Tag Archives: hope

Gospel of the Jester

Sometimes, you write something that still resonates no matter how much later you rediscover it, or in how different a frame of mind you are from when you wrote it. The Gospel of the Jester is such a song for me. Written in a 23-hour songwriting binge when I first moved to Boston and knew no one, when I was writing on both piano and guitar almost simultaneously. Certainly a lot of the songs ended up sounding similar, and many of them lean almost too much in the direction of Van Morrison (good for Van Morrison, not so good for me most of the time).

Ring around the radio, listen to a dream
Close your eyes to visions that you haven’t seen
The truth is misperception and the fact is a lie
Wisps of clouds are covering the face of the sky

Ring around the telephone, pealing like a bell
Turn on your machine so if you’re home, no one can tell
Read between the lines of what has never been said
Make believe you’re make believe, go where you are led

Fall down, fall down, all fall down
Queue up for the symphony, the same old sound
Dream on, dream on jester kings
Dance your dance for the puller of the strings

Ring around the television: watch your life unfold
Put your trust in advertising; do as you are told
Your future is decided, don’t attempt to be free
Your friendly big brother runs the ministry

Ring around the roses, made from plasticware
Keep your polyester, and for God’s sake, cut your hair
Trust in the brotherhood, you’ll be all right
Don’t be afraid, we only come out at night

Fall down, fall down, all fall down
Listen to the piper’s hypnotizing sound
Dance on, dance on jester queens
Dance your dance onto the stage of the machine

You can be anything we want you to become
You can learn the language of the deaf and dumb
You can control the future, well, that is nothing new, but
You can win friends that are just like you.

Fall down, fall down all fall down
Listen to the music leading underground
Dream on, dream on jester fools
You can play the game while we re-invent the rules

Fall down, fall down all fall down
Listen to the piper’s hynotizing sound
Dream on, dream on jester kings
Dance your dance for the puller of the strings


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Beyond Hope

Abandon Hope, all ye that enter here;
forsake that vain and selfish childhood bride
to drown her sorrows in a stale warm beer,
and unencumbered, dare to step inside.

There are no maps, no hackneyed turns of phrase,
to guide beyond the first steep, darkened stair;
you’ll find no succor in the growing haze,
no scent of promise lingering in the air.

For here none blaze a trail ahead for thee;
alone, and as a pilgrim, you must seek
your own self’s definition, and be free
of preconceived ideas of hear and speak.

No minotaur awaits beyond the bend,
awaiting your messiah’s blade of death;
nor will you find a confidant or friend
to give you courage in a whispered breath.

Instead, just a great nothing waits within,
a void built from the shadows of your doubt;
the sum of what you could or might have been,
subtracted from what you could live without.

Abandon Hope, all ye that seek this door;
she will not be admitted past the sill.
Look on her face with kindness, just once more;
prepare yourself for a great test of will.

The journey on is not for finding out:
creation, not discovery, the quest;
but Hope will lead down a mistaken route,
with fantasies of blissful peace, and rest.

Sleep not! Lest in that slow malaise you fall,
and leave to others what should be your fate.
Forget those vain illusions! You must crawl
on hands and knees, and never hesitate

to seek out for yourself, and fill your hands
with truth, to feel its beating heart direct,
and in that moment’s pause, to understand
what most learn in a lifetime to neglect.

18 DEC 2006

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Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

The true ascetic does not ask for things
to compensate them for some perceived lack;
and yet, each vow of abstinence weaves strings
of favors that they fancy will attract

the warm benevolence of unseen might,
a glance from some divinity’s kind eye,
although the chance of answer may be slight.
Their reasoning for getting no reply

is that their hearts still crave and are not pure,
despite a lifetime’s sacrifice and pain,
and loneliness not many could endure.
Small wonder that they seem a bit insane;

it makes you wonder, what sort of a god,
when as a loving parent is beseeched
by needy children, fails to give. How odd
that it requires such effort just to reach

and in the darkness, hear that parent’s voice.
How many caring mothers could deny
indulgence of their baby’s whims? What choice
does any doting father have? To lie,

and say, “There’s not enough for you, my dear,”
despite possessing infinite supply,
so much that it will never disappear?
No human parent acts this way. So why

not ask for everything you think you need,
including things that you could live without?
The list won’t be so long the gods can’t read
it, or not have the brains to sort it out.

Ask, cajole, demand, beg, plead and whine;
use all the tools in a child’s repertoire,
A loving universe will think that’s fine,
and likely grant your wishes, and much more.

29 JUN 2005

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