Softly and tenderly I hear your voice again,
And has it been so long and I so very wrong?
Slight enticements led me away day after day,
Until your face was but a shadowy memory,
And your choice voice but vaporous whisper;
But now how clear I hear your song over me!
Softly and tenderly I hear your voice again. . .
We cast long shadows over our own lives,
So long that we belong to those shadows,
Though we imagine we are walking in light
With our sight set high and so we fly . . .
We fly to our own murky destinations
Without hesitation or any examination,
Thinking all will be well (so sound the bell!)
When we have only created our own hell
We cast long shadows, deep and dark,
And in them we hide from stark reality,
But the finality is all the same (and not tame);
We wake up to realize it’s more than a game!
Yes, we cast long shadows over our lives,
And we bury ourselves in their folds,
But when bold comes the light shadows flee
And we can see clearly the bright truth
And then, and only then, can we really be free
Awakening to the new day with new possibilities and always hope
In your company, Beloved, as you give each moment greater scope,
Shot through with meaning, even if this man cannot see what it is;
Nevertheless, you love me with an everlasting love that never fails,
And so I rejoice in your presence, even in pain that seems to gain
An upper hand, but you have tied our band so that I am fully yours,
Now and forever, so this suffering, too, shall pass away in your day,
Which is dawning even now and promises no end . . . so let it be!
The tower stands dark and foreboding, tall and strong,
And I can’t climb the walls no matter how much I long,
And so trapped inside I cry for help to right the wrong;
So one day soon I will once again join the joyful throng
Yes, these walls stretch up into the sky
So far above me and I understand why:
That no resident will ever say goodbye
But the builder never counted on wings
To bring this man out with song to sing,
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia to God ‘n king!
So help me now my Lord, even now to set me free
To be all that you would have me be, with reverie
Beyond these cold walls for all of the world to see!
Slice me and dice me anyway you like and I’ll still bleed!
For however distorted now, nevertheless, I am still man;
Yes, I am still a man, though running through this maze
Like some rat – lab fed and fat – less than what is human;
See me and hear me as I try to climb these walls and cry,
But don’t stand and stare; rather, help me repair my life
So rife with pain and seemingly no gain; let mercy reign!
After all, I am none other than your brother, not another!
. . .
Dominus eleison! Dominus eleison! Dominus eleison!
Welcome to the City of Light where bright rules the day
Every step along the way, where the soul can safely stay,
Where one can rest in an extraordinary nest of serenity,
Where there is plenty of love and peace that never cease
Here in this place, where the pace is slow and beautiful,
And joy dutiful to attend every step and the mind is kept
From all alarm as fear is dispersed by the light ever near
To the heart with no false start in any part of joyous day;
And where the night is absent of all fright and very calm,
Which is a healing balm to the soul … in the City of Light
It is the fog of war and I cannot see clearly as I am nearly blind,
And so I bind me to you, my Beloved, clinging to you kind hand,
And you tie your band around my waist lest I here waste away
In this foreign land with battle trenches dug deep into the earth
From which every soldier must show his worth even in dying,
Crying for mercy and peace and I, too, beg the warfare to cease;
Oh, my Beloved, give me new lease on life and let all strife end!
Here is my heart and all of me, too, to do with as you might will;
Take and seal me for eternity in fraternity with you forevermore,
But bring relief now as well as the bell chimes out this late hour,
And show your power to heal, and to fill me with your great love
Above the cacophony of this world into which I’ve been hurled!
And write my own name on your palm and calm all of my fears
Which lurk ever near to my very soul and so wholly fill this hole!
And grant me sweet serenity even now . . .
Oh, grant us serenity even now, my Beloved