He Sees

He sees you when you triumph,
He sees you when you fail;
He knows what keeps you up at night,
He knows what makes you pale.

He sees the stands you choose to make,
He sees the threats you flee;
He knows the promises you break,
Wisely or foolishly.

He knows your every flaw and yet
His love is undeterred;
He still came down to pay our debt
And share his living word

That brings new hope, lifts up our eyes,
Outshines our brightest dreams,
Shows us when our old self dies
We’re far more than we seem.

Great heavenly realms stretch out above
The limits of this world,
Where we can taste his full, pure love
Through gateways made of pearl.

When Our King Calls Us Home

Another song I hope to record one day:




When Our King Calls Us Home.
 
Our squabbles over pottage bowls,
That we disguise as higher goals,
Are worthless when our life unrolls
And our King calls us home.
 
The bitter words we spoke in rage
Can haunt us when we reach old age;
We’re grateful for a fresh, new page
And long to be called home.
 
Kindness shown in little ways
Will sparkle like the sun’s pure rays
When we’ve reached the End of Days
And Our King calls us home.
 
The treasures that we store with Him,
That far outweigh our sufferings,
Will cause our hearts to soar and sing
When our King calls us home.
 
When troubles come and blows we take,
When we feel our hearts will break,
We grow in glory for His sake,
Until He calls us home.
 
So now I make a daily choice,
In the chaos and the noise,
To listen for that still, small voice
When my King calls me home.

Perception

Perception

You might think you’re just a tiny speck within a raging storm,
A thousand different voices screaming at you to conform,
To give up hope, blaspheme your God, and join the vicious mob;
Or stand aside, at least, and let them do their hatchet job.

Defeat is unavoidable, what difference can you make?
What kind of fool would stand there when the dam’s about to break?
Then time itself stands still and you are swept before the Throne,
And He reveals you are in fact a vital cornerstone

To peoples you have yet to meet, besides the ones you know,
Your influence, for good or bad, eternity will show.
A thoughtful act can redirect a life that’s gone astray,
Bring broken souls back from the brink, unfounded fears allay,

Give strength to those so weary from fighting the good fight,
Grant the lame the grace to dance, give back the blind their sight,
As they perceive the holy war that’s waging for their hearts,
Step out from the audience and dare to play their part

In the thrilling drama that decides so many fates,
And takes them in directions they cannot anticipate,
Drawing others heavenwards with every step they take
Along the narrow path, leaving blessings in their wake.

Winter Musing

I wrote most of this this while on a walk yesterday:

Winter Musing

When snowy fields at sunset have turned the world to gold,
Remember truths you must pass on before your heart grows cold:
An empty soul cannot be filled with momentary joys;
A broken heart cannot be fixed with parties, tricks and shiny toys.

Don’t entertain yourselves to death, but reach for higher things,
You do not need to be struck blind or hear an angel’s wings
To witness glory all around in little acts of love,
Appreciate a kindness shown when push has come to shove,

Let the lonely child know there’s a place where he belongs,
Offer words of hope to those whose faith is not as strong:
When darkness overwhelms you and your path is all but gone,
The shadow’s but a passing thing, and you are not alone.

The one who knows your heart and pain,
Who knows your will to rise again,
Who calls the storm cloud and the rain,
Is closer than you know.

So lift your head up strong and proud,
And when before the madding crowd,
Be not afraid to shout aloud,
“In His steps I will go!”

Should they choose to run you through
For staying faithful, pure and true,
Then heaven’s door will be in view,
And joy will overflow.

Did You Know? Is Now Released

As promised, here is a recording of the song I sung to my wife on our nineteenth wedding anniversary, attempting to make it as romantic a moment as possible. I dressed up smartly and had flowers and chocolates waiting for her by her favourite armchair when she came home from her sign language lesson, her brother was hiding upstairs with his car parked around the corner so she wouldn’t notice him being there. As she was looking at the flowers, he came down the stairs strumming the guitar and I began to sing:

You can also listen to the song via the major streaming services, as well as purchase the song for download on amazon, itunes and other online stores.

Did you know?

Did you know, when you go,
In my heart you leave a hole?
My life isn’t full without you,
You’re worth more to me than gold.
When you smile, for a while,
I feel like I can fly;
It’s like heaven’s doors are opened,
For you I’d walk a hundred miles.

My heart is ever open
To you, my precious one;
Every time I bring you joy
It is the greatest prize I’ve won.
The day you said you were mine
I truly came alive;
I can’t imagine how to live
Without you by my side.

All the stars, with their cars,
And their hotel rooms and bars,
Are just wandering empty souls,
They don’t have half the joy that’s ours.
I’m so blessed to possess
A companion on our quest
To raise our children strong enough
To cope with every test

My heart is ever open
To you, my precious one;
Every time I bring you joy
It is the greatest prize I’ve won.
The day you said you were mine
I truly came alive;
I can’t imagine how to live
Without you by my side.

Yet here you are, my shining star,
I love you just as you are.

When You’re Under Attack…

My apologies, I should have posted this yesterday. It is a song (to the tune of “A Song About Heartbreak” by Daniel Thrasher) about our duty to those that protect us and have given their lives throughout history to keep us free.

When you’re under attack…

When you’re under attack,
Things look so black,
And it seems you might crack;
To get back on track,
And see what your soul lacks,
Take a look back:

Remember the heroes who stood at the gates
When evil clouds gathered, to spare us our fates.
They strengthened each other and stood side by side,
To weather the onslaught and beat back the tide

Of enemy fury, missiles and blades;
Some armoured like titans, some stealthy as shades.
When push came to shove, they didn’t give ground;
When faced with old terrors, new courage they found

On a lonely hill, to the bone all chilled,
Through sheer force of will, they watch us still.

To pay back the way that they lay down their lives
Let’s honour and treasure our husbands and wives,
Raise God-fearing children with love and respect,
And give them a place they’ll be proud to protect.

Let them know, that you love them so,
So their hearts will glow as into the night they go.

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.

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.