Inspiration In The Darkness

January 29, 2017 § 2 Comments

While perusing my Facebook feed, I came a few times across stories shared by friends that included the tragic photo of a young Syrian boy who had drowned and washed up on the Turkish coast.

The photo, which was actually from 2015, was connected to stories dealing with President Trump’s executive order banning Muslims from seven countries, including Syria, from entering or returning (if already here legally) to the United States.

That image simmered in the back of my subconscious, only to resurface as I watched a couple of programs featuring Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn, an artist whose own songs have touched on political, environmental, and spiritual themes (including events and life in Nicaragua and Guatemala).

With Cockburn’s words and music fresh in my mind, commingling with the memory of that image, I was inspired to write the following lines. My memory of the image being imperfect as I wrote these words, the young boy became a young girl. Because these lyrics make no specific references to that tragic death, I chose to leave the central character as a girl.

Desert Sand

Looked to find a new life, looking to the Promised Land
Felt the hope of the lie there in the palm of her father’s hand
Fate born of despair can be so cruel and wreck your plans
Leave you destined to lay your body down in the desert sand

She never really had a chance, born in a time of war
Knew the lie of the hope expressed by those who came before
Despair not of her making, she couldn’t understand
Why she was fated to lay her body down in the desert sand

Never had the chance to wonder why got to spread her wings and fly
Never had the chance to say goodbye
Never could be more than a twinkle in her father’s eye
Her parents couldn’t grieve, in such a hurry to leave
Hoping that their little girl would not have died in vain
But still they wondered why

She never found a new life, she never reached the Promised Land
And the lie stole the hope when her father let go of her hand
No despair and no trembling when the bombs strike her land
Left it behind when she laid her body down in the desert sand

She left it behind when she laid her body down
In the desert sand

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

EDIT 3/6/2017: Changed the first line of the bridge to eliminate repetition.

Striking The Right Chord

January 25, 2017 § Leave a comment

My wife (and arranger) has talked on several occasions about a sort of jam writing session where she would just play with chords, and I would see what comes to mind. So, we decided to give it a try.

She played, what were for my songs, a slightly unusual grouping of chords. Within seconds, I started to get some ideas for lyrics, lyrics different from what I usually write.

I think these lyrics are a bit more poetic in nature, although I suppose others will have to be the judge of that. I also played with omitting words and with trying to create unusual word pictures. You will have to be the judge as to whether I succeeded.

Fields Of Imagination

There she sits –
Waits for someone who’ll never come
He lives in her head
Along with the dreams, elusive, never true

In her world –
Skies of purple, seas of green
At night in her bed
Emotions colored in crimson and blue

In fields of imagination
The roles are reversed
There in her private thoughts
The lines well-rehearsed
Delivered on cue

Racing time –
The second-hand goes running past
She stays in her dreams
kaleidoscope, fragments of long ago

Pieces everywhere
Remnants of a life unlived
The status quo

In fields of imagination
The roles are reversed
There in her private thoughts
The lines well-rehearsed
Delivered on cue

&copy: 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

Everybody’s Talking At Me

January 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

The title to this post is taken from the Harry Nilsson hit, “Everybody’s Talkin’” (actually written by Fred Neil), featured in the film “Midnight Cowboy.”

Recently, there has been a great deal of coverage, debate, and discussion about the content and proclivity with which our next President takes to Twitter to comment on whatever has gotten under his skin on that particular day (or in that particular hour). This post has no intention to go into that except to cite is as a possible unconscious influence or inspiration for today’s lyrical entry.

I recently attended a concert by a very talented local singer-songwriter by the name of David Andrews. As I am usually want to do when I go to such musical events, I took along a notebook in case the muse decided to visit while I was listening. And she did.

I started writing lyrics for three songs while at that event (two are still in the very infant stage). I managed to finished an initial version of the lyrics for one.

While I wasn’t consciously thinking about the events of the weeks since the election, that may have influence me. That, or the fact that some people a table over wouldn’t stop talking while the music was playing. Regardless, this is what came out.

Just Shut Up

I know you’ve always got something on your mind
Never at a loss for words
Tell me, do you ever stop and think
About what you’re gonna say
I know you think you’ve got a point of view
That everybody needs to hear
But there’s a time to just sit back and listen
When words get in the way

There’s a time to talk, a time to act
A time to listen, that’s a natural fact
There’s a time to think, a time to feel
A time when silence is the only thing that’s real

So just shut up, don’t say a word
Sometime, the sound of nothing is what needs to be heard
Saying the wrong thing at the time
Turns out to be the greater crime
Next time, think before you speak
Then just shut up

I know you think you know the answers
Before the question’s even asked
Are you prepared to face the consequence
If it turns out that you were wrong
Your opinion, the only one that counts
So you shout it, loud and clear
But there are times when silence says much more
And the message comes through strong

There’s a time to speak, a time to do
A time to hear the message coming through
There’s a time to reflect, not just react
When silence is a signal you’re willing to hold back

So just shut up, don’t say a word
Sometime, the sound of nothing is what needs to be heard
Saying the wrong thing at the time
Turns out to be the greater crime
Next time, think before you speak
Then just shut up

Do us all a favor and just shut up

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

A New Year, A New Song

January 2, 2017 § Leave a comment

Some songwriters write based on their own life experiences. Others write based on their observations of the world around, what they see, what they read, and what they hear. Others still draw on a combination of observation and life experience.

I’d like to think I’m part of that latter group. Some of my songs are completely drawn from my own experiences. At this stage in my life, I should have a least a few such experiences to draw from.

At the same time, some of my songs are inspired by a memory but are then drawn from my imagination. The initial seed for other songs is planted by something I see or hear. A few are attempts to emulate another songwriter’s style (Elvis Costello being someone I’ve tried to write like, with limited success).

This first new lyric of 2017 drew its initial inspiration from a disagreement with my wife, during which she reminded me that I sometimes answer Question A with Answer B. In my subconscious, I have processed my answer as answering the question she’s asked. In her subconscious, my answer processes as not being an answer at all.

The realization that my answers to her questions may be related but may not actually be answers gave me the first two lines to this song. My imagination took over from there, including the realization that usually in any relationship nothing is ever black or white.

Losing Everything

We seem to speak in different tongues
Neither one quite understands
You may have struck the blow
But I’ve got blood upon my hands

I thought I’d walk through fire for you
That I would go to hell and back
Love for us was never easy
No simple choice of white or black

We’re just like sparring partners
Dancing ’round the ring
Saving our pride but losing everything

Sometimes, it’s not the things we do
Or even things we didn’t say
No one knows how the coin will land
Or sees inside the shades of gray

So many things we never see
So much that we may never know
We stay so close to the surface
Never revealing what’s below

You and I, two different voices
Different songs to sing
Finding our voice yet losing everything

We’re just like sparring partners
Dancing ’round the ring
Saving our pride but losing everything

© 2017 Walt Huntsman. All rights reserved.

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