Here be Dragons

Buen Camino

Walking down a dirt road just 20 miles in

And before we rest there’s 3 towns more

The sun is going down and my legs are going stiff

And I’m wondering what we’ve let ourselves in for

 

The threads of our lives are weaving round those we meet

All pilgrims on this ancient trail

A common destination no matter where we start

As we write another chapter in this tale

 

I’m gonna throw my boots away when I reach Santiago

I’m gonna sit right down and never get up

Wake, walk, eat and sleep – my mind has found stillness

But I’m going to throw my boots away

 

It’s easy to find peace on the top of a mountain

Or on a path through sunflower fields

Got to grab a little bit and keep it in my heart

As I head back to the urban battlefields

 

I’m gonna throw my boots away when I reach Santiago

I’m gonna sit right down and never get up

Wake, walk, eat and sleep – my mind has found stillness

But I’m going to throw my boots away

 

Buen Camino!

Here be Dragons

You earned your swallow after 5000 miles

With a wind-weathered tan and the salt in your hair

But the distance to come is what tugs at the heart

The dreaming and longing of a 1000 yard stare

 

It starts with a press gang in a Liverpool inn

Awaken to find yourself put out to sea

But this prison and captors are not what they seem

The ocean’s your mistress, but you’re finally free

 

Here be dragons!

In the empty spaces of the map

The great unknown expanses

Over the horizon at the edge of the world

Here be dragons

Looming large at the back of your mind

Growing, growing, growing

Here be dragons

 

Gale force winds they can shriek at your heart

Monsoon storms they can turn the sky black

We’re taking in water and the rudder is lost

Though the sails are in tatters, there’s no turning back

 

Typhoons and whirlpools and St. Elmo’s fire

Sent many a man to a watery grave

Serpents and kraken and lights in the sky,

But the greatest adventure is o’er the next wave

 

Here be dragons!

In the empty spaces of the map

The great unknown expanses

Over the horizon at the edge of the world

Here be dragons

Looming large at the back of your mind

Growing, growing, growing

Here be dragons

Holding my Breath

Take your time, we can take it slow

I just wanted to let you know that I love you

Not going to push, but I’ll be here

You’ve no idea how dear you are to me

 

Hold me again, like a warm

blanket in winter but I warn you

every time I’m falling deeper

And I find I’m struggling to breath

I’m holding my breath

 

Just say hi, my heart beats faster

My soul is full of laughter when you smile

I feel like crying yet I’m laughing inside

Waiting for you to decide where we go

 

Hold me again, like a warm

blanket in winter but I warn you

every time I’m falling deeper

And I find I’m struggling to breath

I’m holding my breath

Blackwater

Haul now with all your strength

You know this river, the breadth and the length

Haul now with all of your might

You know these currents by day or by night

 

The river’s long, but the night is young

The moon is bright and strong

They’re waiting at the Peldron Rose

We’ll make it back by dawn

 

The pond it holds a hidden well

To hide the contraband

Backy and brandy lowered down

Till the revenue men are gone

 

Bravery has got its risks

The gallows creak a curse

There’s nothing like a good hanging

To give a man a thirst

 

The king and crown are rich enough

Still they turn us over

But we’d rather go out young and drunk

Than 93 and sober!

 

Old Williams lies in a shallow grave

An acorn in his mouth

The mighty oak that from him grew

Stretches out from North to South

 

In death he reaches out his arms

And gives us all his shade

We pour a glass down on his roots

So his memory won’t fade

The Piper

Millen played “Road to the Isles” as we sailed to Normandy’s beach

Wading through the surf we died to the “Highland Laddie” ‘s refrain

Over the screams of mortars and men, the sound of courage remains

Armed with nothing but madness and luck, the piper marches on all the same

 

Pipers had long been a thing of the past, too easy to pick off as sport

You can only boost a soldier’s morale if you manage to play and not die

Lord Lovat’s defiance of the English war rules was typically devil-may-care

You and I are both Scottish, my lad, and that ruling just doesn’t apply

Over the screams of mortars and men the sound of courage remains

Armed with nothing but madness and luck, the piper marches on all the same

 

The only time that the bagpipes fell quiet was under sniper fire at de Caen

Lovet stalked and despatched him with ease and ordered the bagpipes to play

The pipes took shrapnel on the Pegasus Bridge as Millen walked down the length

Head held high, with his heart in his mouth, I watched him live through that day

Over the screams of mortars and men, the sound of courage remains

Armed with nothing but madness and luck, the piper marches on all the same

 

Millen played “Road to the Isles” as we sailed to Normandy’s beach

Wading through the surf we died to the “Highland Laddie” ‘s refrain

Over the screams of mortars and men, the sound of courage remains

Armed with nothing but madness and luck, the piper marches on all the same

 

Becalmed

Sun beating down
No breath of wind
Drooping sails and a deck like burnished bronze
Not a bird in the sky
No waves upon the sea
Just the creaking of the timbers
The lazy rattle of dice
Praying for the gentlest breeze
A touch across my face
The ringing of the captain’s bell
Or the rolling of the deck
There’s nothing left that can be done
Save rail against the empty skies
The fate of this voyage is not in our hands
We wait and wait and wait
Smooth horizon breached
By whale’s blow
Our quarry is safe
Out the range of the boats
40 barrels of oil
just out of reach
Maybe we’ll see you again
Farewell for now my friend
Praying for the gentlest breeze
A touch across my face
The ringing of the captain’s bell
Or the rolling of the deck
There’s nothing left that can be done
Save rail against the empty skies
The fate of this voyage is not in our hands
We wait and wait and wait

The Clearing

After 39 days on the lower deck, this desperate voyage takes its toll
The stench and heat of the darkness are enough to separate body from soul
We’ve got to believe that on these Western shores we can rebuild our lives with our hands
While the sheep and cattle they replaced us with roam free in our home land

The English stripped us our tartan and banned the music of the clans
When they collected our swords and bought up the farms, our fathers had to take a stand
Two thousand were slain on Culloden Moor by the butcher, Duke of Cumberland
But you’re a Scot, and to turn us out, you’ll be forever damned!

We’re sailing to Canada
Glengarry County bound
You’ve burned our bridges for us
Your indifference scorched the ground
We’re sailing to Canada
Glengarry County bound

Now we’re living in Nova Scotia – New Scotland is our home
Our children were born as natives here, no other life they’ve known
When the sunlight strikes the mountain range and sparkles on the dew
I can almost smell the heather but the burning thatch cuts through

We’re sailing to Canada
Glengarry County bound
You’ve burned our bridges for us
Your hatred scorched the ground
We’re sailing to Canada
Glengarry County bound

The Turn of the Tide

Dead silence fell

I’m a servant of the Secret Fire

Wielder of the flame of Anor

Dark fire won’t avail you here

 

Flame of Udun

Go back to the shadow

You cannot pass

 

Sword was shattered

Staff was splintered into dust

Together falling in the darkness

I smote his ruin on the mountain side

 

Flame of Udun

Go back to the shadow

You cannot pass

 

It was not the end

I felt light in me again

I have been sent back

Until my task is done

And I come back to you

At the turn of the tide

 

Darkness took me

Strayed out of thought and time

Stars wheeled overhead

I wandered far on roads I will not tell

 

Flame of Udun

Go back to the shadow

You cannot pass

 

It was not the end

I felt light in me again

I have been sent back

Until my task is done

And I come back to you

At the turn of the tide

Apollo

These are only mortal men
No different to you and I
Standing on the shoulders of giants
They reached up and challenged the sky

Metal wings and tail of fire
They rose into the night
What power pushed away the earth?
Babel’s tower was never so high


Echoes of Albion

The Green Man

Way back in time before memories
We lived in the fields of our birth
We nurtured the soil and the forests and trees
In return we lived off the earth

What is seen is not all there is
There are two realms intertwined
A spiritual world just out of sight But rarely far from mind

Closer still when the solstice came
Along ley lines and cairns of power
The mysteries of the spirit world
Came abroad for barely an hour

Brief shadows seen and the legends grew
A little perspective of our place in this scene
The balance of nature and spirit life
Respect for the space in-between

When the twilight comes and the worlds collide
That boundary between death and dark and life and light
The green man glimpsed in his ancient home
Out of the corner of the eye just out of sight – the green man

And now the chainsaws scream out their songs of hate
Commuters their willing slaves
The cranes they’ll run up a pirate’s flag
The bulldozers dig their unmarked graves

Shrines to money’s indifference
It’s gone further than anyone planned
Profit runs without boundaries
Spewing out concrete covering this land

When the twilight comes and the worlds collide
There’s nowhere left to roam
The green man cries from a far-off wood
Remembering his long-lost home – the green man

A wise man once prophesied to me
That we’ll rip up the roads and tear the buildings down
The forests will grow green and the streams will run clear
There’ll be healing and harmony all around

When the twilight comes and the worlds collide
There might be just enough space to roam
The green man can be glimpsed in a far-off wood
Walking back through his long-lost home – the green man

Lindow Moss

When the cold night is over it seems
And the curls of mist begin to glow
With the half-way forgotten paths of wakings and dreams
Where you traded the memories of another man’s soul

Offerings to heaven from the heather and peat
A soul takes root in ancient fen
The purchase of a year with two centuries of rest
Eyes open: contemplation of an end

The almost-human shapes of tree-roots
Tortured and screaming silently into the washed-out sky
Strangled and drowned by the rise of the dark loam
Brown brush erupts from the blackness below
Sharp fireworks of leaves, coloured and vivid
Crossing a monochrome background of ancient, grainy cine film

There’s no pain any more as the cold chill sets in
No fear now I’ve settled up on this course
My mind expands, diffuses and spills
Becomes greater and wider yet slower and greyer
There’s an unmatched peace and a gentle joy
Stiff muscles relax and eyelids drop
Sleep beckons – the rest of ages

The White Cliffs of Dover

62 ships, 10000 souls,
Sailing right out of the sun
The empire’s might sees the furious tribes
Lined up for the battle to come
No safe landing here

The fleet sails east to a landing at Walmer
The troops forced to swim from deep water
With the Britons attacking at range from the shallows
They’re heading right into the slaughter
No safe landing here

A talisman of hope to England’s friend
A beacon of welcome at long journey’s end
This green and pleasant land is guarded over
By the ancient watchmen of the white cliffs of dover

After 2000 years, a greater threat
Rises from out of the east
The country defends in blackouts and fear
From the air not only the seas
No safe landing here

Batteries of guns and listening posts
Bristle along the cliff
Circling above a hurricane wheels
The few become part of the myth
No safe landing here

A talisman of hope to England’s friend
A beacon of welcome at long journey’s end
This green and pleasant land is guarded over
By the ancient watchmen of the white cliffs of dover

No safe landing here

Boudicea

Daughter of sorrow, my ears have heard your cries
The shame of these days will be avenged I give my word
The treatment of your daughters is an outrage in my sight
And the hare will lead you on

Hares and foxes ruling over dogs and wolves
Nature’s order overthrown
Rise up and fight for your family and farm
And the hare will lead you on

Where I lead, the hare will follow
Towards victory and sorrow

I can see the future though it’s laced with autumn fog
And I promise you that Colchester will fall
Tear down the foreign temple and burn it to the ground
And the hare will lead you on

The hare will lead and you will follow
Towards victory and sorrow

The citizens of London will pay a higher cost
Take the town and kill them to the man
With the !gibbet, fire and bow you must purge the land of filth
And the hare will lead you on

The hare will lead and you will follow
Towards victory and sorrow
You will lead, and they will follow
Towards victory and sorrow
I will lead, and you will follow
Towards victory and sorrow

Further on grows dark and cold, I fear I cannot tell
Defeat’s bitter smell is rising high
“Death before slavery” that’s the cry, now raise your heads
And the hare will lead you on

I will lead, and you will follow
Towards victory and sorrow
I will lead, and you will follow
Towards victory and sorrow

Hadrian's Wall

There’s a wall
From the Tyne to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea
There’s a wall
Showing the empire’s might to the painted horde
There’s a wall
Projecting power, designed to over-awe
There’s a wall
Speaking more of fear than of authority

No way, not me, not you, not here, not now

There’s a wall
Not physical bricks, but built from heart and mind
There’s a wall
A deeper divide, wider than the sea
There’s a wall
Our fear is making us think we need to be free
There’s a wall
In our haste we lose the friends we leave behind

No way, not me, not you, not here, not now

Aberdour

Delightful to me to be on an island hill,
On the crest of a rock,
That I might watch the quiet sea
That I might watch the heavy waves
above the bright waters
As they chant to their Father

That I might watch its bright-bordered shore
That I might hear the cry of the strange birds
That I might hear the murmur of the long waves against the rocks
That I might hear the sound of the sea
Like mourning beside a grave

That I might watch the seals in well-watered seas
And view the mighty whales, the greatest wonder
That I might watch its ebb and flood, in their course
And my name should be “he who turned his back”

May I have a contrite heart, as I watch
That I might repent my many sins, hard to tell
That I might bless the Lord who rules all things
Heaven with its splendid host, earth, ebb, and flood

Runnymede

Didn’t you heed the warning in 1984
A man has the right to be free
You can’t control what he should read and take away his choice
I’m calling on the spirit of Runnymede

Justice can’t be bought or sold, denied or delayed
There shall be no detention without cause
Even the most base have the right to a trial
I’m calling on the spirit of Runnymede

You may tread the granite stair
You may sit upon chairs of bronze
Contemplate ‘neath the Ankerycke Yew
Freedom, equality and the rule of law

An acorn
A mustard seed

No-one is above the law, even the head of state
The purpose of power is to give it away
We have to hold our leaders to a standard that’s higher
I’m calling on the spirit of Runnymede

Old Sarum

I nocked an arrow to my bow and I brought it to my eye
Pulled back the cord to rest beside my cheek
I stilled my heart and held my breath and waited for the wind
Then I let it loose to leap into the sky
Let it fly

Staring at the target till it seems to fill your view
Perfection never lasts beyond release
And even though I only serve the one true Lord our God
I still quietly mouth a prayer to the yew
let it fly

The most important shot I took, from the top of Sarum’s hill
I closed my eyes and trusted in the winds
The arrow took a white deer, hidden from my view,
And off we took to see where she would fall
We let her fly

Dreams are often fleet of foot
The chase is long and hard
The journey can be more than a time between times
More than just a means to an end

I nocked an arrow to my bow and I brought it to my eye
Pulled back the cord to rest beside my cheek
I stilled my heart and held my breath and waited for the wind
Then I let it loose to leap into the sky
Let it fly

21 Score and 75

The time has come
There’s a knock on the door
You thought you’d paid enough
But they’re wanting more

Every man has to die
Every man has to live
If you’re going to take
Then you’ll be made to give

It’s the most precious gift
Though it don’t have a price
For a shilling and a sixpence
I have taken a life

21 score and 75 souls I ushered in
The man on the street might find that obscene
Like a priest I bring you nearer to your God
I’ll make it quick, I’ll make it clean

Now I’m looking back
At the Rose and Crown
And I’m counting all the people
That I took down

21 score and 75 souls I ushered in
But hear my experience and caution
Is it a deterrent if no-one counts the cost
When they’re in the rage of passion

Narborough Road

Running down a dead-end street
Running – no retreat

Fighting, in a dead-end street
Fighting to breathe

Ain’t no destination
Don’t need the speed
Got to keep on running
I’m running from me

Twilight don’t belong to the day
Twilight – there’s hell to pay
Twilight don’t belong to the night
Twilight – losing the light

Ain’t no destination
Don’t need the speed
Got to keep on running
I’m running from me

The Three Peaks

Before me is the way laid down by the souls of countless lifetimes
Following in the path of those I’ll never know
Onwards we climb one foot in front of the other
All cares and worries left far down below

There’s no thought of turning back
We move inexorably forward
For a few brief hours the world just stops and all there is now
The simple task of walking forward takes all our being and thoughts
This route will not humble us
We will never bow


Theory of Ruins

Theory of Ruins

Have you ever heard the theory of ruins?
A design for more than life, extending past the fall
Gratefully crumbling into legend
What’s left behind never-ending

I have seen the burden laid on the human race
Everything is beautiful when considered in its prime
Eternity’s placed into our human hearts
No-one can fathom the path to the end of time

When I’m taken by the flames
What will I leave behind?
How many souls will I have touched?
That’s what stands the test of time

The theory of ruins
The theory of ruins

The days of kings have long since ended
The heart that fed besides a broken mocking hand
Look upon my works you mighty and despair
Two legs of stone standing in the sand

When I’m taken by the flames
What will I leave behind?
How many souls will I have touched?
That’s what stands the test of time

The theory of ruins
The theory of ruins

Roamer's Rest

I’ve been travelling for many a year
Never had a place to call my own
Friends come and go but the road stays the same
There’s a comfort and safety in being alone

The earth is my pillow, the wind is my song
I pass through prairie and canyon
Sun burns by day, night is the time
The moon’s my light and companion

But I’m tired so tired
My bones they ache and I’m turning to dust
But I’m tired so tired
My soul won’t stop walking, but my body must

Met a lady at a watering hole
Her heart was wild and free
So we settled down and I worked at a ranch
She said there’s a comfort and safety in being with me

Hair gold as fields of corn, eyes brown as the soil
Proud and strong as a cherrybark tree
Her love as wide as the dusty planes
She became the world to me

But I’m tired so tired
The vista’s staying still, with the same old sky
But I’m tired so tired
My feet are getting restless, no matter what I try

But I’m tired so tired
Highway stretched before me horizon full of haze
But I’m tired so tired
Heading south, three hundred miles, dry wind fills my days

The Simplest Test

It’s true I am a traveller
Of plains across these lands
And of my mind-forged turrets
I’ve tread ‘cross boundless sands

You know I’ve touched such beauty
No other eyes have seen
Such sights would shame and humble
Those hanging gardens green

I’ve held apart with bravery
The fiercest lion’s jaw
I’ve known the love of strangers
But somehow wanted more

I’ve fought for countless victories
I’ve shouldered heavy loads
Such feats would strip the honour from
That ancient guard of Rhodes

Looking back across these memories
They all fail the simplest test
Out of all these marvels
It was you I loved the best

Trust me I’ve had struggles
I’ve felt the masters whip
With the beating sun burning my back
Lord knows I didn’t quit

I’ve tasted of the sting of death
Destruction in its wake
I’ve seen the mausoleum of old
And I know that I can’t break

Looking back across these memories
They all fail the simplest test
Out of all these marvels
It was you I loved the best

I’ve experienced dreadful power
I take it in my stride
I heard the rise and fall of Zeus
And watched as his love cried

I’ve been a witness of the light
I’m basking in the glow
Never broken like that ancient house
Through me, from Him it flows

Looking back across these memories
They all fail the simplest test
Out of all these marvels
It was you I loved the best

I’ll admit I had ambitions
Crafted temples with my toil
Your words, your deeds are fruitless
What I have, you can’t spoil

Looking back across these memories
They all fail the simplest test
Out of all these marvels
It was you I loved the best

Heart of a Wolf

Like most things in life, I can hide it away
Or show it off proudly, the scar of the day
Like most things in life, it’s hard to explain
Geri is swinging from a fine silver chain

You can’t shame me – I don’t want to know
You can’t scare me – I’ve known worse than you
You can’t take me – I don’t want to go
Cos I’ve got the heart of a wolf

Like most things in life, it started off small
My body’s rebellions started the fall
Like most things in life, the end isn’t clear
The journey is far, but each step is near

You can’t shame me – I don’t want to know
You can’t scare me – I’ve known worse than you
You can’t take me – I refuse to go
Cos I’ve got the heart of a wolf

Black Dog

Black Dog is coming for me
Blood red eyes and teeth like a knife
Feel his breath on the back of my neck
Been stalking me all the days of my life

I see a movement from the corner of my eye
But nothing’s there when I turn
The smell of fuel is rising high
Come on now, gonna watch you burn
Watch you burn

Black Dog is coming for me
Dragging his chain, haunting my nights
Pinned in a corner, he won’t let me leave
Snarls and howls, he claws and he
bites

As the days go on I’m starting to see
His bark is worse than his bite
It’s fear and dread that’s clouding my mind
He may be strong but I’ll put up a fight

As the flames lick higher the fog recedes
My pulse slows and my mind begins to clear
I look around me with glistening eyes
I begin to realise
Black Dog was me

When It Comes to You

When it comes to you, I’m like an open book
My mind is not my own
When it comes to you, there’s not a word I’ve said
You haven’t already known

So I’ll keep on running
Till I know my own heart
And I’ll keep on running
Till I get back to the start

When it comes to you, you’re like that locked-up gate
In the fence at the end of the park
When it comes to you, I can feel something else
Hidden deep in the dark

And I’ll keep on wondering
As I go with the flow
And I’ll keep on wondering
If you even know

When it comes to you, at the end of the day
It’s got to be your own choice
When it comes to you, the decision is yours
What to hide, and what to voice

And I’ll keep on loving
If you hide it away
And I’ll keep on loving
If you open that gate

Lying in the Rain

I lied last night in the rain
And you cried last night all the same
If I could do it all again
I’d lie through my teeth and be damned
You would have gone away all the same
But these things happen when you don’t have a plan
So I lied last night in the rain

I gave you my coat and you gave me a smile
A brief flash of triumph, like you’d passed a trial
Hunching my shoulders, shirt stuck to my back
Trying not to shiver, soaked to the skin
But you made me laugh, you always had the knack
Of summing up my life in that crooked grin
So I gave you my coat and you gave me a smile

You broke open a kit-kat and gave me a half
As you ate yours in one mouthful, I started to laugh
That platform for a second became a shrine
To what we’d once had, and what might still be
The chocolate was blessed, our bread and wine
A show of faith, we believed in you and me
So I lied last night in the rain


Feels like coming home

Hello old friend

Hello old friend
Feels like coming home
Hello old friend
Like stepping in out of the rain
Hello old friend

You were there for me when I needed you
Soothed my heart and took away my [E] pain
Gave me a reason to live and a purpose once again
You were there for me, my friend

Hello old friend
You gave me wings to fly
Hello old friend
Then you took away the sky
Hello old friend

You were there for me when I needed you
Soothed my heart and took away my pain
Gave me a reason to live and a purpose once again
You were there for me, my friend

Hello old friend
Feels like coming home
Hello old friend
Like stepping in out of the rain
Hello old friend

One more round

The TV is blaring out God knows what
It’s all just colours and shapes to me
Static on the radio seems to make more sense
Hisses and crackles but it seems to be free

It’s something to do, chain-smoking through the haze
Hacking away, but light up the same
Another shot of whiskey from a paper cup
Memories fail, but the feelings remain
Pass the bottle across – one more round

The cylinder spins and the bullet goes round
Pick up the gun, the future’s unknown and can wait
No-one lives forever – we’re all on death row
This game it just gives control back to my fate
The chamber moves on – one more round

Hiding the fear, step into the ring
The dance begins, brutal but still full of grace
Knocked down in the first, get back up and take a deep breath
Your opponent’s yourself, not the man that you face
Redemption awaits – one more round

Steel and rust (with Darren Ellis)

Living in the shadow of the shipyard
Stevie’s living day by day
The ships have left and the hours are gone
Gonna have to find another way

His family knows it’s a matter of time
Before he has to up and leave
He promises them that they’ll be all right
Just got to sit tight and believe

The steel and the rust
Faith and trust

He hugs them in turn while the bus waits on
Farewells by the side of the road
He smiles as he speaks to his eldest child
You’re the man of the house now son

The road and the dust
Faith and trust

After fifteen long years of letters
He always imagined her smile
As the paycheck arrives and the bills are paid
This love isn’t weakened by the miles

He sends them tickets to join him at last
The paper is marked by tears
Time changes people, but they stay the same
A family after all these years

The steel and the rust
Faith and trust

Siren's call

The siren’s call
Sweet and sad
A windless calm
The salt taste of the sea

Soon be there my love
loose these chains
Sun blinding bright
Mirror on the sea

You’re my journey’s end
Ocean Muse
Lighthouse to my soul
o’ these earthy chains

It was never about the singer,
I was drawn by the song
I’ll die a happy man
If I never escape these bonds

No more blood in this stone

I’ve had enough
walking out that door
I’ve had enough
Ain’t gonna work for you no more

Ain’t no compromise
Work our fingers right down to the bone
We’re dropping like flies
There’s no more blood in the stone

I’m a highly-skilled professional man
And I can’t work in this here environment
When you take away the pride in my work
A craftsman becomes a labourer

And yes I’ve got a life outside of here
I work damn hard when I get home too
When I leave on time you sneer
But I work for my family, not you

Apparently I’m an asset to the team
But to me that says it all
You think that you own me, but I don’t belong to you
I’m my own man, not at your beck and call

Plura

Breaking a hole in the ice
Shielding my eyes from the sun
Suspended tween heaven and hell
Only thinking of what’s to come

Slipping into cold dark waters
Sun snuffed out like a lamp
The only sound is my breathing
The only view a dim beam of light

Never leave a friend behind
Never leave a friend behind
It’s the code

The tension begins to grow
I’ll soon be with you my friend
Riding back through the gates of hell
74 fathoms below

Slipping into cold dark waters
Sun snuffed out like a lamp
The only sound is my breathing
The only view a dim beam of light

Never leave a friend behind
Never leave a friend behind
It’s the code

Indecision

If I could, I’d come
And fall down at your feet
My voice tearing as I speak
Please don’t go away from here
Without me knowing why
You did what you did to yourself
To me

Could it be that you just need a friend
Could I be the help in the end?

I make my choice
Feet rooted in place
Afraid to go
But scared as hell to stay
Please don’t go away from here
Before I make my stand
Is it a choice if I’m frozen in place?
Or just fate?

You can do anything you want
If you’re willing to pay the price
But think it through
Before you roll the dice

The rules you make
Come from your deepest past
Just one mistake
Was never meant to last

Crith Gablach

Cia annsom fidbeime fiachaib bacth?
Briugid caille, coll eidnech.
Dire ndaro
Bunbeim beithe, baegal fernae
fube sailech, dluind airriu aithgein
anog sciath, sceo draigin
dringid co fedo forball
forball ratho, raited aine
acht a ndilse do flaithib
Ni bie fidnemid, fiachaib secht n-airech
ara teora bu, inna bunbeim bis
Dire ndaro

Translation:

What are the most oppressive cases of tree-cutting for which fools are fined?
The hospitallers of the forest, the ivied hazel.
The penalty for the oak, the trunk-cutting of the birch,
the peril of the alder, the undermining of the willow,
declare restitution for them, the maiming of the hawthorn
and of the blackthorn;
Its restitution extends to the undergrowth of the wood,
the undergrowth of fern, of bog-myrtle, of reeds,
save that these are free to lords.
You shall not cut a sacred tree and escape with fines for the seven noble trees
on account of the fine of three cows that is fixed for cutting its stem.
The penalty for the oak

Last grand piano in Gaza

Standing strong amidst the rubble
A miracle, surviving unscathed
On the cracked marble, dusty but mostly intact
Forgotten alone on the stage

A tangle of cables, twisted metal and broken lamps
Hang down like spilled entrails.
Scarlet seats, torn and littered with crumbled plasterboard
But a treasure remains

It might not build a house
It can’t bring loved ones back
But 10 days can give you hope
With music’s rebellion
I won’t be defined
As just a survivor

Restored and renewed, though often in darkness
A splash of colour in a black and grey land
A new generation begins to learn to play
Hidden away from the eyes of God

It might not build a house
It can’t bring loved ones back
But 10 days can give you hope
With music’s rebellion
I won’t be defined
As just a survivor


Blood is thicker than gold

The Roamer

Highway stretched before me
Horizon full of haze
Heading south, three hundred miles
Dry wind fills my days
My feet’ll keep on walking
Till someplace feels like home
I will roam
I will roam
I will roam

A wooden cross behind me
Marks a fellow travellin’ man
Couldn’t spare the time to dig too deep
In the baking sand
For the desperate pull, the gravity
I’ll mourn him when I can
I will roam
I will roam
I will roam

My soul is filled with longing
Mixed with deepest dread
Twards heaven or hell I drift on
My boots are filled with lead
Redemption or damnation
I know not where I head
I will roam
I will roam
I will roam

Funny Old World

It’s a funny old world
With the games you used to play
You seemed to give up more than you ever gave in
You’d dress up, and make up, then you’d shoot to kill
Aiming low for maximum pain
It’s a funny old world

It’s a funny old world
Stumbling home in driving rain
You conquered a heart, but gave up your own all the same
Lipstick smeared and hair untied, like a flower underfoot
Sun’s coming up but the world’s going down
It’s a funny old world

Blood is thicker than gold

The ’42 stretches out under my wheels
There’s no turning off or changing your path – just driving on
I dread to see those hills come out of the mist
And if I slow down, slow down it don’t make no difference
Just makes the wait unbearably long

Looking back there’s a privilege in sharing the pain
A strange kind of beauty as the cards all fold
All pretence burns away, leaving what’s real behind
Unable to speak, but able to be, I find
It soon becomes clear that blood is thicker than gold

July of ‘69

We landed on the moon in July of ‘69
We come in peace for all mankind
How long and dark a journey seems before the day is through
Small steps can be the start of something new

Looking out over a long-dead scene
A beautiful desolation of unknowns
Yet the very fact that we are here to see such empty wastes
Is surely bringing life to these dry bones

Some say we shouldn’t waste our time
Reaching for the stars
First fix the mess we’re living in,
Keep your feet upon the ground

But I say living without a dream
Isn’t really life at all,
And striving in and of itself
Is a goal that means much more.

Wherever you go

Their hearts are with us, boys
Their hearts are here
Ours are their day-thoughts
Their night-dreams so dear
Wherever our good ship
The wild gales may blow
Their hearts are with us, boys
Wherever we go

Their last look we treasure
Their last laughs and tears
The last sobs and whispers
We heard from our dears
Half a world from them
We’re tossing I know
But their hearts are with us, boys
Wherever we go.

Jack O’Kent

Jack O’Kent was a working man
His hands as hard as stone
He dug and sowed in the borderlands
And brought his harvest home
He worked alone and had no wife
No child or next of kin
The gossip raged but the truth be told
They were scared of him

For when he went to church one day
For to confess his sin
He told the priest in confidence
He heard the devil speak to him

Now Jack was cursed for on his land
A mighty river lay
To get his wares to market meant
A trip of half a day
Five times he started off to build
A bridge of wood and stone
But the very next day he would wake to find
The bridge had tumbled down

In angst he cried and raised his hands
I’d give anything for luck
And sure enough the devil spoke
A bargain had been struck
“In return for this help of mine
There is a price to pay
The first soul that does cross the bridge
Is mine to his dying day”

Much stronger than he was before
He worked into the night
The stones seemed light as feathers
With his demon-aided might
And in one night the bridge was built
And at the break of day
It stood there solid as a rock
Come what may

“Come walk across” the devil cried
“and check if it is strong”
But Jack O’Kent was a canny lad
And wouldn’t be led along

He whistled to a local stray
Enticed him with a bone
The sorry mutt did race across
When the juicy bone was thrown
The thunder clapped and the lightning struck
The devil howled in rage
Jack just stood and laughed aloud
As the poor dog paid his wage

Now Jack O’Kent was a working man
He laboured with a grin
But still he works and lives alone
Because the devil spoke to him

Passion for Pinecones

Bear with me a moment
As I tell my dated tale
I may seem so ‘normal’
but it’s just a wretched spell.

My eyes looking forward,
Or soaring through the clouds
But not on a screen, no
I’m checkin’ life for brand new sounds.

I have a passion for pine cones,
and laughter for free.
Conversing and dancing,
That’s the life for me.
The wind in my hair
To block out the roar of the pessimistic nonsense,
modern life’s a bore.

Find me in the crowd,
With a smile on my face.
With my hands in the air
Singing and lovin’ this place.

If you trip and fall,
crashing to your knee.
I’ll reach out my hand
And show you how to be free.

I’ll start with a smile and,
an understanding ear.
I’ll take all your blues babe,
Every worry, every fear.
Now life’s looking up since
I changed the frequency.
No pessimistic nonsense,
In anything I see.

Music

The sun shines brighter when you hear a tune
A melody that sears the soul
Memory of harmonies is a glimpse of hope
The chords fade but the echos remain

When I see your eyes those sad, sad eyes
And the fog that surrounds your head
I want to pick up my guitar
And sing to you and play for you and sing for you
As long as it takes for the sun to break through

Cut me open
You’ll find a beating drum
Bleeding rhythms
Sustained by ever-changing chords and harmonics

Just close your eyes and lose yourself
Reach your hands up to the sky
It’ll never judge, it’ll never hurt, always constant
The chords fade but the echos remain

Blackbirds (Gretchen Peters/Ben Glover)

The blackbirds came at dusk and they roosted in the cane
raised such a ruckus that it shook my windowpane
And I’m covered up in dirt and I stink of kerosene
and no matter what I do I can’t get clean

Last thing i remember was your footsteps in the hall
whisky in your voice and a shotgun on the wall
now there’s shadows in the shadows, there’s trouble in the cane
and there’s things you do that you just can’t explain

Uneasy lies the head – unfaithful is the heart
ungrateful and unlucky and untrue
And no one saw me coming, and no one saw me go
Only the blackbirds and you

Come harvest in the cane fields the sky turns black with smoke
so I took our father’s gun and a heavy piece of rope
and I left you lying there like rotten fruit upon the ground
and I lit a torch and I burned the whole thing down

Uneasy lies the head – unfaithful is the heart
ungrateful and unlucky and untrue
And no one saw me coming, and no one saw me go
Only the blackbirds and you

Our father was a farmer he planted fields of cane
he planted seeds of evil and we harvested the shame
Oh but I’m the last one standing there’s no one left to tell
and when it’s my time I’ll see you both in hell

Time (Jeff Black) - bonus track

Isn’t it just like me
to make a joke out of tragedy
all I needed was some time
I’m not living in the past
I thought I’d try
to make you laugh
that’s one thing i can do
and do it well
well I wish I could
I was just passing
through your neighborhood
but you don’t seem too amused
I just thought I’d stop and say
I was thinking about you today
and you were right
I see you in the morning sun
in the flight of the blue heron
I see you in the evening sky
and I see you in my dream
this song was easy to write
it just came to me last night
it only took me fifteen years
now isn’t it just like me
to make a joke out of tragedy
all I needed was some time

Easy on me (Jeff Black) - bonus track

Hey I know what you want from me
I’ve given all that I can give
You believe what you believe
But I think I need my soul to live

You say you don’t want to tie me down
So what’s with all these ropes and chains
I know the deal I’ve been downtown
And I know to come in out of the rain

Easy on me
Take it easy on me now

I’ve always had a wondering eye
I guess it was just passed on down to me
The price I pay is pretty high
To see this world the way I see

So I’m a flying out the window now
Riding on the setting sun
I’m getting back behind the plough
And I’ll work until my work is done