Land of the Free

A little something for my American Readers:

Land of the Free

When brave men fought to free their homes,
Spat in a tyrant’s eye,
And built a land where all can rest
Under the clear blue sky:

Free to live and build and grow
As their Creator made them;
With honour, grace and fortitude,
Grateful He had saved them.

Defending a true liberty
With rights and duties twinned;
No communal punishments
For your ancestor’s sins,

No right to rule through noble blood,
No foul subhuman castes,
Their later fight to free all slaves
Would complete this task.

One set of laws for everyone,
Whoever they may be;
Each person’s work and character
Brings wealth or poverty.

A nation built on virtue
Without it cannot stand;
Now celebrate and fight to keep
The glories of this land.

Fathers That Know the Father

By reader’s request, I am reposting this piece for Father’s Day.


This is another commissioned work, this time in connection with the Art and Craft of Writing Kickstarter. The poem includes numerous inside jokes, personal memories and details of family history provided by the client, a wife and mother wishing to honour her aging father (and from what she told me about him, he is more than worthy of such a gift), hence some of the curious asides and word choices. I hope that general readers will still find it enjoyable and uplifting.

Fathers That Know the Father

Fathers that know the Father are such a special breed,
Though success in their endeavours is far from guaranteed;
They are not granted super strength, immunity from harm,
Super speed, astounding wealth or overpowering charm;

What they do receive instead is far more precious still,
A spirit touched with grace and a calling to instil
A love of God and truth and life in his children’s souls,
That they may lift their heads to aim for high and worthy goals.

Even in his absence, his influence is strong,
His loved ones know they always have a home where they belong,
Where they are known and cared for, and greeted with a smile,
Hoping that that their current stay can stretch a little while.

Far from our shores, you harnessed mighty atoms in the deep,
Ensuring that ten million children could stay safe asleep.
The sacrifices that you made leave echoes in their wake,
Clearing noble paths for other, younger feet to take.

Discipline unasked for, and even fought outright,
Is now appreciated in a wholly different light.
Prayers and verses planted in a mind when it is young
Grow into fruitful wisdom that flows in its own tongue.

Standing at attention while my tidying was checked
Has led to strong self-discipline and stronger self-respect.
You drilled me to work hard, in all things seek to learn and grow,
Aim for excellence, but never bask in my own glow.

A leader and great teacher in every port you called,
You had so many ways to keep your students all enthralled
As you passed on knowledge that was more than just a hunch,
Such as the laws of thermo forbidding a free lunch.

I wish I’d been less stubborn and took the time to hear
The wonders of the universe that you so loved to share;
When you said your expectations of me were too high it hurt;
When you took it back and were proud of me, I thought my heart would burst.

A sweeping gift you gave me on the 8th year since my birth,
And we took turns adventuring all over Middle Earth.
So many books we’d share with joy, I even got some signed;
You always were so loving, so insightful and so kind.

A fluffball called Salami nuzzled past your stubborn gates,
Moved you in a way your heart could not anticipate;
And so when perched upon your leg in good old Morro Bay,
He became the furry lord of all that he surveyed.

Our stomachs stuffed with tacos, we’d waddle up the hill,
Half-regretting extra bites when we had had our fill,
Back home to talk, to laugh, to revel in our family life;
Moments I still treasure now as a mother and a wife.

Black Mountain’s view enchanted us each time we scaled its slope,
Guests were met with signal flags along the yard arm rope,
Grandparents teaching step-ball back at 512 South Clay,
A family determined to all walk the narrow way.

Your love of God infectious, your love of us so clear,
Each time you wrote us letters it would fill our hearts with cheer.
No one on this earth could ever hope to fill your shoes;
No one we would rather join us on a fun-filled cruise.

Because of you, our families walk and prosper in the light,
Gleaming like Alaskan gems of purest tanzanite.
Whether it is of the Apes or of the Caribbean,
All of us are certain you are worthy of this paean.

You showed us what a father is, what we should aim to be,
Reflected glints of glory that shine eternally,
Helped us in our crises, gave us strength to cope,
And led us to the One who is our everlasting hope.

You taught us to be humble, to never put on airs,
And of course, most importantly, to not forget our prayers.
For this and more we’re grateful, in more ways than you know;
So in this and other ways, we’d like to let it show.

My First Online Concert (inc. Without Love, There is No Life)

Two weeks ago, I took part in the fourth Visible Music Weekend at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Prague, in which the topic was live performances and livestreaming music performances, which culminated with a livestreamed music concert featuring songs by all of the participants in the weekend, together with some prerecorded videos, a short sermon and adverts for the two schools involved to give the live participants time to reorganize the stage between performers. The vast majority of the video is in Czech, so might not be of interest to the majority of my readers. (Some technical issues resulted in just under the first 40 seconds of the youtube video being blank). One of the prerecorded videos is a slightly tweaked version of my “Silent Night” video from several years back (21 minutes 23 seconds in), I feature in the backing choir in one song (39 minutes 37 seconds in), and my live section (starting at 56 minutes 26 seconds) is comprised of a bilingual reading of my Bohemian Advent poetry series, followed by the debut performance of a song I first wrote over a decade ago, but whose musical accompaniment was only finalised an hour before the livestream started, then finishing off with A Hope That Burns.

Through a combination of extreme nerves and no chance to rerecord things, I made a number of errors during my live performance, Over the coming weeks I will attempt to record a better quality version of Without Love, There is No Life for you all to enjoy. Here are the lyrics:

Without Love There Is No Life

(spoken)
Love is full of purity,
It shows patience and humility.
Love is not a selfish lust;
Instead, love gives a grounds for trust.
Love gives a child security,
Love gives a thing its beauty;
Because, without love there is no life.
(music begins on life, the rest is sung)

Love is a many-splendoured thing.
Love gives a broken man new wings.
It perseveres, no matter what the cost;
If you have love, you’re never truly lost;
Love, seeing all my flaws,
Love, guided by higher laws;
You know, without love there is no life.

Love simply wants to hear the truth.
Love, it is not eternal youth.
Love is more than soothing noises,
‘Cause love steps up and makes hard choices.
Love lasts through the ages,
It’s written on all life’s pages.
You see, without love there is no life.

It makes the ordinary great,
Won’t mind if you are late,
Won’t leave you to your fate,
This is love.

Love puts you in harm’s way,
Though you try, you can’t always save the day;
Love is there to share your pain,
To weep and help you on your feet again,
Love is a healing flow,
Love gives you room to grow.
You know, without love there is no life.

Love looks you in the face;
Love helps you find your place.
With love, you can forgive the past,
Move on and build a peace to really last.
Love is where you find your worth;
If you’re loved, you’re more precious than the Earth.
You see, without love there is no life.

It shows you you belong,
It admits when it is wrong,
It’s majestic and it’s strong,
This is love.

But love is not every time returned,
Love is not something you have earned,
Sometimes our care isn’t even prized;
Instead our thoughts are utterly despised.
True love goes on caring anyway,
Even when we walk the other way;
It knows that without love there is no life.

Love is how your soul can truly shine,
Through love I am yours and you are mine,
Love expressed is such an open book,
A life of love is worth a closer look,
Can it be, that here is love for me?
Come explore this greatest mystery,
And see that without love there is no life.

Another appearance on Zaklog the Great’s Book Club

Two and a half weeks ago, I appeared on Zaklog the Great’s Book Club again to discuss part of Sir Walter Scott’s poem “The Lay of the Last Minstrel”. Being an ex-pat myself, I thought I might be able to offer some interesting perspectives.

Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto VI, [My Native Land]

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burn’d,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
From wandering on a foreign strand!
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;—
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonour’d, and unsung.

Galaxy Ascendant: A Worthy Sacrifice by Yakov Merkin

Somehow it escaped my attention until now, but the kickstarter for the final book in the 7-book Galaxy Ascendant series has a day and a half to go and is fully funded

It was a fun book to edit with some great moments and makes for a very satisfying conclusion to the epic series.

Perks include getting all 7 books in e-book format for just $14, so take a look and back it if it sounds like something that will interest you.

Warrior:Interface by David Hallquist

Fired towards earth at over five thousand miles per hour and equipped with the latest Lunar technology, Brandt Wills is a warhead targeting the brutal State of Terra.

With the beast partially tamed and his body further augmented by Lunar Special Security, Brandt Wills is heading back home to take on his former employers as war breaks out between Luna and the State of Terra. His only backup on this insane mission are the beast that still tries to take him over and the AI ghost of an old flame. What chance does one man have against the vast resources of earth?

The second installment in David Hallquist’s outstanding Singularity War Trilogy is available now from Theogony books.

    This book was a ton of fun to edit, and is now available on Kindle from its new publisher (it was previously released as State of Terra by Superversive Press). I can’t wait for you all to read this one and the breathtaking culmination of the trilogy, Warrior:Embraced, once it comes out in a couple of months.

Two Decades Since My Quest Began

It has been twenty years since I first contacted the girl who became my wife. Here is the song I wrote and sung for her today to commemorate the occasion.

When I see the ways we’ve changed,
The things that we’ve gone through,
The treasure that you are to me,
The joy I bring to you;

I still fail and let you down,
I’m not all that I should be;
Sometimes I find it hard to grasp
That you can still love me.

The Father watches over us,
The Son still leads us on,
The Spirit gives us strength to love
And know that we belong.

Two decades since my quest began
To reach out and connect
To a funny, kind and loving
Female intellect.

But you are so much more than that,
My friend, love, confidant;
He has blessed our lives with so much
More than we could want.

The Father watches over us,
The Son still leads us on,
The Spirit gives us strength to love
And know that we belong.

Warrior:Integration by David Hallquist

After the closing of Superversive Press, the Singularity Crisis trilogy has found a new home at Theogony Books, with new titles and cover art, and the first installment of the now Singularity War trilogy, Warrior:Integration, is now available for purchase. The old book trailer has been adjusted, tweaked and reuploaded for the occasion.

Injected with an alien monster, left for dead, and now hunted by the most powerful men in the solar system.

Surprised to find himself alive in a freezing medical waste dump on Luna, and with an alien creature trying to devour his body and mind from the inside, Brandt Wills slowly remembers who he was and how he got in this mess. He discovers he is not the only victim of a hellish secret laboratory performing vile experiments on humans. His only way forward is to fight for his life, his sanity, and his soul against the most powerful forces in the solar system.

Enjoy David Hallquist’s thrilling debut novel and book one of the outstanding Singularity War trilogy.

Where Life Did Not Belong

 

Empty coils of cloth were found
Where life did not belong,
An unsealed tomb and shifted stone
When birds began their song.

Holy power and glory broke
The grip of death and sin,
Opened up the heavenly gates
So all could stride right in

And see the Father face to face,
Be welcomed by the Son,
Be humbled by His sacrifice
And all His death had won.

The shadow’s washed away by light
That never will grow dim,
For all who leave their lives behind
To serve and follow Him.

When the Shadows Ruled the Day

When the shadows ruled the day,
Their triumph plain to see,
Good men sat shaken with dismay
At crushing Calvary.

Despair was now their daily bread
And bitter tears their drink
The one they followed is now dead,
What were they supposed to think,

That this was part of a great plan?
No lord would choose that death!
Forgive his killers to a man
With ragged, fading breaths?

“No, we were fools to trust his words
And now all hope is lost;
We’ll go back to our shoals and herds
And start to count the cost

Of standing up to Rome’s great might
And the Sanhedrin’s scorn;
Hide from the harsh revealing light
Of the coming dawn…