When it Seems…

Another song I might record one day:

When it Seems…

When your nation’s soul is crumbling
As its purpose slowly dies;
A man of principle can’t find
A sight to soothe his eyes.

All around are trace reminders
Of the way things used to be
When honour, fortitude and trust
Were found abundantly.

Now the enemy is laughing
And his power seems secure,
Your allies are collapsing
And it seems you can’t endure:

There’s a hope that will never fail
There’s a power that’s above the sky,
You are part of a wondrous tale
Of love that simply will not die.

When the sickness overwhelms you
And your body’s wracked with pain;
The strength that always got you through
Has been completely drained,

There’s a truth that keeps you going
Through the fury of the storm;
There’s a kindness overflowing
That will all these woes transform

Into scars of pride and glory
In the kingdom that’s to come
As we witness the full story
Of the Father and the Son:

There’s a hope that will never fail
There’s a power that’s above the sky,
You are part of a wondrous tale
Of love that simply will not die.

Dominus Dixit

This is the other song I was commissioned to write, and is much more ambitious in its scope, in that it requires at least six parts, so would take a very brave musical group to attempt it. The initial tale was of a last Christmas mass being held in a crumbling church before its scheduled demolition and conducted by an aging traditionalist priest being pushed into retirement by a young ‘progressive’ bishop. Instead of simply retelling it in song, I expanded it into a dramatic Valjean/Javert-style confrontation between the two complete with a narrator, congregation and angelic chorus, plus some basic stage direction. 

Dominus Dixit

Narrator:

The town abounds with Christmas cheer
As we near that time of year;
But at the church upon the hill,
There’s little season

 

al goodwill.

With wrinkles on his hands
An old priest humbly stands
Before a younger bishop
Who has ambitious plans:

Bishop:

“I don’t care about tradition,
This is now the modern age;
We’ll knock down this crumbling mission
And then turn a whole new page,

“We’ll build a towering school of philosophy
To break tradition’s chains and set men free;
No more chants of stale encrusted liturgy,
We will march on forward to modernity.”

Priest:

“No, we will not change a thing,
We’ll be here and we will simply sing
Gloria Patri, et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto.”

Bishop:

“You’ve got one more week, then I can have you replaced
To give this place a welcome change of pace;
People who’ll follow the trends of fashionable thought
And make all the changes that they ought.”

Priest:

“No, we must not change a word
Of what two thousand years has stood;
Foundations must not be destroyed
Or else, we fall into the void.”

Bishop:

“I’ll give you one more chance to prove me wrong,
To keep up with the times and show you belong
To this age of progress, wonders to behold
With your midnight mass, don’t leave me cold.”

Narrator:

The priest retreats to his small room,
Falls to his knees and in the gloom
All week he cries out fervently
With tears and pain and urgency:

Priest:

“Am I blind to the signs of the times,
Or is this the world that I must fight?
“What can I do? What can I say?
How can I find the narrow way?

“Your saints worked through the centuries
Should we be more than mere trustees
Of what they all have handed down;
Dare we resculpt their holy crown?

“My faith is weak, my body frail,
But in You I cannot fail;
I will stand on what I know
You have approved for us to sow.

“Give me strength and wisdom, too
To know what You would have me do.
Let not my slowing mind obscure
Your loving heart, so true and pure.”

Narrator:

The day arrives, all is prepared,
Though some things could not be repaired;
The wooden crèche is incomplete,
Its heralds missing from their seats.

The bishop notices and scoffs,

Bishop:

“Tradition clings to what is lost.
The angels have abandoned you,
A sign so clear it could get through

“Your hard old head to see your fault:
Look at this decaying vault,
‘Tis only fit to be torn down
And something better for this town

Built in its place to serve their needs,
Not merely chant outdated creeds.”

Priest:

“You’ve made it clear, you’ve had your say
Now let me have my final day.”

Narrator:

A handful of old congregants
Sit in nervous cognizance
Of what hangs over this old hall;
The priest stands from his old oak stall.

The bishop sits with a scornful look
As the priest reads from his gilded book:

Priest:

Dóminus dixit ad me:
Fílius meus es tu;
ego hódie génui te.

Narrator:

Some try to read and sing along
With tired notes that come out wrong.
They falter, stop in shame and groan
Until he is again alone.

Priest:

Quare fremuérunt gentes,
et pópuli meditáti
sunt inánia?

Narrator:

Disheartened he begins to slow
And his surrender starts to show,
Then as he sings the next few words,
Two voices from above are heard:

Angels:

Gloria Patri, et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto.

{Melody} {Angelic harmony}
Narrator: Angels:
The congregation looks around
To find the source of this sweet sound
Inspired by this heavenly noise
All those present add their voice.
Sicut erat in principio
et nunc et semper
et in saecula
saeculorum. Amen.

{All voices: Melody plus angelic harmonies, an additional (ordinary) harmony joins in on ‘Quare’, ‘Gloria’ and ‘Sicut, to represent the congregation gaining more confidence and strength in their singing.}

Dóminus dixit ad me:
Fílius meus es tu;
ego hódie génui te.
Quare fremuérunt gentes,
et pópuli meditáti
sunt inánia?
Gloria Patri, et Filio,
et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio
et nunc et semper
et in saecula
saeculorum. Amen.

{Above repeats with additional bass voice(s)}

Narrator:

When the chorus is complete and each eye sheds joyful tears
And hearts are moved by beauty like they haven’t been in years,
Many search in vain for whence those voices came
That lit their souls on fire with a bright eternal flame.

The balconies were empty, the vestries were unmanned,
There’s nothing in the doorways that could make a sound so grand.
The bishop, shaken to his core, desperate to find out more,
Rushes up some spiral stairs to find beside some broken chairs

Up in the loft are standing two carved wooden figurines;
The angels from the crèche had not abandoned them it seems.
Contrition overwhelms him and he falls onto his knees,
Confessing sins and attitudes and making humble pleas,

Then carries the two angels down to put them in their place
To herald the Lord’s coming with self-sacrificial grace.
The old priest welcomes him back and together they will stand
To proclaim the Christmas message to this precious, blessed land.

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.

Hard Moon by David Hallquist

This has been a long time coming, and I am happy to finally announce the launch of Hard Moon by David Hallquist.

It was a pleasure to edit this book (as well as the rest of the trilogy), and I’d like to think I made valuable contributions to making it as awesome as it is.

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 Crisis trilogy

Books 2 and 3 are available for preorder, and will go on sale on the 13th of January and of February.

http://bit.ly/GoddessGambit

 

http://bit.ly/GoddessGambit


Lyrics, melody and vocals by Ben Zwycky, musical accompaniment by Sean McCleery

Cover art by Corey McCleery

Selected images and colliding planets animation from pixabay

Stock effects from footagecrate.com

Jupiter image from NASA Juno Mission

Balcony figures by Lee Madison

3d modelling and animation in Daz Studio, audio editing in audacity, and video editing, animation, additional effects and post production in Hit Film Pro by Ben Zwycky.


Lyrics to the song:

There is No War That Can be Harder Fought

There is no prize more worthy to be sought,
There is no war that can be harder fought,
Than for the fate of your own very soul,
For eternal are the stakes and goals.

There is a beast that grows inside of me;
One of great strength and raw hostility.
I do not dare let it take full control,
For each time it takes an awful toll.

Its powers have saved my life so many times,
Down in these dank and deadly lunar mines.
The ones who forced this beast into my veins
Shall reap a vast and wrathful hurricane.

I must survive and tell of what I know,
And put an end to this great horror show;
To think that with this monstrous form they can
Improve upon a mortal man?

This is my goal, for now at least I live,
This is the sacrifice that I must give,
To fight for justice, stop those evil men,
And perchance, to find true life again?

So endure! And persist!
Against all expectations inhumanity resist!
Take control! Reach that goal!
Against all expectations work to purify your soul!
Win this war! Beat the odds!
Bring down those men who see themselves as mighty demigods!

Then at last, I’ll know who I am.

The Angels Roar

(to the tune of “You Raise Me Up” by Rolf Løvland/Brendan Graham)

The Angels Roar

The angels roar in triumph at Your victory,
They stand astounded at Your wondrous plan;
Your glory far outweighs all our sufferings,
Your beauty lifts our hearts with hope again.

Your promises are surer than the mountains,
The path to you is hard but worth each step;
You give us strength to walk on through the deepest pain
Your gift of life is mightier than death.

So when our days are full of heavy burdens,
When it seems the darkness never ends,
There’s one thing of which we can be certain:
We have in You the greatest of all friends.

The world is lost and drowning in its hubris,
Devoid of kindness, bitter to its core,
So deserving of consignment to the abyss,
And yet you came to offer so much more.

The angels roar in triumph at Your victory,
They stand astounded at Your wondrous plan;
Your glory far outweighs all our sufferings,
Your beauty lifts our hearts with hope again.


Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/Lancios-7858119/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4361856″>Maurizio Lanciotti</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=4361856″>Pixabay</a&gt;

There’s no Force Upon the Earth

It’s my wedding anniversary today, here is this year’s poem/song. This one was a bit of a rush job to produce after coming back from DragonCon, so is a little less polished than I would like.

There’s no Force upon the Earth

There’s no force upon the earth
That will make me doubt your worth;
There’s no place on earth that I would rather be
Than beside you every day, united on our way
To claim the prize that shines eternally.

‘Cause your love is true, and it’s seen me through
So many times of darkness and despair;
You give me strength to stand with your loving hand
And all the signs that you so deeply care.

More than silver, more than gold,
I hope that I grow old
Surrounded by the fruits of our great love;
When bound to you I’m free, you are the one for me,
The girl in the whole world I’m most proud of.

Songs Now Available for Purchase

Both versions of the song ‘A Tale of the Once and Future King’ are now available for purchase at my cdbaby.com artist page for only 99 cents each. They can both be found by clicking the image below:

In time they should also become available from other online music stores. I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I did creating them, and they help to prepare the audience for Anthony Marchetta’s upcoming masterpiece.

Reviewer Praise for Doctor to Dragons

Doctor to Dragons has its first review on amazon, and from a fellow veterinarian, no less (though sadly one of non-magical creatures):

“I loved the idea of a fantasy book from the perspective of a veterinarian. As a veterinarian, Mr. Huggins did an amazing job of expressing a veterinarian well. The stresses and joys. The quick thinking and the problem solving. I had never thought about what it would be like to do surgery on a dragon, but since reading this book, I have dreamed about it and it is amazing! I regularly think about what I need to do to protect myself and staff from potentially aggressive patients, but am now very happy that I don’t treat basilisks! Thank you for an amazing entertaining story!!”

There you have it, what better seal of authenticity could you ask for? Don’t delay and dive into the exciting world of dragon surgery, with occasional forays into the wonders of basilisk balms, chimera cures, troll treatments and orc ointments.

As you descend to the waiting room with your beloved but beleaguered beast, feel free to soothe its nerves by singing along with the Dark Lord’s favourite elevator music. You know you want to:

 

Imagine God

My apologies for the delay, the summer heat has caused an eye irritation that means I cannot look at text on a screen for long without a lot of discomfort, so we’ll see how soon before I can write anything else.

In the meantime, this is what got me started as a poet, and made me realise I might have some talent for poetry, much to my surprise. The situation that brought this experiment about is not a happy one.

For the first year of my marriage, we lived in a rented flat, and our landlord was a young man in his late twenties, living with his girlfriend on the floor above us. He was killed in a car crash about halfway through our tenancy, and we of course attended his funeral. It was the most depressing event I have ever attended, utter despair written into the faces of everyone in his family at such a promising life cut so tragically short, and one of the songs played over his open grave was ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon/Yoko Ono.

I was probably the only native English speaker at the funeral, so I’d like to think that whoever chose that song didn’t understand it, only knowing that he had liked it. I remember thinking at the time that it was a terrible song for a funeral, since its message is one of forsaking all hope for the next life in exchange for some presumed happiness in this one.

It is a beautiful haunting melody, so I set about writing some alternative lyrics that would be close to the original wording while transforming its message into one of genuine hope. Here is the result:

Continue reading

Different Eyes

This is one of the first songs I ever wrote, with a very simple haunting guitar accompaniment (stretching my very poor guitar skills to the limit). I was sure I had it written down somewhere but couldn’t find it, so have reconstructed it from what I remember. It is about Good Friday, which is today. If I can get them finished in time, I hope to have a poem about Easter Saturday up tomorrow, and one about Easter Sunday the day after, we’ll see how that goes. Continue reading