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!
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
Clouds full of promise, filled with blessing,
Rain down on this parched land so thirsty
With mercy born of angelic love and grace;
Speed your message to these lips of ours
So that we may drink and surely live again
As we continue on our journey here below,
Here below, plodding onward and upward
To heights hitherto unknown to pilgrims,
Pilgrims in search of a new Eden on earth
. . .
Lord, have mercy, and let it rain, let it rain
As I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
My fair soul sends forth its prayer so very bare,
And naked I stand before the band of angels,
Aware of weakness of flesh, with fresh songs
So melodious and filled with love from above;
Ah! But can I sing with them and bring peace
To my spirit so troubled within me in serenity,
While the waves come higher quenching fire
In my heart, taking the better part of my self
Into watery caverns buried beneath the water?
And when shall I reach the coastline of glory?
When shall I sit in peace to tell my paltry story?
When shall I walk the distant shore in peace
With new lease on life – new, abundant life –
Given to me as gift as I lift my hands to heaven?
Ah! I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
And in this journey grow into brand new birth
For all that I might be worth on the other side;
So, dear Lord, help me on board this regal ship
Not to slip in despair, knowing you will repair
As you lay this my heart bare without one tear,
And so I shall yet be all that is meant for me . . .