Last night my wife deposited me and my ten-year-old son at the movie theatre, where the two of us watched “Harry Potter and the Deadly Pillows, Part Two.” (Here’s this thing I learned a week ago about Harry Potter and the city of Sandy, Utah. When the Harry Potter films are released, the Jordan Commons movie theatres break all records on Planet Earth ((apologies here to my columnreaders who, I am persistently assured by my editors, devour my writings in uncharted regions of the galaxy—I don’t mean to come across as planet-centric, but records are not available of how many of you watch Harry Potter movies (((if you do, please don’t consider them “historical documents,” like some innocent extra-terrestrials have done with “Gilligan’s Island))).)) for tickets sold. Film Moguls in Hollywood were reviewing the numbers and scratching their heads and asking one another “Where in the name of Jack Sparrow is Sandy, Utah?” Finally one of the FMs got on the phone to the Jordan Commons box office and asked “Where in the name of Jack Sparrow is Sandy, Utah?” The teen-aged ticket seller ((who herself may have set planetary records)) helpfully replied “It’s right between Midvale and Draper.” And the matter was closed.)

In this final HP movie, dead Harry is talking with Albus Dumbledore (those who are unfamiliar with Potterlore should not jump to the conclusion that this truly cute and disneyesque name is attached to a truly cute and disneyesque character, which I did until about halfway through the first book, waiting and waiting for him to do something Dumbledory, like trick Snow White into kissing him on the forehead, which she never did. Actually, he’s the noble headmaster of the wizarding academy “Hogwarts” ((what would Disney have done with that name?)).

[My son just interrupted to ask me if I knew Voldemort’s least favorite toddler joke. I said “No” and he said “I’ve got your no-o-ose.”]

HP and the Headmaster (that should be a rock band, except “Headmasters”) are in a purgatorial train station with lots of holy mist. Dumbledore says something to Harry like “Words are the most powerful somethings, either to build or to something something” (I’m consumed by all things Potter until right after I close the book or walk out of the theatre—then I can’t remember anything). So I’m going to give you words. Orderly, non-parenthetical words. Organized in rows of nearly equal length. Entirely unlike the lexical cacophony that is Backstage Graffiti.

Two columns ago I wrote that I was pregnant with CD. This the Meridian Editors let by without so much as a blush, which shows either how open-minded and honest we’ve become or how devoid of moral constraint, depending on your point of view—like, if you support Barrack Obama or Dick Cheney (nobody should be offended, here, because both of you are proud of it).

I’ve been writing my fingernails off (literally—they’re fake—for playing guitar) and here are some lyrics that weren’t published in that column.

This is the most recent, last week:

THE ANSWER

If you want love, you’ll get love.
If you want peace, you’ll get peace.
If you want children to cherish and dance with,
you’ll get all you can hold of these–

all you can hold of these.

If you want truth, you’ll get truth.
If you want friends, you’ll get friends.

If you want music as wild as the wind blows,
you’ll get songs that will never end–
songs that will never end.

          And when they ask you what you want,
         and you struggle to reply,
         it makes no dif’rence what you say,
         we have answered with our lives.

If you want sun, you’ll get sun.
If you want shade, you’ll get shade.
If you would sleep in the hills of the westlands,
you will rest and not be afraid–
rest and not be afraid.

If you want sand, you’ll get sand.
If you want sea, you’ll get sea.
You’ll get oceans of azure and greenglow,
and you’ll swim there, forever free–
you’ll swim forever free.

          And when they ask you what you want,
         and you struggle to reply,
         it makes no dif’rence what you say,
         we have answered with our lives.

 If you want love, you’ll get love.
If you want peace, you’ll get peace.
If you want children to cherish and dance with,
you’ll get all you can hold of these–

all you can hold of these.

It’s been a while since I recorded a love song for my wife. With a CD title like “Roses and Hope” I thought of Robert Burns’ “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose.” (Bob Dylan said that this old lyric influenced his life’s work more than any other. Maybe that will change—the Meridian Editors have repeatedly assured me that Bob Dylan reads my column.) Trouble is,my wife is more than that. So I wrote this lyric on July 25th.

 MY LOVE IS ONLY SOMETHING LIKE A ROSE

My love is only something like a rose.
My love is quite unlike the roses I have tried to grow.
They flamed and hung like treasure in my childhood,
Then fell apart like autumn on the snow.

My love is only something like a rose,
Only just a little like the ones my childhood knew.
They kissed me with their color, sweet and sultry,
Then they flew in pieces when the dry wind blew.

          Something like those roses, but much sweeter,
         Something so much lovelier than those,
         Something like a rose, but so much deeper,
         My love is only something like a rose.

She smiles more like a diamond than a rose.
She blooms in every season of my wild and windy life.
Her pages, soft and warm, unfold forever
From the never-ending center of my wife.

         Something like those roses, but much sweeter,
         Something so much lovelier than those,
         Something like a rose, but so much deeper,
         My love is only something like a rose.

They cut a new road from Alpine to Draper over Traverse Ridge. This is the ridge that tapers down from the east-west range of Lone Peak to the Point of the Mountain. (Venusian Columnreaders, a mountain is where the earth kind of crinkles and… well, just come visit.) At first I was mad, because previously you had to pay a price of sore muscles or busted Jeep shocks in order to get up there. Now I’m glad, because it’s beautiful up there and I paid the price long ago. I played guitar for a friend who was singing at a funeral in Draper in early June. Driving back over the ridge, white clouds like ships in the sky, spring runnoff sparkling in the ponds, and sunlight splashing the hills, I began writing this song.

 MOTHER OF OCEANS

Mother of oceans, Mother of clouds,
Mother of mountains, awesome and proud,
Mother of thunder, Mother of rain,
Mother of hope and the song in the grain.

Mother of oceans, Mother of stones,
Mother of tempests pounding my bones,
Mother of sages, Mother of plains,
Mother of peace and the Mother of pain,

         Spinning in faith like your sister Moon,
         Turning your face to the grace of stars,
         Spinning away through the wars and rages,
         Faithful to the Rock of Ages,

Mother of eagles, Mother of mice,
Mother of geysers, Mother of ice,
Mother of liars and innocent men,
Dance in the fire and turn once again.


 

 

 

The Spirit is said to quicken our minds and enlighten our understanding. That’s happened to me, even if I can’t remember Harry Potter plots. But more often when I find the Spirit near, he’s picking me up off the table with some work in mind. This was finished around Pioneer Day.

DUMB AS A HAMMER

Make me dumb as a hammer in your hand.
Swing me wide, swing me sure,
Pound the nations into sand.
Make me dumb as a hammer in your hand.

Make me light as a fire in your eye.
Make me light as a feather
On your wing against the sky,
Light as flame in the furnace of your eye.

     I am a sword.
     Beat me flat into a blade to plow the ground.
     I am a spear.
     Bend my head to prune the barren branches down.
     I am a saw.
     Break my teeth against the idols in the land.
     Make me dumb as a hammer in your hand.

Make me blind as an arrow on your string.
Make me true, smooth, and simple.
Like an arrow, let me sing
Through the wind, blind and eager for the sting.

Make me soft as the healing in your voice.
Take the words, leave the feeling.
Let me silently rejoice.
Make me soft as the healing in your voice.

     I am a sword.
     Beat me flat into a blade to plow the ground.
     I am a spear.
     Bend my head to prune the barren branches down.
     I am a saw.
     Break my teeth against the idols in the land.
     Make me dumb as a hammer in your hand.

Also in the midst of this creative frenzy I wrote a verse to a chorus that’s been sung around the world on BYU TV (this I know even without the Meridian Editors telling me), “Take the Mountain Down.” The play is a bluegrass telling of the Prodigal Son story, but the title song, when the father and son re-unite, never had a verse. So here’s the verse, surrounded by chorus. Imagine twang.

TAKE THE MOUNTAIN DOWN

     Let me take the mountain down
     That stands between your heart and mine.
     Let me shake it to the ground
     And let our lives in love entwine.
     Oh wrap the sweet forgiveness ‘round
     About your worn and weary bones.
     Let me take the mountain down
     And have my lost lamb safe at home.

The Spirit grows like a cloud over the plain,
Then the rain it falls on down on hard, hard ground.
The Spirit glows like the dawn over my pain,
And like the grain it sways around and around and around.
The Spirit shines like a beacon on the hill,
Like a million colors rising in the sky.
I have to laugh as the Spirit tears apart
All the gray that filled my heart on the day you said goodbye.

     Let me take the mountain down
     That stands between your heart and mine.
     Let me shake it to the ground
     And let our lives in love entwine.
     Oh wrap the sweet forgiveness ‘round
     About your worn and weary bones.
     Let me take the mountain down
     And have my lost lamb safe at home.

Turlough O’Carolan was a blind Celtic harpist who travelled from one nobleman’s home to another in the early eighteenth century, composing tunes for his hosts—lovely, haunting, magical tunes. A Celtic band I play with, Annie’s Romance, has been performing a piece called “O’Carolan’s Welcome.” There weren’t any words on the paper that was passed out, so I wrote these sometime in July.

HOPE, LIKE SMOKE

Hope, like smoke, scatters wild on the wind,
A scent on the breath of the evening.
Hope, like smoke, will arise, dance, and spin,
Die away then and leave me a-grieving.

Hope, like smoke, is a fair fragile thing,
A vapor, a shade of heartbreaking.
Hope is thin like a butterfly wing
When the thunder and lightning are shaking.

     Welcome me home. Bring me out of the night,
     Out of stirring and struggling and striving.
     Welcome me home. Let us cherish the light—
     Warm our hands ‘round a hope hushed and thriving.

I’ll include this piece that was part of that previous column, because there have been a couple of changes—there may be more.

TENDER MERCIES

Tender mercies touch my eyes—
warm, like a breath of summer skies.
Tender mercies, like the breeze,
bend with angelsong all the trees.
Tender mercies fall like rain—
showers of grace embrace my pain.
Tender mercies heal my day,
steal my troubles and tears away.

      Tender mercies cover me,
      cloth of covenant over me.
      Tender tapestries Jesus wove,
      hang like holiness in the grove.

Tender mercies, like a rod,
shepherd me home to my good God.
Tender mercies break my heart,
take my wandering will apart.

       Tender mercies cover me,
       cloth of covenant over me.
       Tender tapestries Jesus wove
       hang, like holiness in the grove.

Tender mercies fill His hands—
rich, like a rainbow’s radiant bands.
Tender mercies bathe my feet
when my spirit and Savior meet.

And the title song, of which only a fragment appeared previously:

ROSES AND HOPE

You take so kindly all the love I can conceive,
Never once reminding me that hope is what you need.
I am a summer stream, I’ll ebb and flow and fail.
Jesus is an endless river, laughing by the dusty trail.

     Roses and hope are milk and honey for the soul.
     Love and believing always makes the broken whole.
     You cry for comfort out along the stony slope.
     I can give you roses. He can give you hope.

How can I love you better than a man who has it all,
Who shepherds you and lifts you higher every time you fall?
Seeing all he is, I must release you with a prayer.
But I will send you roses for as long as roses grow out there.

     Roses and hope are milk and honey for the soul.
     Love and believing always makes the broken whole.
     You cry for comfort out along the stony slope.
     I can give you roses. He can give you hope.

I can feel a morning rising long before it shows.
I can’t say I’m surprised to find that’s where you want to go.
I’ll follow in the shadow cast behind you when he smiles,
Then find you roses by the road for miles and miles and miles and miles.

      Roses and hope are milk and honey for the soul.
     Love and believing always makes the broken whole.
     You cry for comfort out along the stony slope.
     I can give you roses. He can give you hope.

I wish I were singing these words to you, but Dumbledore didn’t say anything about music.