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Archive for the ‘The World’ Category

True gifts of light. Do try this at home if you wish!

I led a pre-Christmas group at work last week that I do every year at this time. I ask: what is a gift you’d give yourself, one you’d give to those you love, one you’d give a stranger, one you’d give the group, and one you’d give the world–remember, these are gifts that do not cost money, so think “outside the 🎁”. But I preface this with, what is a similar gift someone(s) once gave you that has helped you in life.

In this spirit of giving and acknowledging such gifts, for this holiday season, I give myself a pat on the back for being patient with life and acceptance of my circuitous path. I give my loved ones many, many, many hugs and kisses (if they want them), my attempts at being non-judgmental, and my time. I give a stranger my work as a volunteer helping families with breastfeeding babies and occasionally helping someone carry something down the street. I give my colleagues(my group) suggestions (only when asked for) and the wisdom of my experience (only when asked for). I give the world my music because I can’t help it and I can’t help it any other way.

And gifts I’ve been given: my mother gave me her altruism, the love of words and grammar and scrabble, and the love of poetry and her faith in my music. My father gave me his talent with numbers and sounds (he was a sonar engineer) and the love of puns and Pi. My husband has given me his patience (sometimes) and a steadfast love and the best father I could have for my children. My children have given me a reason to be proud and the sheer enjoyment of being with them and seeing them grow to be such thoughtful and caring souls (and a huge dollop of attempts at being patient when they drove me nuts). My sister gave me a home when I was needy and an appreciation of beauty and her love of my music. My brother gave me the joy of driving fast and a love of art on paper. My nieces and nephews have given me the gift of listening. My wider family and friends have given me love, people to play with (scrabble, walks on the beach, music) and the joy of connection.

I’m glad I can be grateful.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Resurrection Song

Written last Easter while thinking about where the world seems to be in terms of the daily incredulities. If we sing together, there is hope…

* * * * *

We despair at every horror, every lie, and every scandal;
We hold on by a single thread, or by a greasy handle,
We think we’ve heard it all until we hear what’s worse once more.
Until we feel we’re falling as if right through the floor.
Listen through the static and you will hear a song
Take a breath and catch the note and start to sing along…

Chorus:
The goodness of humanity will shine a welcome light
With an open door in every coldest, deepest, darkest night
With voices chanting every truth, 10 to the power of 10,
And hearts with boundless love will surely rise again,
Rise again, rise again, will surely rise again.

Close your eyes and open your ears to hear an insistent sound,
A persistent, swelling chorus, with an echo coming round,
Every note that’s sounded like the ringing of a bell,
Crowds of people proclaiming we have truth to tell.
Listen through the static and you will hear a song
Take a breath and catch the note and start to sing along…
Chorus…

Weary feet in vict’ry will walk soft where meanness tread.
The shelter for the hapless will make up another bed
The harbor for the stranger will open up its gate
And souls with wounded hope will overthrow the hate.
Listen through the static and you will hear a song
Take a breath and catch the note and start to sing along…
Chorus…

* * *
Hear a demo here: SoundCloud Demo Recording

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A poem I wrote in the spring of 2018… The inspiration being the news about what is happening to our ocean life and my innate knowledge that all life has and all lives have a song.

* * * * *

Is there singing in the sea?
The sound of the waves is a lullaby
to me reclining on the sand of the shore.
“Shhh-ahh, shhh-ahh, shhh-ahh”
whisper-sings the ocean mother.
I wonder that the clouds in this bluest sky
set the tempo of these waters
that flow with the earth’s spinning rhythm.

Is there singing in the sea?
Do these waves mask the tunes
of the whales’ poignant aria of loss and death,
telling the anguish of suffocation in
the plastic detritus and metallic poisons of two-legged land creatures?

Is there singing in the sea?
Do the dolphins recit of love
in their joyful darting dances in and out of the waves?
Or of fear and pain when caught in the fisher’s net or
when smothered by the fume of a boat’s exhaust?

Is there singing in the sea?
Do the bleached corals, blanched by the heat of humanity’s hubris,
croak in raspy gasps for air?
Do the anemone yet hum a swirly melody of the flow of life and death
as they gently entrap their tiny prey?

Is there singing in the sea?
Down in the dark, dark depths
where the weight of water and the near absence of light
is belied by the insistent beauty of life in thermal streams,
do strangely formed beings sing a pungent bacterial lay of survival,
a deep booming ostinato of “then, now, and evermore”?

Is there singing in the sea?
I walk along the strand and count my steps to the
ebb and flow,
ebb and flow,
ebb and flow
of ever-moving tides.
Seals, resting on rocks and sandbars,
mouthe a pulsing monophony of moaning tones
as they warm themselves in the sun
while waves lap at them in slow deliberate time.
I sing along with their cantata
“ah-roo, ah-roo, ah-roo”.
I pick up the lone nautilus and hold it to my ear.
I hear a soft soothing breathing.
I ask silently of the shell,
“Is there singing in the sea?”
She replies in a quiet
“phffff, phffff; phffff, phffff”
insisting that as long as there is
sky and cloud
wind and water
seal and sun
rock and amoeba
sand and starfish
shell and crab
storm and wave
fish and fathom
shark and cod
predator and prey
whale and narwhal
signal and echo
dolphin and dance
turtle and current
thermal and geyser
there shall be singing in the sea–

but only if the two-legged land creature
learns to sing along.

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“I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion.” “There is no love of life without despair of life.” – Albert Camus

Absurdity

This song was written on August 5th, inspired by the Brain Pickings blog post on Albert Camus’s philosphy about living through despairing times.

I look outside my window and I see the rain
I look outside my window and I see the rain.
But for the rain, there wouldn’t be the flower.
But for the rain, there wouldn’t be the flower.
How absurd! How absurd! How absurd! How absurd!

Chorus:

No love without despair, no mend without a tear.
No freedom without a scar; just passion goes far.

I look across the sky and I see the clouds
I look across the sky and I see the clouds.
But for the clouds, there wouldn’t be the rainbow
But for the clouds, there wouldn’t be the rainbow.
How absurd! How absurd! How absurd! How absurd! Chorus

I look inside my heart and I see the pain.
I look inside my heart and I see the pain.
But for the pain, no joy in a blue sky.
But for the pain, no joy in a blue sky.
How absurd! How absurd! How absurd! How absurd!

In a dream, spoken freely, is the chance.
Beneath an ever-changing sky is the dream in my eye.
I speak a truth, and my dream does a dance.
I sing a truth, and my dream learns to fly.

I look outside my window and I see the rain
I look outside my window and I see the rain.
But for the rain, there wouldn’t be the flower.
But for the rain, there wouldn’t be the flower.
How absurd! How absurd! How absurd! How absurd! Chorus

******

Click here to hear the song: Absurdity on SoundCloud

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My new song — Nevertheless, She Persisted, in honor of Senator Elizabeth Warren 

He told her, be quiet.  He told her, sit down.
He told her, don’t riot.  But she stood her ground.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
For she had her morals and she had the right
And she had the laurels to put up a fight.
Nevertheless, she persisted.

Chorus:
Never the less, she went on.
Never the less, she resisted.
Never the less, she moved strong.
Never the less, she persisted.

She spoke for all people who don’t have the power,
Who’ve been put down, and turned round, and been made to cower.
“We won’t shut up, we won’t back down, we won’t give up, and we won’t turn round.
We’ll stand in the hallway and shout the door down.”

You may have your rules but those ways are broken
And she grabbed the tools so the truth could be spoken.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
For she had her morals and she had the right
And she had the laurels to put up a fight.
Nevertheless, she persisted.

Chorus

Hear the song here:

https://soundcloud.com/janhapharp/nevertheless-she-persisted

or here

https://soundcloud.com/janhapharp/nevertheless-she-persisted-with-heartsoulvoice-duo

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My response provoked by listening to the (sometimes vitriolic) dialog about the situation between Israel and Palestine.  My heart is sick at the loss of life and the seeming incapacity for some human beings to have empathy for other human beings.  You can hear the music at:

I am writing another version of this.  This one was written in 10 minutes on Thursday morning, July 31, 2014.

Provocation, Response.

Provocation. Response.
Provocation. Response.
Provocation. Response.

If you shout at me and I shout back,
Your ears will only hear the screaming.
If you shout at me and I reply in softness,
Your ears begin to hear the meaning.

I am a human being;
You are a human being;
We are both human beings.
We both bleed red.
We both cry blue.
In the mirror, you are my image.
Side by side, we are equals.

If I cage you into a corner,
Do you not cry out in anguish?
If I burn you with my iron fist,
Do you not strike back in fear?

An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye—
And we are all sightless.
A tooth for a tooth for a tooth for a tooth—
And we are all starving.

A yell is as good as a kick.
A shout is as good as a punch.
A whisper is as good as a handshake.
A song is as good as a door opening.

Shhh, listen. Shhh, listen. Shhh, listen. Shhh, listen.

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Turnabout

The world right now…as it ever was, with Israeli killing Palestinian and vice versa.  Yet, the whole issue is wrapped up in one side or the other denying the others’ humanity, and mostly one side with all the power denying the right of self-determination, the right to self-govern, and the right to be considered equal with full privileges.  I believe that we are all HUMAN BEINGS before we are any other thing.

Turnabout

Some think there is true left,
Some think there is true right.
Some think there is true wrong
Counteracted only by might.

Fate gives some a twist
When an alley brings a fist,
But such a turn with strife
May bring a turnabout in life.

Look behind the gun, the fist, the knife,
You will see countless generations rife
With toothless gums and blinded eyes,
With children’s cries and mothers’ sighs,

With peoples misused and women jeered
By private privilege abused or country’s coin revered.
When any one of us strips another of their spirit’s power,
Ugly destruction lies in the pain of a weapon’s shower:

Restoration’s beauty lies in the promise of forgiving–
And in allowing those different, those wounded, those troubled…
the loveliness of living.

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