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.

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.

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.

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.

And Yet…

And Yet…

When faced with a true master,
My words fall flat as stone;
No great deeds they accomplish,
No great sins they atone.

And yet a simple glimpse of truth
Is all a dark place needs
To show the walls are crumbling,
To plant some healthy seeds

That sprout and grow so strong they change
The world in ways profound;
Such as when a shepherd shod
His shoes on holy ground.

So take that little step with me
To truthfulness and light;
Who knows where that tight path will lead,
What otherworldly sight

Will greet us on the noble way
To love beyond our ken,
Where treasured souls we thought were lost
Shall reunite again?

There He who wipes our tears will smile
With arms thrown open wide,
Show us to our special place,
And welcome us with pride.

Eternal Perspective

When the universe was filled with light and time itself began
The Lord of All already had in mind his wondrous plan,
Knowing we would fail Him and wreck the world with sin,
He went ahead and made a way to welcome us back in,

Through His painful sacrifice to take what we deserve,
And lead us by example to be humble and to serve,
To live a life that’s worthy of the light he calls us to,
That he will fill with strength enough to always get us through

The trials, tears, and obstacles the world will send our way,
To struggle on with hope that guides us when we fall and stray,
Knowing there are times when we must simply cling and pray
To His faithful promise that will come with break of day.

He knows our past, our future, and with His eternal eyes
Still sees us as worth the effort, to Him we’re still a prize
That He treasures more than all the heartache and the pain
We cause Him with the bitterness, spite and pure disdain

We show Him in our daily lives and petty selfish goals,
Chasing after vanities, forsaking our true roles,
Choosing fleeting pleasures instead of heaven’s treasures;
Despite all this, eternal bliss still calls upon our souls.

So turn your face and aim your heart towards the highest good,
Tread the narrow steps upon which nobler feet have stood;
Turn away from greed, help those around in need,
Then you’ll give the world a taste of heaven’s brotherhood.

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.

Discussing Bohemian Advent on Zaklog the Great’s book club

I made my third appearance on Zaklog the Great’s book club to discuss the Bohemian Advent series. If you were wondering about its different levels of meaning and biblical/historical references, then you’re in for a treat (for my Czech readers, my apologies for my stumbling over the Czech recitation, it’s usually someone else that reads the Czech translation at my church):

When the Light Came Down

A few years ago, I was approached to convert two different stories of Christmas miracles into singable lyrics to be put to music as part of a Christmas album. I composed and sent off the lyrics, but heard no more about efforts to produce the music and record them since then. I’ll share those lyrics with you now, and perhaps one Christmas in the near future their uplifting harmonies will bring joy and hope to an audience.

It is so long ago that I can’t remember the melody I had in mind for this first one, which concerns a secret meeting of Christians in the darkest depths of Soviet Russia. I will share the other one next week, if I can work out a way to format text into two columns in a blog post.

When the Light Came Down

In a land of cruel repression
And an atmosphere of dread,
The threat of disappearance
Hangs over every head.

The Cheka took the clergy
Who failed to hide themselves;
The gulag’s thirst is never quenched
For bloodshed in its cells.

In a barn out in the country
The faithful dare to meet
To celebrate the Nativity,
That great day in history

When the Light came down
To redeem the earth;
The Word made flesh
Through a pauper’s birth.

The pastor sees a boy he knew
And baptized long ago,
Now grown into a strong young man
Trudging through the snow.

The pastor’s smile is tempered
By a dark but nagging thought;
“Where has he been all of these years,
What battles has he fought?

“Is he lost, in need of saving,
Or an agent of the state,
Here to observe, inform on us
And seal our awful fates?”

But the Light came down,
Leaving heavenly bliss,
To be sacrificed
For such a wretch as this.

His mind made up, the pastor calls
For quiet, then he reads
The words of the old liturgy
That address their deepest needs:

For peace on earth, goodwill to men
And glory upon high
To God who is owed all our praise,
And all things beautifies.

When the pleas move on to ask
For blessings on the nation,
A look upon the young man’s face
Betrays his consternation.

For the Light came down
And showed the world its sin;
Men preferred the dark
To being changed within.

All there commend their lives to Christ
With confident conviction
Alone the young man holds his tongue,
Won’t mouth the benediction.

Sins are confessed, repented of,
Forgiveness is proclaimed.
God’s Mercy is extolled and
Calls to holiness are made.

The Eucharist draws nearer,
God’s purity declared;
His Holy Spirit invited into
All those thus prepared.

Then a Light shone down,
Into that dusty place;
An instinctive fear
Flooded every face.

Could that light be the Cheka,
Arriving to arrest
The faithful for their brazenness,
And thought crimes unconfessed?

No, it’s something more profound,
This old barn is now holy ground,
Each heart is filled with joy and peace,
Each guilty conscience finds release.

The young man stumbles forward,
Pleading for his soul,
The great light struck him blind and he
Now longs to be whole.

For the Light came down
To heal our ills;
Not for fortune, fame,
Or a thousand hills.

“I was here at the state’s behest
To report on faith expressed
In anything but the Soviet
And failure to quail at their threats.

“Forgive me, for I have betrayed
All for which you worked and prayed;
I believed their vicious lies
About you and all they despise.”

The old men gather round and pray
For the scales to fall away
From the eyes of his heart and head
To revive what once was dead.

For the Light came down,
Offering new birth,
To flee the snares of sin
And live a life of worth.