Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Big Blog Contest #1

Help name the new CD

Been in the studio this morning, biz meeting this afternoon back in the studio, now off to the dinner with Jane and Chris... all the while struggling with a new working title for the CD... with all its zits and badly mended broken bones... so here is one possible title for it...

"Stumbling from ego through error towards anywhere..."

Any suggestions acceptable...

Thanks to a very old friend...

I had a funny dream for a Quaker last night... not funny in that way... Genie and I were on a bus trip ... coming back from the mountains with a group of Quakers. As we were getting off the bus I could not find my pipes... Uilleann pipes are not replaceable, they cost as much as a small car and take years to make... so I was rather... upset. The bus driver was helping us search the bus and I was franticly praying to St. Anthony (the funny part for a Quaker). Well just before I woke, we found the pipes. I awoke remembering that sometimes even we Quakers who don't generally go in for these things, might thank St. Anthony for finding small parts of ourselves that are so important. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Miracle of Peace

Peace can happen without resolution, without unity on histories, just with ... I don't know, perhaps just opening one's heart to the miracle of peace.

A friend and I could not seem to find peace, tried so much, with so much good intention... oh did we make a mess of it, the harder we tried... and then we tried... really nothing at all. A short cup of coffee and not many words.

I wore plain clothes today, comfortable in that skin again, at peace with myself.

Peace is such a wonderful gift to give each other and ourselves at the same time. I wish everyone would try it.

(Thank thee Friend)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Reply to Sam, What is Quaker Music?

What is Quaker music? For me, well, let's start with a flyer from the 15th St. meeting on elements of Quaker practice: the testimonies, Community, Equality, Integrity Peace and Simplicity - Speaking truth to power, even when those truths may not be welcome... Listening for the truth in others.... Avoiding behavior that supports social ranking...

All these things make up the values of Quaker music, and then a few of my songs are Quaker histories.

Speaking the truth is the hardest, because there are times the songs I write speak plain truth - better phrase would be direct and honest. It is easy to be direct and honest with those who are distant and powerful, but some songs are honest and direct in the face of those people and things which capture a part of our heart that it is hard to speak plainly to, for fear of injury to someone. However, the greater injury is to look the other way when someone is walking in error for fear of hurting their ego.
( With thanks to Dyske and others for doing the same without a song and dance!)
So, I guess the bottom line is that it is not music written for simple value as a commodity.
Good start?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Common Sense

This was posted to Mudcat, a folk music web site. In light of the Sup. Cts. take on immanent domain, well it is all self evident.

Annon: 1764

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don't escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
'And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Thank You Diane Rosen

Diane Rosen, when I was a ween, and my father used to beat me... would remind me that he was the one with the problem, not me. Well, thank you again Diane. She has been dead for many years now, but she inspired a song... in spirit she reminded me that the one who has recently abused me terribly, is the one with the problem, that like my father, some people can only feel complete in themselves by projecting their pain onto others, and causing hurt, deep hurt, any way they can, with an endless recourse of tools of torment.

These people carry that pain in the way we who they hurt do not. We heal and grow. They keep it all buried within, leaving more and more injured people in their wake, and wondering why... hurting others rather than taking a moment of self reflection.

So, I wrote a song, inspired by Diane's wisdom, which has already been doing well at the busking... called "Goodbye to you now Amy Gray". It is a metaphor for learning not to let these people into your soul ( or your ego ).

Thanks Diane,
I'm remembering you now,


Well... the Supreme Court has really done it to us... Eminent domain can now be used to take the last real opportunity from the working class. Private property, worked for, by generations of the hard working... can now be taken by the state for private use, like Malls.

So, the old days of the folks holding out for fair price, or to preserve their neighborhood is over. The state can take the property from the small holder for the sole purpose of giving it to the rich...

Each day this world and nation becomes more foreign to me. This is not the nation I learned about in social studies classes or in law school. Forget the Constitution... where is Magna Carter?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Selling my lost soul

Just got back from a day of flogging the music in the park, running off to a meeting, to siting in Dempsey's talking about faith and nilism with a pal... and at the end of the day, the realization that the bliss, in the Joseph Campbell sense is dead in me.

All day, playing with an idiot grin on my faith as though I still loved this music. Frankly this music is a dead thing in me, I think I hate it. It is something to sell so I can ... get by. For all my life it was my joy, but now, I look inside and find cold death, so I don't look inside as I play, I listen and ask, does this sound like joy? And then play as a mimicry of what joy sounds like.

I don't know if I can ever love music again. Music betrayed me or I betrayed music - I have lost my soul.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Overuse of the word Love

Hannah Arednt... from Augustine, the first philosopher of the will...
What love brings about is lastingness, a perdurance of which the mind otherwise seems incapable. Augustine has conceptualized Paul's words in the Letter to the Corinthians, "Love never ends"; of the three that "abide - Faith, Hope, Love- "the greatest [ the most durable, as it were] is love" (Corinthians 13:8).
To summarize: this Will of Augustine's, which is not understood as a separate faculty, but in its function within the mind as a whole, where all single faculties - memory, intellect, and will - are "mutually referred to each other, find its redemption in being transformed into Love. Love as a kind of enduring and conflictless Will has an obvious resembles to Mill's "enduring I, " which finally prevails in the will's decisions. Love exerts its influence through the "weight"- the will resembles a weight" - it adds to the soul thus arresting its fluctuations. Men do not become just by knowing what it is to be just but by loving justice. Love is the soul's gravity, or the other way around: "the specific gravity of bodies is, as it were, their Love. What is saved, moreover, in this transformation of his earlier conception is the Will's power of assertion and denial" there is no greater assertion of something or somebody than to love it, that is to say: I will that you be - Amo: Volo ut sis.

Well... Oh Hannah, what would you say about this thing so often called love, this use of others only so long as they serve your need, want and ego. So, the one who professes love of justice suspends that justice for the injury which offends his or her own soul. To say I will that you be constrains your own soul as well, to love justice is to say I will also be bound by justices' constraints.

So often mere surface attraction, that is want of what the object of "love" has to give is called Love. So, once that which we crave is gained, we abandon the object of want, often with unbelievable cruelty, to say that it is the fault of the wanted that they were unworthy of Love when Love was never there in the first place. Such a false understanding of love results in a life of turmoil, running from one want to another and never finding love.

To love our meetings is the same. Friends who don't Love within this meaning in our religious society strike out at those who do not serve their wants and needs... and we exclude each other from our want which we confuse as Love.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Caution on the village green...

A Friend wrote to me, concerned, and perhaps a little hurt about an event I conveyed about our meeting. He was also concerned that a bloger mentioned a member of our meeting, by name, on my blog, in a less than positive light.

So, here are a few of my thoughts and I welcome all of yours.

Traditionally, Friends published tracts, which when they got personal, pen names and anonimity were employed. I always felt that personal anonimity was not a good way to go, one should stand by one's words, but naming another with whom one may be muckled, is well, hurtful.

But, the purpose of these tracts, and now blogging, is plain direct speech towards the perfection of our communities. In such, I think it is not a bad thing. We need to look inside, pull out the crap and deal with it. Controversy which is hidden in our hearts festers and comes out one place or another.

But, I do agree with him, if you are going to publicly or to another, call a fellow this or that, using their name - say it to their face, with love, and listening. Otherwise it is tale bearing.

love to all

Evil and Being and Hannah Arendt

We so easily use the term evil, even we Quakers for those who do harm and hurt... I have been searching for Aquinas' description of Evil as a void... and could not find it... try as I may, remembering it from a course on Aquinas I took from a Jesuit professor of Political Science. Perhaps that is where I remember it from. I fell back into the warmth of Hannah Arendt's mind the other day, and oh what a lovely bower that is. I found Aquinas on evil there, maybe that is where I first came to that wonderful notion... so Arendt on Aquinas...

From The Life of the Mind, Vol. 2 page 118
"'As much as [a man] has of Being, so much has he of goodness, while so far as something is lacking in the fullness of [his] Being, so far does this fall short of goodness and is said to be evil.'
No being, insofar as it is, can be said to be evil, 'but only insofar as it lacks Being' ...
Evil is not a principle as it is a sheer absence, and absence can be stated 'in privative and in a negative sense. Absence of good, taken negatively, is not evil... for instance, if a man lacks the swiftness of the horse; evil is the absence where something is deprived of a good that belongs to it essentially - for example, the blind man, who is deprived of sight. Because of its privative character, absolute or radical evil cannot exist. No evil exists in which one can detect 'the total absence of good.' For 'if the wholly evil could be, it would destroy itself.

So these neo-coms, those contentious Friends, all who seem intent on "Evil" who we call evil with such ease... I am going to dive back into her work on Eichmann, the concept of the banality of evil... for, as I see it, Jesus in telling us to look inside and expose those things that we must in order to live... what Rilke says in facing the dragons to find princesses, all these things are about openness and courage and completion. Break open the fears inside, stand on the truth that is honesty, because we cannot come to terms with the absences in our souls if we deny them to ourselves.
It is too define a thing, a person, as evil and shun them, in do doing, we often overlook the holes in our own hearts.

Without honest introspection, and open trusting sharing and clearness to come to reality checks, we also do not come to terms with the frameworks of our limitations or differentness. Many of my friends and I have ADHD. We all try to some extent to fit into a world not of our "norms", some don't try as much as others, some try and succeed well, others medicate down to an approximation of the 'norm". However, we keep that struggle hidden, it empowers the "normal" hegemony to demand a one size fits all normality.

Taken to other natural limitations, the blind would be evil for their natural limitations of sight, we would expect those with injuries to keep up or be abandoned, but a middle ground should be struck. One does not abandon the member of the tribe with the compound fracture, as I often am fond of quoting Robert Leaky on empathy *, but at the same time, we should not allow those who do not try in the least to accommodate their differences or injuries to keep us all from moving. We, as Quakers help each other. That is the simple, direct formula of do unto others... the golden rule.

* Richard Leaky, the son of Mary and Louise, was born into archeology, searching for what defined the point at which hominids became human.... after loosing his legs in a plane crash, he realized it was the point at which he found compound fractures healed, where the troop disadvantaged itself for the injured member, because of empathy. He then became a Socialist politician - the politics of empathy.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Assumptions and to be present to God in others

What does it mean to not hold assuptions about others... to be present to the God in them, not in what you presume about someone?

I have a friend I haven't seen in several years... Genie and I got to know her back in 1981. She had fantasitic storries about everyone, some were wonderful, others dangerously damaging. She told us that a folksinger friend of ours could not go back to Ireland because he was an informer. There was no truth in that... This lie still colors how I feel about him when I hear his name or see him, then I have to remember that it is just not true. He has done me good turns, I like him and yet the ghost of that memory lingers... After a while, someone who knew her for her whole life told us that she seldom told the truth.

It took years to sort out the feelings we had about people she had said things about. Then, one day, while in conflict with another dear friend of mine, she told him that I hated him and was prejudice against that which defined him in a way one might say racialized him... set him out from the social perception of normal.

My relationship with him was never the same again. We were deep close friends, now we are polite to each other, even after we talked about how this friend was known to not tell the truth, and that he knew me better than to believe what she said. But, this is the danger of assumption, even short of out right lies. One begins to be present to the image, often when it is conflict with the person you have known for years. We, as Quakers promise to forgive, we sometimes don't seem to do that. We live our assumptions.

Dear friends, stop judging each other... stop pushing each other until some of us are pushed right out of the lives we treasure.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Proud of New Yorkers...

Well, I am proud of New York. I took a wee friend to an open mike tonight. She was 15 and visiting from Kansas, and very very talented. She choked on a song, and got huge applause, though she was really very upset by getting the song turned around. Two of the big acts of the night, ran out to the street and sat with her, told her to get back in after she worked it out, gave her advice and she came back and did wonderfully.

I've seen folks make fun of young folks just starting out... that is not this city. Tonight was just wonderful. They were also patient with me... I am on the choking and gagging point of the cycle I have been on for a year or so, of plaque building up in my throat... at the point I feel like vomiting for a few days, the plaque gets big enough to cough out... but it does not do my singing well, and I am at the, voice not in control point of the cycle... good news is that means in a few days ( I hope... ) I can dislodge the damned thing... the audience reacted to my songs not my singing, for which I am really thankful.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Dead Music

Malli Dhonn, this terribly wonderful song, that died stillborn before my eyes. I play it in the park, and people ask if it is on my CD... no, will it be, maybe someday, but I don't know... the song... is a thing I hear hauntingly imperfect by crowd noise on DVD, damaged as if by graffiti ... born long enough to see and love, but not long enough to shine with its own life.
What is the value of a song, the witness of a drowned crew, in the blackness of the trap of their sinking vessel, the madness of the widow, the touching of history... I now know there must be a thousand thousand lost songs, like lost souls wailing in the void of never.

White clouds standing in a think bank just over the harbor, hides the lower slopes of Mt. Brandon, so that the peak hangs like a rock floating on a cloudless blue sky.
Once you have seen that, you know the origin of the medieval myths of islands floating in the air.
The smell of the sea mixes with smell of the earth and grass cropped short by sheep - marked with red and blue paint.

Dingle, It was not a deep water port then, the marshy holy ground was not a Mall, I had holes in my shoes then, most of the time, avoiding stepping on the sheep droppings where the flocks were driven through the town to be butchered, past the row of old abandoned stone houses... now refurbished at my most recent visit. "They wont last," a friend tells me... on my return seventeen years on now... " they're built of crap".

Some surprise, the new Ireland like the new everywhere seems a veneer of crap - bright Formica over rich old oak, - veneer on press wood ready to mulch as the Irish mists have their way with them.
But I know I am traveling there again. not on a plane to the Eire nua, of cable TV and hot showers, but the Ireland I so loved of cold water taps and bread baked in the ash of the turf fire moored in the open hearth.

Sure I know it was hard and people crave comfort, but for me, for me, I was never, never ... never more happy, no I lie, once I was... a secret dear and deep in my heart, not secret for my want or shame but an enforced secret by those who don't care... but I was so happy then, holes in my shoes and all as Genie my dearest love and I would walk and hitch and walk again the many miles from Scragg in Dingle to Listowl, oh to see again THOSE days of the races at Listowl... busk for a week, I had hunger on me, and dreamed of food and drink.... but I did not know poverty as I know it... so sharply now.

All I really needed I could get, make or make do without. And no piper ever died of thirst. Back then there was always a pint, more pints than a human could drink... set down in front of you... "give us the long note boy..." the pipers welcome and the pipers, welcome. So now, in bitter loneliness, broken only by a moment with dear friends, two dear friends dear hearts tonight, I will go awhile home to Ireland of my youth, lamented and lost, and I will breath, breath in so deeply the sweet morning air, and watch the sun set in a torrent of flames ( like Siobhan O'Connor's hair ) behind the Three Sisters, Brandon Creek, Skellig Michael, beyond... I will go there, eyes closed and pray I do not fall asleep, for even in my dreams I cannot escape this this New York, and all the false hopes and false hearts within... this cold century just begun.

A silver gray morning... all that is not light and fog etched like a razor on my eyes, I still see their orange sou'westers as the hammering of the engine reaches my ears... you live in my mind... even if the child, the song is dead. Malli Dhonn.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rainer Maria Rilke Fear of the Inexplicable

But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished

the existence of the individual; the relationship between

one human being and another has also been cramped by it,

as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of

endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the

bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone

that is responsible for human relationships repeating

themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and

unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new,unforeseeable

experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.

But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes

nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation

to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively

from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of

the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident

that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a

place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and

down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous

insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in

Poe's stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons

and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.

We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about

us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.

We are set down in life as in the element to which we best

correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of

years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we

hold still we are, through a happy mimicry,scarcely to be

distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to

mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors,

they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abuses belong to us;

are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we

arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us

that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now

still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust

and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those

ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into

princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses

who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps

everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless

that wants help from us.

Justice and God

A couple of really dear friends and I were having a laugh last night on the concept of God's justice... stay with me on this, it starts with a joke, but I think there is justice... of sorts... in God...

Well, says I something like this, "look at this world where lions eat you if they can... so many look to justice in the after life. If the natural world reflects God's justice, we can expect something like crocodiles chasing us down and eating our souls as soon as we get there..."

But... is there really a natural law of justice? Sure there is, but it is written into our genes as a social animal... empathy. Do unto others etc. . So, the problem is, we all crave justice, deeply crave it, but justice begins, not with do right by me, but do right by the other. Well, maybe a little of both, "if I am not for myself who will be for me, if I am only for my self, who am I?"

Problem is so many people are just for themselves. They live completely in a land of me. Then one day, they wonder why the world does not work for them, literally. Or, they get so good at amassing things, that they can buy the work of huge numbers of people to get them more of what they want. I notice these folks, big rich driven folks, often have multiple marriages, can't understand why they are never happy...

Justice is simple, but getting to simple is hard. One has to look inside, with a commitment to really see what is there. One can't be so afraid of one's insides that you strike out when others try and help. Secrets kill your soul. As Jesus said... " if you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you..."

Justice begins with each of us, inside.

Monday, June 13, 2005

No Victory in Congress over Lynching

Today Congress apologized for not passing an anti lynching law, in the past when there were lynchings... Tell the Family of Mathew Sheppard that lynch mobs are a thing of the past.

Why do humans lynch? Fear and guilt. The community of individuals who lynch start with guilt... remember that the "patriot fathers" were slave owners and cast themselves as living under England's chains? Well, promises were broken to the Black community, lives destroyed, the greatest betrayals of history, the offspring of rape where denied by their fathers... the guilt was overwhelming, and who can own up to their own guilt, so the victim is an object of fear. How can I look at this one I so harmed, so the person is destroyed. Scapegoated for the broken contract of the oppressor.

So... why is it a victory to apologize for the past, when the scapegoating persists. Big lynchings and small, we pass our guilt onto the ones we have already hurt. Fear... fear to face our own prejudices, our own past history, our own past patterns ... so we lash out, we grow to hate what we fear, and what we fear... starts deep inside us. A friend once said we become what we hate the most. Yes, but frankly we ARE mostly what we project from fear onto others...
fear is the greatest barrier to perfect love.

A letter from my friend John Edminster

Jesus Christ Forbids War
*Christianity armed is Christianity falsified.*

The gospel that God gives to men and women through Jesus Christ is a message of peace, and _a gift of the power to live in peace._ What happens if weaccept this gospel is not that we are intimidated, forced, or persuaded by reason into laying downour weapons, but that we are transformed into new creatures. This new creature grows increasinglylike Jesus Christ,1 of whom it is, indeed, now a "member" in the sense that an arm, a leg or aneye is a member of a human body.2 Jesus accepted torture and death at the hands of his enemies rather than defend Himself by force, and it should come as no surprise that His disciples taught their own disciples _not_ the arts of self-defense, but a way of accepting suffering as given fromthe hand of God,3 a trustworthy God who will one day "wipe away all tears from our eyes."4 And sothe living Christ teaches us today - to accept suffering without seeking to inflict it. This isOne said to be "the same yesterday, and today, and forever,"5 so if we fancy that He's come aroundto a more "realistic" view of warmaking since Biblical times, we'd better think again.For Jesus Christ taught His hearers not to fight back against evil, but to love their enemies.6The Biblical records tell us that when two disciples urged revenge on villages that had refusedthem hospitality, Jesus rebuked them, saying that He had come "to save men's lives, not to destroythem."7 Though He drove the moneychangers from the temple like trespassing cattle, there is noindication that He injured them.8 When a party of His enemies came to arrest Him and one of His defenders cut off an enemy's ear, Jesus disarmed the defender and healed the ear.9 Finally, whenthe combined forces of the priesthood and the occupying army had crucified Jesus, He prayed fromthe cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."10To become a member of this Person is to become incapable of waging war. War and fighting, taughtthe Apostle James, come from uncontrolled desires, and the determination to snatch by force whatGod may not be granting because it is not in our best interests to have it.11 Though we areadmonished to show respect and obedience to the civil authorities,12 we are also warned to take nopart in the "futile works of darkness,"13 and in all cases we must choose obedience to God overobedience to men and women.14Today a great lie is masquerading in Christ's robes. It sits in the seats of American state power,and among many American Christians that support the United States' wars, deliberate injustices anddeceits, as if oblivious that these are the works of Antichrist. We - America's voters, taxpayers,consumers - are all complicit in the destruction of cities, the accidental firing on weddingparties and innocent children, the murder of detainees hung by their wrists from the ceiling, andthe sending of our own young people to die in a war evidently sold to us on fraudulent claims. Themore clearly we see it, the uglier it gets. But it mirrors us: our self-satisfaction, our small integrity, our heedless and self-centered everyday lifestyle choices that call for thecontinued binge-guzzling of Middle Eastern oil by the American economy. One might see this lastitem as part of a larger pattern of importing pleasure and exporting pain, whereby we in theUnited States also enjoy cheap consumer goods often produced by sweatshop or slave laborelsewhere. At the heart of our condition stands a willingness to say, "let us do evil, so thatgood can result from it."15 To say this is to serve two masters, which Jesus warned us we cannot do.16 The one master is God,who speaks to every human soul through the conscience. The other master is the spirit of thissleepwalking world, which allows double standards, tells us "I'm OK - you're OK" no matter how welive, and tries to reassure us, if we believe in a God, that God sees things just as we do.17 Thustheologians have long made themselves popular by arguing for a "sensible" double standard ofbehavior, a turn-the-other-cheek for private individuals and a go-ahead-and-kill for rulers andtheir hirelings. Thus your Christian neighbor "homogenizes" the Bible, pulling divine approvals ofwar out of pre-Christian scriptures, ignoring Jesus' clear message that He had come to teach adeeper and more compassionate understanding of the preexisting Law.18This "let us do evil that good may come of it" is a temptation always knocking at the believer'sdoor, ever seductive because we are so terrified of standing unarmed in an armed world anddepending solely on the protection of God - even though that protection is very real. As we'veseen described above, even Jesus' disciples failed to grasp the spirit of His message - callingfor revenge, defending Him with violence - so we should hardly be surprised to find Christians oflater ages falling into such error. Jesus knew our potential for self-deception. He told Hisflock, "the time comes that whoever kills you will think that he offers service to God."19 The apostle Paul clearly repudiated "carnal warfare" and "carnal weapons" many times,20 but latergenerations seem to have treated his statements as mere pious rhetoric. With the conversion of theRoman emperor Constantine in 312 - "Saint Constantine" to some - it became acceptable to mixChristianity with domination by the sword, and by the time of Aquinas's _Summa Theologica_ in theThirteenth Century, the "just war" theory had become standard Christian doctrine. Christians whosought to reclaim their original nonviolent tradition over the centuries were often silenced orkilled, but ultimately the Anabaptists, Quakers and others in the modern era rediscovered it,stood by it, and survived - though only as a minority. The peace testimony that such faithful ones recovered from the life and ministry of Jesus israrely preached on street corners, because it can't be promoted like a political program, withappeals to self-interest or humane ideals. For it can't be separated from the gospel faith inwhich it is rooted, which converts us into a "new creature" capable of both understanding it andliving it, filled with an infectious inner peace21 that endures, with God's help, as well underoppression or martyrdom as under outward liberty. But the old creature can neither understand norlive it: "the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness."22 And this is the glorious gospel that provides the only reliable alternative to the world'swarfare: _that the God that made you wants you to come home_ to Him, Her, It - God is all ofthese, and more - _at the end of your earthly wanderings. That God means you to enjoy the peace,knowledge, and joy of the Divine Fullness, beyond time and change.23 That God dwells in yourheart, sees through your eyes, and knows your every thought_ - yes, including all the ones youwish no one knew. _But there is not a foolish, or shameful, or evil thing you have done, or wishedto do, or willingly had others do for you, that God is not willing to forgive, so that it may nolonger keep you from perfect enjoyment of your heavenly inheritance._ But to receive thisforgiveness, you must turn to God and ask to be "freed from your sins" - which means not onlybeing forgiven for the past, but also being freed of the compulsion to repeat the same errorsagain and again.For this reason, people that have experienced this "repentance to salvation"24 have described itas being "born again"25 or being given "a new heart."26 However, this process does not magicallyleave us immune to temptation, or incapable of error or further growth. We must still "work outour salvation with fear and trembling."27 But from now on, whenever we find ourselves lacking inthe courage, or wisdom, or faith to do what God asks of us, we learn that God will give it to usmerely for the asking.28 This means that we are free to live without our old defenses, "wise asserpents, and harmless as doves."29 For no one harms us except by "power given from above,"30 sothat we may say with the Psalmist, "I will not fear what flesh can do to me."31 This is the essence of the "good news" of salvation in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again tofree us from slavery to sin, and who still lives, teaches, and reigns as king in the hearts ofthose here on earth who accept Him32 - whether as Jesus, as God, as Higher Power, or under someother name. This new life in Christ is a good life, the best of lives; but it requires us to dieto the old self we knew,33 and so frightens many not ready for it. This is why so many of uschoose what might be called Religion Lite, which gives us formulas for relating to our God butallows us to keep conforming to the everyday world, which is run by force, ruled by fear, andstinking with injustice. But Religion Lite will fail us in trouble and death, and must be outgrownand discarded, along with most of our former opinions about how the world might be "fixed."This is a time of great fear. As a civilization we have responded to it shamefully, and asindividuals, inadequately. Our actions, and inactions, have injured many, and, as all the world'sreligions have taught, we must reap as we have sown.34 _Will we repent in time?_ Will Christ tellus, on that final day when He confronts us, "inasmuch as you did this to these, you did it toMe?"35 John Jeremiah Edminster, 6/11/ responses welcomed.NOTES1 2 Cor. 3:18: "And all of us... are being transformed into the image that we reflect in brighterand brighter glory...." 2 For "membership," see John 15:1-11, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 4:24,Colossians 3:10.3 See Hebrews 12:5-11, which refers to divine "chastisement" or "training" as meant for ourbenefit; or 1 Peter 2:19-24, 3:17, and 4:12-14. Cf. Job 2:10, "If we take happiness from God'shand, must we not take sorrow too?" This does not mean we are not to witness against injusticedone to ourselves. But "vengeance is mine, says the Lord," Romans 12:19.4 Revelation 7:17, 21:4.5 Hebrews 13:8. Cf. Malachi 3:6a: "For I am the Lord, I change not."6 Matthew 5:39, 44. This passage (Matt. 5:38-48) also appears, with minor variants, at Luke6:27-36.7 Luke 9:51-56.8 Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-17. 9 Luke 22:49-51, John 18:10-11.10 Luke 23:34.11 James 4:1-3. Hindu tradition has a thought-provoking parallel to this teaching, Bhagavad-Gita3:36-39.12 Paul argues for honor and obedience to sword-bearing rulers in Romans 13, but none at the timewere Christian; it does not follow, and never did, that Christians should become sword-bearingrulers themselves.13 Ephesians 5:11; cf. 2 Cor. 6:17, "Get away from them, purify yourselves, says the Lord. Do nottouch anything unclean, and then I shall welcome you."14 This was stated by Peter and other apostles before the high priest at Jerusalem, Acts 5:29.15 It cannot be stressed enough that the Apostle Paul called this sort of reasoning "damnable,"Romans 3:8.16 Matthew 6:24: "he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the firstand despise the second."17 Psalm 50:16-21: "But to the wicked God says... you thought that I was one like yourself. Butnow I rebuke you...."18 Thus Christians quote "an eye for an eye" (Ex. 21:24, Lev. 24:20, Deut. 19:21) or cite theNoachian covenant (Gen. 9:6), as if ignorant that Jesus had proclaimed a new and better way,Matthew 5:38, no longer tolerating concessions formerly given "for the hardness of your hearts,"Matthew 19:8.19 John 16:2-3: "They will do these things because they have never known either the Father or me."20 See Romans 12:17-21; 1 Corinthians 4:10-13; 2 Cor. 10:3-6; Galatians 5:14, 19-25, 6:10;Ephesians 4:26-27. 31-32, 5:11, 6:11-18; Philippians 2:3, 14-15, Colossians 3:8, 15; IThessalonians 4:8, 5:22, and especially I Thess. 5:15: "See that none render evil for evil untoany man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men."21 John 14:27, Philippians 4:7.22 1 Corinthians 1:18.23 See, for example, Romans 14:17, Ephesians 3:14-19, and Revelation 10:6.24 2 Corinthians 7:10.25 Jesus tells Nicodemus "you must be born again," John 3:3; cf. 1 Peter 1:23.26 This image comes from Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26.27 Philippians 2:12.28 Regarding our want for wisdom, see James 1:5. The prayer "increase our faith" is recorded atLuke 17:5.29 Matthew 10:16.30 John 19:11, Jesus' answer to Pilate's claim to have power either to crucify or to release him.31 Psalm 56:4.32 "God" (not "Christ") is named as the Savior in much Judeo-Christian scripture (including Isaiah45:21-22, Hosea 13:4, Luke 1:47). Over the centuries, many Christians have argued that salvationmay be given to souls that do not identify their Savior as Jesus. Cf. 1 John 4:7, "every one wholoves is a child of God and knows God."33 Matt. 16:24-25, 19:21-26; John 3:3-8, 12:24-26; Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:1-5.34 Known to Hinduism and Buddhism as the law of Karma, this principle appears in Christianscripture at Gal. 6:7, Rom. 2:6, 2 Cor. 9:6. Cf. Job 4:8, and Rev. 13:10b, "He that killeth withthe sword must be killed with the sword."35 Matthew 25:31-46.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Arranmore... a new song

On Novemeber 9, 1935 a boat went down on the way to Arranmore. We used to speak about this event often in the west of Ireland, it was one of those things that came up again and again as boatmen spoke at night... Lately, for some reason, I am often thinking about the west of Ireland, of little villages, the flow and soothing sounds of conversation in Gaelic, the smell of the sea beyond the pub door... the feel of being alive, down below deck, drinking tea and speaking of all that ever was in the ocean around you, the history and the people, and I have found myself often thinking about drowning. I was there once before, under the cold salt water... and the memory has been present with me for some time now...

Well, this song came to me yesterday on a train... wrote it down and hoped no one would notice me weeping.

Arranmore Boat Disaster
words by Lorcan Otway (all rights reserved)
Tune traditional

My senses are filled with the smell of the ocean
The boat is alive with the dance of the water
With heart pounding worry at the dark night crossing
coming back home to Arranmore Island

I'm clutching my wee bag all wrapped up in oilskin
spray wets my face as we slide down the face
of black ocean swells leaving Burtonport harbour
coming back home to Arranmore Island

I'm shoulder to shoulder with all of the others
just in my teens and returning from Scotland
from hoking the tatties for miserable wages
coming back home to Arranmore Island

Out on the black night between sea and the stars
the sail fills with wind and we scud o're the water
happy to see the lights of the cabins
coming back home to Arranmore Island.

A squall hits our boat with sharp gusts and hail
we're sure of our boat but scared of the ocean
the boat rolls and rights with half of us drowned
coming back home to Arranmore Island

Hanna cries out as the sail pulls us over,
we're dragged over rocks then under the water
I'm dreaming of home and warm glowing hearthside
coming back home to Arranmore Island

We watch by the hearthside as our parents are keening
torn by the tears of sisters and brothers
as we whisper our grief on the wind from the water
coming back home to Arranmore Island.

I found this site about the Arranmore Boat disaster while checking my memory after writing the song...

“We had one bottle of stout on the mainland. Bhí bagáiste leo agus presents so the boat was full. It was dark as we left the port for home about 5.30 in the evening, there was no lights on perches in them days. The seamen would take their markers from lights on Inis Caorach and on Arranmore. Bhí an ghaoth linn.... a heavy hail shower came..... it was very dark..... bhuail muid carraig and she capsized, when she righted herself there was 9 on her. But she went again d'imigh sí arís. She was rolling through the rocks you see and the sail was taking her over. My brother Mickey pulled me out of the water back on the boat fear mór láidir a bhí ann. Ach d'imigh sí arís. This time I was the only one who got back on her, chonaic mé m'athair d'átháin mé a blagaid. I could do nothing for him I tried to pull him up on the overturned boat ach níor thug sé cuidiú ar bith dom he was dead. I pulled up Johnny my brother. Thosaigh Johnny ag caoineadh agus ag caint faoin ár mháthair.”

Edward Gallagher (61) their father.
Mickey (29) their brother.
Madgie (28) their sister.
Eddie (24) their brother.
Charlie (20) their brother.
Hannah (16) their sister.
John Gallagher (20) their 1st cousin.
Donal Gallagher (27)
Hannah (21)
Manus (17)
Tony Gallagher (17)
Ned (15)
Katie O Donnell (45)
Paddy (44)
Peter Leonard (61)
Seán O Donnell (50)
Eamonn Ward (51

Love Trust and Prejudice

Well... I am beginning to understand.

Many Black friends speak of the pain of not being trusted by White people, no matter how well dressed, what good life led, what job held, going into a store and being followed, watched... not trusted. The same is true in deep friendship or love. Love and friendship must be based on trust.
No one who has not experienced the pain of being judged by the actions of others can understand that pain. Friends... please ... just be present and open to each other - the pain caused by such treatment is greater than can be understood or born.

Friday, June 10, 2005

dreams of a grain of sand

A grain of sand sat ... one of many, on a beach until a strong storm-driven wind picked it up and carried it along.

"Oh... this is what I was made for... to fly...! " thought the grain of sand...

Then the wind dropped the grain of sand into the sea. At first the grain of sand was scared, all was green and shimmering, then darker and darker as the grain of sand drifted down...

" I will fall forever... " thought the grain of sand...

Then the grain of sand found the bottom of the ocean...

" At least I can fall no further" thought the grain of sand...

But being heavier than the ooze at the bottom of the sea, the grain of sand began to sift down... into darker darkness and farther from hope... there the sand dreamed of a rupture in the earth, to be heated into glass, to be tossed up onto the beach again, to be found and made into a glass ornament, a heart, knowing that some day the ornament would fall and be broken ... abandoned to start again.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Dorcha tusa amhain

Wake... oh where are you, Ganesh...?
Shiva dances without your balance.
Her dance began with sorrowful wailing
so that kind hearts rushed to her
then her dance was fueled by hot anger
and kind hearts were consumed
then her dance was accompanied by
horrific laughter of greed unrestrained...
If I call out to you, oh Krishna! will I find
you have become the destroyer of worlds?
Is the Ghost Dance come to pass?
Has Shiva nothing more to consume
but Shiva herself?

Chaos and Unity ( response to email cont. )

My friend who emailed me about chaos and unity, see the note in the email to a friend, sites Jean Luc Nancy in his description of chaos over unity... I've skimmed the article and wish to really sit with it... but right off the bat... Quaker unity is not about conformity to each other, it is rather unity in accepting our differences, and the problem arises when Friends so look at the conflict that divides them that they loose all sight and hope of Quaker unity, they deny the basic reason we are Friends. We are not Quakers to walk in lock step, we are Quakers to walk together in love. More on this when I can figure out how to print and read this friend's article

From Thomas...

53 [48]. Jesus says: "If two people are with each other in peace in the same house, they will say to the mountain: 'Move!' and it will move."

(50) Jesus said: If they say to you: Whence have you come?, say to them: We have come from the light, the place where the light came into being of itself. It [established itself], and it revealed itself in their image. If they say to you: Who are you?, say: We are his sons, and we are the elect of the living Father. If they ask you: What is the sign of your Father in you?, say to them: It is movement and rest.

Running at the football again

Well, you know the cartoon, Charlie Brown runs at the football. Lucy promises this time she will not jerk it away, she does, he lands on his back....

I've lost count of the band members I counted on, who made commitments to any degree, then are gone, and I am left trying to figure out how to keep the commitments the band has made... Well, I've been spending more and more time teaching new band members and less and less time booking the band or making money. I feel like I am running a busking school.

Once again, how many times even this summer? I've lost count. The new guitar player, I taught to almost play Irish music, play well enough the audience responded big at the Lower East Side festival, enough that he made a decent amount of money busking these past several weeks... well, long and short of it, Friday left for Vermont to not play at a wedding I had committed to play at... ( lovely wedding by the way... ) all was well with the band, Monday I return with a few gigs in New Hampshire... no guitar player... gone, not a word, no contact.

So, here I am lying on my back on a pleasant stretch of grass looking up at the blue sky, birds singing, sun shining, and Lucy kneeling over me with the football raised in her hands. I am hearing all the words of the many many band members who promised so very much in so many different ways, even promised never to do to me what the others had done... and all I can think of is at least this last time, I did not hit my head on a rock when I fell on my back ( several times it felt just like hitting me ol' gray head on a rock, believe me! )

So, what to do.

Well, laugh at my folly and pain and run at the football again, and keep doing it until I have nothing left to run at it with... why?

A friend asked why I was laughing after a band member went missing a while ago...

because there is F***all else to do.

Bring on the clowns of uncertainty.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

False hearts and true

Larry the Kwakersaur and I have sent back and forth a few emails on marriage, and love, and love of our wives... and frankly, the only thread between me and the final dispair is the true heartedness of my Genie. Our life together is not perfect, we see almost nothing of one another... but there is a reciprocation of trust and love. When either of us is needy and needful the other trys... the other bends, and feels the pain of the other...

This is rare. So many are takers in this life... as Dylan sang

You've got a lot of nerve, to say you are my friend
when I was down, you just stood there grinning...

So many take when they are in need, and then foster a burning resentment of any who helped them, and to prove they are not in any way in debt, no matter how that person tells them there is no debt, they seek to punish the helper for their care. They are not content to simply turn away, they must harm the helper with all their might and anger. My father used to say the cripple hates nothing more than his crutch.

And for those who try so hard to help in life, the stones flung back by those you care for are many, and Genie has stood by me through out. Some of us are very easy to hurt.

That's love with all its perfection in two imperfect people

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Response to an email:

From the way you run yourself down, I might give you a caution regarding the new relationship...

Most people have a cartoon image of sadism and masochism. Masochists will trade all that they are, all the power over their life, for the least small recognition of their humanity. Sadists, pour themselves into a masochist's life in order to buy control, and are careful what is given back in exchange, never giving an ounce of mutuality ( another word for unity, the word with which you don't seem comfortable ). The ultimate control over the other is, that after the sadist has taken from the masochist all that the sadist wants, the masochist is abandoned, destroyed and tossed away, often being made to feel by the sadist, that it was all the fault of the masochist in the first place, the ultimate violence being the destruction of the masochist's sense of self.

Often the sadist uses subtle tools, making the masochist believe that all they do causes the sadist pain, and projecting that to the world around them. The proof is in who really has the power in the relationship. The sadist is always... always in complete control, no matter the great show of emotional vulnerability.

I don't think either sadists or masochists are happy doing what they do, the compulsion to do this is unconscious, but I have hope and faith that people can stop doing this to each other by the intervention of reason. Silly me.

Monday, June 06, 2005

From the book of Thomas...

33 [28]. Jesus says: "I stood in the midst of the world, and in the flesh I manifested myself to them. I found them all drunk; I found none athirst among them. And my soul was afflicted for the children of men. Because they are blind in their heart and do not see, because they have come into the world empty, they seek still to go out from the world empty. But let someone come who will correct them! Then, when they have slept off their wine, they will repent."

Ryan... & Quacarol continued...

More on Ryan's question, and also Quacarol's quesiton, what is Quaker process...

I am fond of quoting the Elders of Balbay, as is Richard, who kindly posted their advices on his blog...

15.That all Friends that have callings and trades, do labour in the thing that is good, in faithfulness and uprightness, and keep to their yea and nay in all their communications: and that all who are indebted to the world, endeavour to discharge the same, that nothing they may owe to any man but love one to another.

16.-That no-one speak evil of another, neither judge one against another; but rather judge this, that none put a stumbling-block or occasion to fall in his brother's way.

17.-That none be busy bodies in others' matters, but each one to bear another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ; that they be sincere and without offence, and that all things that are honest, be done without murmuring, and disputing, that you may be blameless and harmless. the sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, amongst whom they may shine as lights in the world.

So... keep your yea and nay ... don't promise until you know your mind... know yourself... promises really do mean things in other people's lives, especially the big promises, life changing promises... but also the end of that 15th advise is more than keep your own promises... it is, I think, don't hold another indepted to a promise... there is nothing more distructive than saying "you said you would... " It is the fear of this phrase that causes resentment... expect from each other, desire from each other, only love.

Advise 16... oh those stumbling blocks... anger, gossip, cliques... all those inner weapons we see so often in our meetings...

Advise 17... bear another's burdens... here we are in a truly perverse nation that allows a person to go sick, hungry, lonely in a land that judges success by how much you get for yourself, not how much you help others... we Friends are meant to be an island of hope in this perverse world. When a Friend notices another, ill, for example, and poor, it is an obligation to get that person medical help, and when we do that, we build a strong enough community to help beyond ourselves more and more... Often Friends are so busy with the greater world ... we seem to overlook each other's needs...
Be there for each other, because what goes around comes around, to paraphrase Hill el...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Well, Ryan.... thinking about it as I drive...

Ryan asked me today if the Quaker process could work between nations, both of us seem to be in some doubt on this, right now, as yet, and Ryan I have given it thought.

Nations and people seem to work the same way. We never go to war saying, I want to dominate your trade and take your raw materials, rather we say, you people did this to us, and therefore we are going to beat you down... and by the way, after the fact, no one will notice, we get our way about trade and raw materials...

I think it comes down to wanting one's way without guilt or compromise. Nations and people wish to have things their way, to be able to break promises and serve their own interests, and not feel guilty for doing so, and so, the other party must be vilified, and in so doing, the idea of clearness is not an option, self reflection does not serve that process well at all.

I keep looking for a logical solution to conflict, even in our Quaker meeting, though, few want logic and truth, they want their own way without guilt, and logic and unity be damned.
Quick answer after a long drive from ALbany...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A few of the songs I have written since Nov.,

Leaving the Monkey House

Lorcan Otway all rights reserved.

Taking Leave of the monkey house
Going out on my own
As miles pass the bus window
I'm not so sure I'm grown
Was warm in the monkey house
tumble of kids in my hair
lucky littlest monkey you'll
be the last to leave there

Working for rent now
in the big city
dole out the coffee while
I dream of family
warm little monkey house
in pictures from home
slow down little monkeys now
don't rush to be grown

Christmas is coming now
and a quick visit home
so hard to go back again
now I'm feeling so grown
warm little monkey house
if I go - I may stay
but I have to be grown up now
drop in and go away

Dear little monkey house
red clay's a part of me
too wet or to dry to farm
all that easily
warm little monkey house
so hard to feed us all
but you were so good to me
when I was so small

Brunswick Brumerboy

Come all ye reinactors, who follow fife and drum
A story I will tell ye, so pass me up the rum
It's all about the adventures of me mother's pride and joy
She ner, thought that I'd become the Brunswick drummerboy

When I was a wee girl, still chewing on me thumb
I was captivated truly by the rolling of the drum
The fifes they did twitter this I really did enjoy,
but the fighting 69th made me the Brunswick drummer boy

The sergeant was a scout leader, a gruff and cheerless man
He oft times would gaze at me, as the drum head I would fan
His orders he would bark, till he saw me standing by
The Brunswick drummer boy would make that burly sergeant sigh

We camped in the field and we camped in the glen
and I pitched me tent with oh so many men
But I never had to chop wood, or fill me own canteen
for the sergeant he would wait on me, The drummer boy colleen

In the heat of the battle, I'd throw him a sly wink
and laugh to myself as I'd see his spirit's sink
For he never knew my secret, and his sense it did destroy
when he thought he fell in love with, the brunswick drummerboy

He resigned his scout troop, he shaved his poor old head
and I really was afraid that he'd resort to eating lead
but, he joined act up and ILGO, he proposed to me so coy
and told me that he loved, his Brunswick drummerboy

I invited him to my flat, just to let him down,
and I met the sergeant there, in my favorite evening gown
I took him by the hand, and I told him I was a maid
But I really couldn't love you, poor sergeant I'm afraid

Now this tale is over, and I hope that you'll not complain
And give me a little time, while another dram I'll drain
and if you go a soldiering, and music you enjoy
Here's health to you fine fellows from the Brunswick drummerboy

Màili dhonn

Seisd: Chorus:
Màili dhonn, bhòidheah dhonn,
Màili dhonn,
thill i dhachaidh
Gruagach òg a chùil duinn,
Dh' eireadh m'intinn air t'fhaicinn.

Mary’s Sean fished a trawler,
And he named her after Mary
Fine a craft as ever sailed
From the shipyards of West Kerry

The Buisness men in Belgim
Say our fishing is poaching
while in the lea of our harbours
Dannish trawlers are encroaching

I watched him slip his lines
To fish where seas are still free
two hundred miles off shore
past the common market's boundry

Clearing Innish Vic Illan,
Seven Brothers and the Skelligs
Bear South West to meet the swells
Building up from the Antarctic


The glass is falling fast
and the winds are now lashing
as the night closes in
sheets of lightning now are flashing


Though the seas pound our shores
like many long guns a-blazing
still I know he'll return
red storm tris'le he'll be raising


We have lost all our gear
and our engine is drowned
and we pray for our wives
that our bodies will be found


I will watch for my Sean
I'll keep watch here on Sleahead
there'll be seagulls in his wake
then this black shawl I will shed

Gura mise tha gu tinn,
Cùl mo chinn air an leacann,
Bha mi (i) reimhe rotach, garbh
Air an fhairge 'gam marcachd.

Whatever can I give to Thee

Whatever can I give to thee, that ever could compare
with all that thee has given me, so far above my share
and now I look with wonder at, the world thee made anew
what can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me

Whatever could I give to thee, for teaching me to know
a hundred thousand simple things, which calmed me in such woe
And as I pray to find a way, to thank thee tenderly
What can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me.

When others take and turn away, in greed or fears they hide
and thy heart is aching for a place to safely bide
I'll ever be a glade to thee, in forests of dark paths
What can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me

And when I have to see thee go, to seek thy life and love
I'll open up my hand and heart, for thee to fly my dove
And as thee soars towards distant shores, my joy flies o'er the sea
What can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me.

True story... there is a light house in the middle of New York Harbor. Kitty's husband was the keeper of the light... he died... she was left... she tended the light and saved mariners washed up on Robbin's reef in her small boat...

Tune... Molly Bawn...
I was alone in the water, the blackness all around,
I could not find dry land, till thy becon I found
It sprang forth from thy tower, and shattered the night
And I swam towards the warmth of thy soul saving light

As I cling to the sharp rocks, waves break o'er me...
so many of my ship mates are lost in the sea
but I can see thy shadow, as thee climbs to the light
and I know thee will find me as thee watches in the night
Oh I know thee is faithful, now never yealding to fright
As thee tends to thy becon, my Kitty o' the light

Every inch of my being, on this reef has been flayed
Each hope in my bosom, the seas torment has now frayed
Still I call out thy name, though I know thee can't hear,
Oh kitty launch thy small boat, oh kitty come near

My voice weak from salt water, my soul nearly fled
the hands that still anchor me, are but dead things of lead
But I know thee will look down, from thy tower above
And save this poor mariner, dear angel sweet dove

Now my body is slipping, deeper into the wave
My blood streams down the rocks, there little left to save
But I feel thy strong hands as thee lifts me from my fate
Oh Kitty, my dear Kitty, I knew thee'd not come late

When life's troubles engulf me, and my voyage seems unfair
I look to thy light house, and picture thee there
Oh Kitty, dear Kitty, thy strength and God's might
Will ever burn brightly, my Kitty in thy light
Kitty's verse
Don't look to the light keeper, or focus on the light
I but point to a safer channel in the dark of thy night
When adrift on dark waters, and thy hopes all take flight
I but point to the harbor, thy Kitty of the light.


Once there was a maid and a very pretty maid
and she lived all alone with her father in a gladeA poor miller he was and she did as he bade
For a kind a good child was this pretty maid

The miller he was poor, and yet wanted to be more
he boasted and he bragged weaved tales and he swore
Till his stories finally crept inside the castle door
to the High King's table and wonders out did poor,

He bragged that his lass could weave straw into fine goldThis story unabashed this poor weaver had told
till summoned by king's men his daughter they did hold
And they locked her inside a tower dark and cold...

Weave oh weave this straw for me now,
Said the king to the maid, and I'll not ask ye how
And if no gold, in the morning I allow
Thee shall hang on that oak's broad bough

All alone in the cell, she bitterly did cry
how I should suffer for my father's foolish lie
how cold the hand of fate that I now must die
For such a task as this, only a fool would try

There came a voice like ice in the nightShe turned and spied in wonder and in fright
a tiny manikin, who bore a tiny light

He laughed and he danced to see her in her plight

What will ye give to me, if this task I will take on
This ring on me finger, is yours when the has done
He laughed and he said, before the morning sun
Thy gold I will weave, my little fair one

Whir whir, three turns and three times more
and gold spilled out onto the tower floor
Whir whir three turns and three turns more
and the reels filled up with a merry golden store

The king rejoiced to see his new found gold
But it was not enough, this poor girl he told
more straw more straw if your life dear you hold
For I must have more of this wonder I behold

That night she sat and cried alone in her cell
until the manikin returned to this Belle
What will ye give me, if I work my spell
My mother's necklace, and a cheerfully farewell

Whir whir, three turns and three times more
and gold spilled out onto the tower floor
Whir whir three turns and three turns more
and the reels filled up with a merry golden store

The king rejoiced again, and asked for her hand
If once again she's weave gold at his command
Again came the manikin and a boon he did demand
Her first born, to bear away into his land

So the gold filled the room and this maiden was wed
and taken she was to the Kings marriage bed
a year passed away and her heart felt cold as led
as she swelled with child, it's fate she did dread.

He came for the child, and she begged him give her time
Three days he said, then the child shall be mine
unless you guess my name, when the morning bell will chime
I will have thy babe for ever and all time

She sent her servant to search far and near
to gather every name, that ever he may hear
Bring to her each name, as common or as queer
that she might whisper it to manikin's ear

For two nights she tried each name that came to mind
but the manikin's name she would never find
until her ser vent saw like a little withered rind
the manikin dancing by his fire in the wind (wynde)

Today I bake, to morrow I will brew
The next day I will have the Queen's babe it's true
For I am glad no human born ever knew
Me name is Rumplestilzkin, she'll never find a clue

Next morning he did come to take away the babe
to raise the girl child in his lonely glade
He smiled and he chortled while the Queen she prayed
for he knew soon her hope of victory would fade

Caspar Balthazar Melchior, Hilltaine
Finbar, Fintan, Hotspur or Bill Baine
Bently Bentknee, Jobber or John Crame
Rumplestitzkin is that perhaps thy name

The devil told you that! the little man did cry
and he stamped his right foot in the earth up to his thigh
he grabbed his left leg and tore him self in two
There there I end my song, a gift from me to you

The child of winter

When I met the child the fall was upon us
Yet she was spring's sweet breeze in the wind and rain
her voice could paint the first blooms of April
Her gentle manner soothed the deepest pain

As the first snow fell we would sing together
and the winter's chill we both could keep at bay
we laughed and spoke of a thousand wonders
deep into the night, there was still more to say

But the world is full of such pain and sorrow
and misfortunes fell upon us like the bitter frost
and I felt the chill replace her child like wonder
and I prayed for spring before all love was lost

but the winter is long and her smiles all faded
and each treasured moment a forgotten dream
her heart grew distant as the days grew longer
swept away like melting snow in a mountain stream

and I pray if ever I meet this child again
it will be when the buds of spring adorn the trees
and we have a moment in the sun together
and our laughter float upon sweet scented breeze.

The song of the Child of Abraham

Abraham was a busker, on the streets of the town
his collar turned up and his capeen pulled down
and the song of his chanter was a lonely ol' sound
as he played Uilleann Pipes in the morning

I'm told I can sing, can I sing ye a song ( Other voice )
I'll sing one that's not very long (OV)
sing it then ( lor )
Can I sing ye a song from my home far away ( OV )
Your music takes me back there in a sweet way

Then into his world came this girleen so wild
she sang like an angel, in tones rich and mild
and he gave her his tunes as though his only child
as he played on his pipes in the morning

Your songs are like water pouring out of a stone ( other voice )
Your music it sings to my heart It's thy own ( lorcan )
I drink in your music just like rich Spanish wine (OV )
And a busker's free life makes the darkest day shine (OV)

To see them in song was a wonder and joy
the weary bent busker now brisk as a boy
their music, misfortune, in cold hearts would destroy
as they sang to the sun in the morning

But I have demons, I've fears in my night (OV)
people who've gripped me to tight (OV)
Yes I know (lorcan)
Your loneliness scares me, I don't want this to end (OV)
but my soul longs to drift along on the south wind (OV)

But children must grow or decay like the old
he knew that the gamin's heart was not his to hold
so he set this lark free, turned his face to the cold
alone with his pipes in the morning

I'm lost in the dark, now I haven't a song (OV)
I can't even give ye a smile (OV)
Pastine a gra, ( L )
I'm off down the road, I don't know where I'll be (OV)
Abraham, but I know that you can't follow me, (OV)
In some sweet secret glade he's laid down to rest
that part of his soul that was this child's nest
N'er there to return and he's doin' his best
to play ye a tune in the morning.

Ye sing in my soul, though we now have to part ( Lor )

I hear you in each beat of my heart ( L )

I can't hear ( other voice )

Pastine mo chroi, thy sweet music's with thee (Lor)

Though I play so alone every morning.

Genie's song I wrote the first two verses in the late seventies, lost the verse I wrote in the eighties, and now, 2005, a new verse...

Come here to me now, turn off the set awhile,
while I tell you of a time not to long ago
When my love and I sat spell bound by a tale
told by a man, the like of which our son will never know,
We'd walk to the square for a market or a fair,
and we'd wonder at the plenty or the prices
But in the chill morning air, there was nothing so fair
as the crys of the seagull or the Traveller's wives.

A red haired girl, a good reason not to fish
so it's off to the high fields for a pint, or two... or three
or late to Mass, standing in by the door, but I suppose
it's alright between God and me.
and the seas may be fierce and I fear for my life
but its better than fearing for my sanity.
So shoot the net and freeze, God send the salmon please
for this night is long and this half decker is cold.

Now the world we knew is gone, and sometimes we don't belong
in these times when the simple ways are lost in all the noise
But when I find I'm looking back, there no regret, for all that,
As I know, you stood beside me when the road was steep and cold
And I know that I failed you, though I never wanted to
and you know that you'll always be along with me
So if our gentle world is gone, we can both still carry on
For the road ahead's a wonder even though a mystery.

Harrum Doigh

I met a colleen on the hill, when all the world was dark and still
She winked at me and passed me by, and oh but she was looking sly

Colleen deas fair play to thee, and happiness where ere ye be
I'll ner forget that look ye gave till roses red adorn me grave

Roses I will nurture and me spirit paint with gentle hand
the colors of my love for thee who passed me by so casually

grant she picks a rose from there and weaves it in amongst her hair
that my soul may linger there, until the petals fall

The Faerie Child

One evening I wandered, the day being mild
My soul was enticed by a bright faerie child
She led me away with her laughter and song
she led me away from my sorrow

I thought I was safe and I thought all was well
as I followed she skipped to a green woodland dell
She new all my thoughts and she named all my cares
and her songs twined away every sorrow

It seemed but a moment, that we lingered there
then a cold wind swept by us, and tossled her hair
Her smile quickly faded, her eyes lost all love
her songs turned to mirrors of my sorrow

I awoke in the forest, alone and in pain
all joy from of the evening swept away by cold rain
The weight of long years I now suddenly knew
and I long for an end to all tomorrows.


I have always found great insight in the book of Thomas... takes a lot of the magic out of later Gospels...

Jesus to those who seek, he tells " if you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you..."

In the process of clearness, the fear to face the inner conflicts which cause outer conflict seems to me to be just that... bound up in fear to work through, face inner conflict, to be open to yourself as well as others, sews the seeds of rupture of lives...

when asked all the practical things of seeking, praying, fasting, unlike in latter gospels, Jesus only says, "Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate, for all things are plain in the sight of heaven." Here I am sure he is echoing Hill el, in saying do not do what you hate, he is not saying don't just do what you like to do, of course, but do not do unto others those things that are abhorrent to yourself, that is clear in the next line, that all we do is clear to God.

Elaine Pagels points out that in Thomas " Jesus rebukes those who seek access to God elsewhere, even - perhaps especially - those who seek it by trying to 'follow Jesus' himself. When certain disciples plead with Jesus to show us the place where you are, since it is necessary for us to seek it, he does not bother to answer so misguided a question and redirects the disciples away from themselves toward the light hidden within each person.
Equally important he says we are all his twin... all twins to each other in that sense... we are all equally within God... the God inside us...