A Certain Precious Magic

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the first time I contacted the girl who became my wife. Here is the song I wrote and sung for the occasion last night.

There’s a certain precious magic in communication
When distant souls discover they are close;
Two lonely hearts that have their homes in separated nations
Take a chance, and thus a friendship grows.

That friendship can plants seeds of love that sprout and grow and bloom,
And multiply the joys and stakes of life,
Until the two stand side by side as blushing bride and groom,
Forever to be joined as man and wife.

I’m so glad I started down this path that led me to your heart
And grew my soul immensely on the way,
So I’ll do my utmost to always play my part
In blessing you, my treasure, every day.

Without Love, There is No Life Finally Released

After far too long to get it ready, I am pleased to announce the release of Without Love, There is No Life, available on most streaming and music platforms, complete with a music video on youtube.

All options for listening to and downloading the song can be found here

https://song.link/WithoutLove

The song has been tweaked and expanded on since the poem version, originally inspired by multiple scenes in Nobility Among Us, and even since the live performance a year and a half ago (which was less than an hour after the piano accompaniment was worked out with the extremely talented Daniela Zoubková).

She is back again providing the piano, Petr Mares is on the guitar, (whose talents you may know from Did you Know? and A Tale of the Once and Future King) and I provide the vocals. I edited the music video using freely available stock footage and imagery from Pixabay and Unsplash. English closed captions are available in the youtube video for the hard of hearing and non-native English speakers, and Czech subtitles are available.

Listen, watch, enjoy, and share with those you think will appreciate it.

Lyrics:

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.

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.

Love is full of light. Love does what’s right.
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love is humble, but not blind.
Oh, love is beautiful!
Oh, love is wonderful!
You know, 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.

**EDIT** Czech subtitles are now available, translated by Petr Mares. It is not meant to be singable and is not always an exact translation, the emphasis was on the beauty and flow of the text while capturing as much of the original meaning as possible.

Kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska – ta je vždy čistá,
Plná trpělivosti a pokory,
Není sobeckou vášní,
Ale právě naopak: je základem vzájemné důvěry.
Dítě pocítí v lásce bezpečí
A každá věc jen v lásce nabyde své krásy.
Protože kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska je něco nadmíru zázračného.
Je to láska, co dá zlomenému nová křídla.
Láska vytrvá, ať to stojí cokoli.
A máš-li lásku, nikdy nejsi ztracený případ.
Lásce nejsou moje chyby skryté,
Řídí se nicméně vznešenější logikou.
Totiž tam, kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska chce znát pravdu takovou, jaká je.
Láska není slib věčného mládí.
Láska je víc než plané konejšení.
Umí se vydat i cestou těžkých rozhodnutí.
O tom, že láska přetrvá věky,
se dočteme na každé stránce života.
Ono totiž kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Věci běžné promění ve skvělé,
nerozladí ji zpoždění,
nenechá tě napospas osudu.
Taková je láska.

Láska tě neušetří těžkostí.
Rád by ses jim vyhnul, ale není to vždy možné.
Ale je tu láska, aby sdílela tvou bolest.
Aby s tebou plakala a pomohla ti znovu na nohy.
Láska je proud moci uzdravení.
A láska ti dává také prostor k růstu.
Totiž tam, kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska ti hledí do tváře,
A pomůže ti přijít na to, kam patříš.
V lásce dokážeš odpustit věci minulé,
dokážeš jít dál a budovat trvalý pokoj.
V lásce najdeš svou pravou hodnotu.
Když jsi milován, jsi vzácnější než celý svět.
Ono totiž kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska je plná světla; udělá to, co je správné.
Láska je trpělivá a vlídná,
je pokorná, ale nikoli slepá.
Jak nádherná a úžasná je láska!
Víš, kde není láska, tam chybí život.

Láska ti dá najevo přijetí.
A pokud se mýlí, dokáže to uznat.
Je vznešená a silná.
Taková je láska.

Láska nicméně není vždy opětovaná.
S láskou to není něco za něco.
Občas zůstane naše snaha bez ocenění,
někdy se setká dokonce s opovržením.
Pravá láska i tak vytrvá.
I tehdy, když je jí odpovědí lhostejnost.
Ví totiž, že bez lásky není skutečného života.

Teprve v lásce se tvoje duše skutečně rozzáří.
Skrze lásku jsem já tvým a ty jsi mou.
Láska vepsaná do stránek otevřené knihy,
Život v lásce stojí za bližší prozkoumání.
Mohu se opravdu i já setkat s pravou láskou?
Pojď, prozkoumej to největší tajemství.
A přesvědč se: není života bez lásky.

Yellow Roses for My Love

Today is my twentieth wedding anniversary. Here is the song I sang to my wife as I handed her the below bouquet.

Yellow Roses for My Love

Yellow roses for my love,
Who I’m always thinking of,
And ways in which I can support and help her soul to grow;
Though my love for you is deep,
Mere sentiment is cheap,
The thing I really struggle with is how to make it show.

I’ll wipe the table in the kitchen,
Take away your dirty plate,
Think of other minor kind requests I can anticipate,
Find ways to lift your spirits, give you strength to last the day,
And in the calm and quiet moments, most of all I’ll pray

For your heart to find its rest
In Him, and all he’s blessed,
In our lives together as we’ve built this family.
Two decades have flown by
Of such abundant life
That I still can’t quite believe it’s happened all to me.

When You Are in Your Prime

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, and since her age is now a prime number, I came up with this song for the occasion (rosnička is the Czech word for a tree frog, which was my wife’s nickname as a teenager. According to Czech folk tradition, tree frogs can be used to predict the weather, and so rosnička is also used to refer to weather girls on TV)

Chorus:

When you are in your prime,
Your eyes begin to shine
At all the wild adventures that have led up to this date;
Five kids, two dogs, two cats,
Countless silly games and spats,
With lots more fun in the future we anticipate.

Verse 1:

Though you can’t predict the weather,
Climbing trees is not your game,
You’re still the greatest rosnička
To ever bear that name.
From childhood to this tender age
As sister, colleague, friend,
You’ve blessed so many lives down here
In ways that never end.

Verse 2:

Your kindnesses uncountable,
Your wisdom deep and strong;
You create a home in which
We’re glad we all belong.
The noble feasts you set before us
Fill us with new life,
It’s a privilege to know you
As a daughter, mother, wife.

Communication

Today is the twenty-first anniversary of the first time I contacted my wife. Here is this year’s poem:

Communication

Communication is so cheap, and yet it brings so much;
How greatly we’re enriched by another human’s touch.
One and twenty years ago, we took our first small steps,
When words were typed and sent with faintest hope in their effect.

Yet as the back and forth went on, a deep connection grew;
An unexpected friendship, something beautiful and true,
That served as the foundation for a life we both now share,
So bountiful and loving that our old selves can’t compare.

The lesson to be taken is to reach out and connect;
The worst thing that can happen is that they will just reject
Your offer of communication, friendship or support,
In which case you’re no poorer, in fact you’re only short

The time you would have spent uncertain, torturing yourself,
To formulate the perfect words to cast the perfect spell
And win them over to your side as friends or something more,
When all that’s really needed is to open up the door

With honesty and openness, being true to who you are;
Few healthy people really want a puffed-up movie star.
Luckily for me you liked the things I had to say,
And who I was inside didn’t frighten you away.

I learned to share my deepest thoughts, my passions and my fears,
Building up a trust that’s served us well so many years,
So let’s keep talking, sharing, as we build our family,
Our lives woven together as a wondrous tapestry.

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.

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.

Fathers That Know the Father

This is another commissioned work, this time in connection with the Art and Craft of Writing Kickstarter, where for $50, the supporter would obtain access to every instructional video we produce (which we are making steady progress on), plus receive a poem by me to honour a special occasion and/or person in your life. This request was actually made outside the kickstarter channel by contacting L. Jagi Lamplighter directly, so I assume that this option is in theory still available today. 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.

How did I deserve to know?

Today is my wedding anniversary. Here is this year’s poem:


How did I deserve to know?

How did I deserve to know
A girl that’s so good for my soul,
With wisdom, passion, kindness, love
That I am so unworthy of?

It’s such a joy to wipe your tears,
Discuss your thoughts, your hopes, your fears,
For these eventful, treasured years
That we have been as one.

So with His strength and with His heart
Until it’s our time to depart
We reinforce these bonds of love
That fit us better than a glove,

To face the world and all its whims,
To cleanse our hearts of all their sins
And teach our children to become
Strong enough to overcome

The storms that surely will one day
Sweep across their narrow way
To purify them to their core
As they prepare for evermore.

You Really Are Too Good to Us

This year’s bithday poem for my wife:

You Really Are Too Good to Us

 

You really are too good to us,
So we have to thank you thus
(Plus of course in other ways,
From time to time and day by day).

There’s no one in the world that we would rather know
To hold us as we cry and watch us as we grow,
To celebrate our victories, commiserate our falls,
Encourage us that next time we will surely scale that wall,

Warn us when we wander from the straight and narrow path,
Hand us holy soap when our spirit needs a bath,
Hold us to higher standards than the world around us does,
Show unexpected kindnesses, simply just because

You love to give, to understand and help us lift our heads,
Gently kiss our foreheads when we’re tucked up in our beds,
Loving mother, daughter, friend and sister to a throng
Of souls who’d surely join us in singing you a song

To celebrate all that you are, the difference that you make,
The many blessings you provide, delicious treats you bake,
The comfort and encouragement your simple presence gives
Are heaps of shining evidence that in your heart He lives.