of phrase.

It speaks to me of events.

Whatever it is, it is merely an event …a singular happening in a long line of other happenings.

And as we know events happen.

They come and they go.

They too will come … and they too will pass.

 

And our God, we choose to believe, … is eternal, … infinite.

 

The same faith we extend to our universe … we choose to believe that it too is eternal, … infinite.

 

As scary as this might or might not be, this to me speaks of movement.

Whichever way I look at it, it speaks to me of always moving on, of not staying in the same place…

 

It also speaks to me of ever expanding horizons.

As we move on new horizons will come and go…  and each new horizon will come, … and it will pass … into and on to the next new horizon.

… unless we stop.

 

It suggests to me that if we pitch our tent anywhere … literally, figuratively, theologically, doctrinally, politically, scientifically, culturally, socially, relationally, emotionally, or in any other way… we forfeit the wonder that could be ours.

We will forfeit the privileges of pilgrimage.

 

Perhaps all we can do is hold on lightly to the present … very, very lightly.

… and with all the joy we can muster, enjoy the ride…

 

And us?

We know this, that the physical life we live is not at all eternal.

We came, … we have a fairly good idea how, but we have no real idea why…

And we fill this gap with many beliefs… religious, scientific, meaningful, meaningless…

But this one thing we do know for sure… that we will all pass.

 

In the greater scheme of things we too are an it.

The other day the oldest daughter of good friends wrote on Facebook,

“Is it possible to feel trapped inside yourself?”

To which I replied, “Most definitely young lady. In fact, I would be so bold as to suggest that if one does not feel this way there is something quite wrong.  We are not bodies with a spirit – we are spirit – housed or possibly even trapped for a while in a body.”

Unawares to me over the next few hours I was once again to be ambushed by a personal lament I have had since as far back as I can remember.

In my youth I was greatly impacted by the musical “West Side Story” and one of the tunes had a profound effect on me – “Somewhere”

It spoke to me of displaced people. People seemingly born out of place, out of time. Strangers in a foreign world, aliens trapped and stranded in circumstances perhaps beyond their conscious choosing.

Over the years I have managed to draw some significant comfort from the ancient holy writings that speak of the blessings that await those who are aliens and sojourners in a strange land, those who have set their minds on pilgrimage through a dry and inhospitable land. Aliens who are armed only with the hopeful vision in the eye of their hearts of the secret ancient paths that seem to lead to a place and a domain in another realm where there is indeed peace and rest.

Living my life in South Africa as a foreigner and an alien in my own land seems only to have served to illuminate this view on reality.

But I am not totally alone…

There are a few of us out here in the wilderness…

“There’s a place for us,
Somewhere a place for us.
Peace and quiet and open air
Wait for us somewhere.

There’s a time for us,
Someday a time for us.
Time together with time to spare,
Time to learn, time to care.
Someday, somewhere
We’ll find a new way of living,
We’ll find a way of forgiving,
Somewhere.

There’s a place for us,
A time and place for us.
Hold my hand and we’re halfway there
Hold my hand and I’ll take you there,

Somehow
Someday
Somewhere… ”

Somewhere (There’s a Place for us)
Music: Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZKX2J6nofE