abba's way

I continued to hate LBJ

And when you speak of real life you grasp the nettle, the sharp edge of everything that can make you bleed, no filter in between you and the truth, the dismal truth of failure. If we could simply begin with failure as a default, with doom as the sentence, with sadness as the underlying theme, we would be ahead of the game. Nothing would hurt us quite as much. Caring would not be a sin. Life facing reality would not cause one to shrink. Real life is what it always is. No different from days passed in illusory quests. Just seeing things with eyes more open. I was in Stockbridge not Chicago. I was moving forward in real steps not imagined leaps. I was seated in my plastic rolling chair in the rough-cut pine environs of my back building before my Smith-Corona, Gideon Bible open to a passage in Matthew. I was writing. Typing.

The smell of the desert was still on his cloak

The sound of the mountain you could hear as he spoke

A look of such love in his eyes I did see

And later I was sitting a few steps down in this wonderfully improvised old barn, my Martin D18 in hand.

I used to write the most poetic lines

But now they are all shattered

In the fragments of the chimes

Music. At first I kept it to myself. Almost somnambulant. Still shattered myself. I drove over to Monterey to Judy and David, my psychosynthesis friends, I smashed some pillows. I felt the twinges of release through all my body. I drove back. Someone had come. On the way up to Canada. Mark would shepherd him. The household was loose and peaceful. It wasn’t yet time for the realization to kick in. We were in that minor dark age Walter Lippmann said we were in. The poison of hate would not avoid this house on Cherry Street. I figured it would be 2020 before eyes would open to the mounting crimes and change would come. I continued to hate LBJ.


Continuing the unfolding of Book Nine of the Panflick History. The first 8 books are parked here.

abba's way

Music. It had come slowly, in spurts.

Music. It had come slowly, in spurts. A little boy singing “Careless Love” in a 1940s-era  recording booth in the Empire State Building. In self-audition. Yes near a movie theater on 86th Street, dreaming of going on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. Rehearsing “She’s My Sunflower from The Sunflower State”.   In obedient participation in the Brick Church children’s choir. In seemingly endless efforts to write notes, while picking away at “A Bicycle Built for Two” in Mr. Horvath’s dark apartment a few blocks from mine. In constant listening to AM radio under the covers, into the night. Lux Radio Theater. Talent Scouts. The Hit Parade. In listening with Bardolph to 78″ records on a huge wind-up Victrola. “Why Do They All Pick on Freshie?” In absorbing Josh White, Danny Kaye, Burl Ives, Spike Jones, Marais & Miranda at home. At Exeter, I heard my first Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Cisco Houston and Woody Guthrie, along with the magic sounds within Harry Smith’s incredible collection of American folk music. These were early long-playing records. There was a transparent Stinson ten-inch with more than 20 songs – “Devlish Mary”, “Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet”, “We Shall Walk Through The Valley”. Seraphic. Performing “Bring A Little Water, Silvy” at an Exeter dance. Elvis Presley singing “Mystery Train” at a little diner in Wiliamstown. Hearing close harmonies at Camp Rabbit Hollow.  “Ready, indeed I’m ready. Tell the good Lord I’ll be ready when the great day comes.” Transported to a new freedom to the strains of  “Spirit of God Descend upon My Heart” at a camp in Maine. Singing with Al Carmines at Union Theological Seminary. “Tell Her No.” “Don’t make me go to bed and I’ll be good.”   Freedom songs in 1961 at Kelly Miller Smith’s First Baptist Church in Nashville. Singing with Ganya in the basement of St. James United Church of Christ in Chicago’s Old Town. “On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at.” “Wildwood Flower.”  Performing an acerbic self-composed talking song in the chapel at the World Council of Churches in Geneva in 1966. Driving around Chicago in my beautiful old VW, saturated by the encouraging words of “Hey Jude” as politics imploded in August, 1968. Music. Always there. But never as it would become.

Music was all that was left when I hung up the phone, after Dean Peerman, then managing editor of The Christian Century, completed an apology for the Century’s not having told me that my efforts to salvage a career had come to naught. What did it mean to have burned almost every bridge to what remained my ultimate concern?  It meant you need to find a perfect pebble. There was nothing conscious in my movement. I did not find a perfect pebble on a dirt road or at the bottom of a brook.  My perfect pebble was the smooth and magic reality of Scripture. It was the Word. It was words made into song. The servants of King James committed words to paper, turning old Near Eastern texts into English during the years past Shakespeare’s time.  I became a novice theologian, taking words found now in every Gideon Bible.  Singing them. Turning them into songs. Turning myself into a writer of songs. And thus began my real life.


THE BELLS (Edgar Allen Poe 1845?)

THE BELLS (Edgar Allen Poe 1845?)

Hear the sledges with the bells
Silver bells
What a world of merriment their melody foretells
How they tinkle tinkle tinkle
In the icy air of night
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline deligit
Keeping time time time
In a sort of Runic rhyme
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells bells bells bells,
Bells, bells, bells
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells

Hear the mellow wedding bells
Golden bells
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight
From the molten-golden notes
And all in tune
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens while she gloats
On the moon
Oh from out the sounding cells
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells
How it swells
How it dwells
On the Future how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells bells bells
Of the bells bells bells bells
Bells bells bells
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells

Hear the loud alarum bells
Brazen bells
What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright
Too much horrified to speak
They can only shriek shriek
Out of tune
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire
Leaping higher higher higher
With a desperate desire
And a resolute endeavor
Now now to sit or never
By the side of the pale-faced moon
Oh, the bells bells bells
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair
How they clang and clash and roar
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air
Yet the ear it fully knows
By the twanging
And the clanging
How the danger ebbs and flows
Yet the ear distinctly tells
In the jangling
And the wrangling
How the danger sinks and swells
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells
Of the bells
Of the bells bells bells bells
Bells bells bells
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells

Hear the tolling of the bells
Iron bells
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels
In the silence of the night
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan
And the people ah the people
They that dwell up in the steeple
All alone
And who tolling tolling tolling
In that muffled monotone
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone
They are neither man nor woman
They are neither brute nor human
They are Ghouls
And their king it is who tolls
And he rolls rolls rolls
A paean from the bells
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells,
And he dances and he yells
Keeping time time time
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells
Of the bells
Keeping time time time
In a sort of Runic rhyme
To the throbbing of the bells
Of the bells bells bells
To the sobbing of the bells
Keeping time time time
As he knells knells knells
In a happy Runic rhyme
To the rolling of the bells
Of the bells bells bells
To the tolling of the bells
Of the bells bells bells bells
Bells bells bells
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells


Poe lived his last years in the Bronx.
He was not entirely consumed with dark brooding.
Women he loved tended to die, as did he prematurely.


A SONG FOR ST. CECILIA’S DAY (John Dryden 1687)

I have removed punctuation. Otherwise nothing is changed.

A SONG FOR ST. CECILIA’S DAY (John Dryden 1687)

From harmony from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay
And could not heave her head
The tuneful voice was heard from high
“Arise, ye more than dead”
Then cold and hot and moist and dry
In order to their stations leap
And Music’s power obey
From harmony from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began
From harmony to harmony
Through all the compass of the notes it ran
The diapason closing full in Man

What passion cannot Music raise and quell
When Jubal struck the corded shell
His list’ning brethren stood around
And wond’ring on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell

The trumpet’s loud clangor
Excites us to arms
With shrill notes of anger
And mortal alarms
The double double double beat
Of the thundering drum
Cries Hark the foes come
Charge charge ‘t is too late to retreat

The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers
Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling lute

Sharp violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs and desperation,
Fury frantic indignation
Depth of pains and height of passion
For the fair disdainful dame

But oh what art can teach
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ’s praise
Notes inspiring holy love
Notes that wing their heavenly ways
To mend the choirs above

Orpheus could lead the savage race
And trees unrooted left their place
Sequacious of the lyre
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher
When to her organ vocal breath was given
An angel heard and straight appeared
Mistaking earth for heaven

As from the power of sacred lays
The spheres began to move
And sung the great Creator’s praise
To all the blest above
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour
The trumpet shall be heard on high
The dead shall live the living die
And Music shall untune the sky


St. Cecelia is the patron saint of music.
Her day is November 22 in most communions.
She was martyred in Sicily during the reign of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

music, theology

“Closer To You” An Original Hymn


664.6664 as in “Come Thou Almighty King”

Draw us closer to You
In everything we do
Banish our fear
Stretch out Your healing hand
Help us to understand
Why we are called to stand
Ever more near

Coming closer we know
What lies past this world’s show
Not vanities
Light shining ever true
Voice saying, I love you
Spirit like morning dew
Bringing us peace

Make us close in all ways
In all we think and say
Keep our tongues from
Kindling hurtful flames
And speaking hurtful names
And placing unjust blame
Oh, closer come!

And now closer we are
Receive our trembling hearts
Make them anew
Only as You prevail
Will grace rule without fail
Making us fit to sail
Closer to You

c Copyright 1995 by Stephen C. Rose [100%]
Licensed to CCLI/LicenSing


Three Interviews with Dorothy Day on Christopher Closeup (YouTube)

music, theology

The Story of Job — Part One


I am convinced in a time like this, penitence of the suffering is next to impossible. But penitence is essential, even for the non-religious. There is a form of guilt that is real, not pathological.

It is the guilt that exists because suffering is a portion of life. And our typical reactions are anger and an alienation from life itself.

This morning as I did my mandatory walking, I tried to remember parts of my Job project, something I did at the close of the 1970s. The massive conclusion of this is Job’s penitence at the very end. It is to my mind an authentic repentance. It is the result of his actual confrontation with the deity.

I no longer subscribe to the notion of a deity separate from our capacity to imagine and embody him/her in what we might call our higher selves. From there the reality of G-d becomes experiential. We do not force it on anyone else. We do, however, share our experience.

My experience today is an urge to share this work. The sense I have is that G-d suffers as a creator even as the creation is defaced by our massive inversion of the values we are called, I believe, to embody. The link above goes to the first part of my “demo” of this.

The link below is to the conclusion of this. It leads to Job’s penitential motion.


music, politics, theology

Significant Tweets Monday for November 2, 2009

Follow Me on Twitter

IMO the missing person these days is Davit Plouffe who masterminded the Obama campaign. I wish he were running the DNC

EBay Removes Drawings Glorifying Slaying Of George Tiller Read more at:

The Story of Job Written and Performed By Stephen C. Rose First Part ♫

The Story of Job Written and Performed by Stephen C. Rose Part Two ♫

@QueerjohnPA RT rt @Shoq VOTE CREIGH #DEEDS for VA . Do you really want a Pat Robertson graduate running your state, folks? #VAelections

@edwardbarrera RT Palin hanging on McDonnell’s coattails? RT @dmataconis: Palin Robocalling Virginia, McDonnell Knows Nothing About It Gaza — long and fair from the New Yorker President Says Change Is Hard. Anyone Who Heard Him from The Start KnowsThat

PPP Says Hoffman Lead Widens in a 2-way NY23 Race

North Korea calls for direct talks with U.S.

PPP Says Main Could Smack Down Gay Marriage Get To Work Maine PPP Says GOP Will Sweep VA We Have Work To Do PPP Says Christie Leads I say Corzine Can Win Wake Up NJ

Burl Ives – Foggy, Foggy Dew ♫

Stephen C. Rose – New Rain The Story of Jesus in Song Part Three by Stephen C. Rose with Alice Spatz. ♫

Stephen C. Rose with Alice Spatz – New Rain Part Four The Story iof Jesus in Song ♫

Selected Tweets for Sunday, November 31, 2009: