There’s a new year starting backwards,
Grave Angels by Joe Henry. I can’t find a link toa Youtube video, but you could probably find it on a music streaming service.
I first heard a Joe Henry song in around 1994, and was hooked. It was a track from the ‘Kindness of the World’ album, but I can’t remember which one.
This is a track from Invisible Hour. I heard Joe Henry talking on a podcast a while ago. He talked abpout his parents’ strong Christian Faith, and the way that music does a similar thing for him. Music takes him to a place that is at the same time within him and yet beyond him.
The first two lines in this song talk about the way we know only so much about another person, even the ones we are closest to. We are gathered together – physically in the same space, sharing life … We are hidden from view – still hiding, or at least hidden to an extent behind our innermost thoughts. It reminds me of the Johari Window. I’ll post on that next time, if you’re curious and want to know what that is all about.
By the way, if you want to listen to Joe Henry in conversation – it’s here:
We are gathered together,
We are hidden from view—
In a tangle of laurel, we tear at our sorrow
Like bread and we start up anew;
Where a circus stands blazing
And steam engines brake and whine,
In a razed hobo jungle your lost and found wonder
Has risen and mixes with mine.
Then, foolish we are, in the presence of God
And what all his grave angels have done—
In love’s growling weather, if we’re dreaming together
Of a heaven apart from this one… Apart from our own
I take this to be holy—
If futile, uncertain and dire:
Our union of fracture, our dread everlasting,
This beautiful, desperate desire.
The cloud darkens now just to harrow,
It crosses your heart like a hand,
But it’s cool like the shadow of all we can see by the
Light that we can’t understand
From high up in naked trees,
That threw all their clothes like burning money
To the ground and all around our knees.
But we live outside of reason
And we’re called to stand out of time—
To hover above the rough river of love
That runs ahead but calls from behind.