Category Archives: Poetry and Songs
This is the eighth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.
8 . “THE LORD ABOVE IS KEEPING HIS WATCH UPON MY SOUL”
(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, October-November 1985. Music John Pyke Hullah (1812-1884) Tune name “Bentley”. The tune is usually sung to the excellent hymn “Sometimes a light surprises the christian while he sings”, by the very famous poet and hymnwriter William Cowper. The hymn is such a favorite of mine that I would like to put Cowper’s words here for your perusal first:
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, Who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.
Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.
I have used Hullah’s tune for a similar topic, confidence in God, which seems to echo through the notes of this hymn. I cannot compare my poetry to that of Cowper, for all I might like to try, but at least the theme is the same.
First published 27th June 2004, on usenetposts.com
The Lord above is keeping
His watch upon my soul
His guardian care unsleeping
Keeps me both strong and whole
His angels watch my feet tread
They make secure my track
My going out is guarded
So too my coming back.
The nets and gins of satan
Are set to do me harm
Yet God my Father keeps me
With His almighty arm
The greatest tests and trials
Can scarcely me distress
Nor demons’ practised wiles
For long my soul depress.
The providence and caring
Of God, my Lord on high
Shall keep me from despairing
And guide me till I die
Till I, with eyes immortal
His guardian angels see
Yea more, at heaven’s portal
“The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (Psalm 121 v 8)
- Why Are the Psalms Numbered Differently? (jimmyakin.com)
- Psalms 2 – The Reign of the LORD’s Anointed (revthechristianlife.wordpress.com)
- Amazing Grace (theophilusmaranatha.wordpress.com)
|Playout date:||22 October 2006|
|Post Production:||Windows Movie Maker – slight use|
|Other people featured:||None|
|Music used:||Cyberhymnal.net’s arrangement of hymn tune “Hyfrydol“|
The beautiful hymn by Robert Robinson, this time sung to the tune Hyfrydol.
I did both voices, the melody and the bass part. Can you work out which is the one I’m singing on the video?
An interesting story about this hymn, courtesy of cyberhymnal.org where I also got the midi (this is allowed by them, by the way, as long as you credit, which I am doing)
Robert Robinson had a difficult time with his faith in the latter part of his life, having been converted at 17 and having written this and other hymns as a young man. The story is told of how one day, he encountered a woman who was studying a hymnal, and she asked how he liked the hymn she was humming. In tears, he replied, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
- Sabbath Evening Post #19: A Hymn That I Love (bluemustang5.wordpress.com)
- A Commentary on Hymns (sjbrown58.wordpress.com)
- Behind The Hymns: Tis Sweet To Sing The Matchless Love (harmonyavenue.wordpress.com)
- Your Sunday Hymn: I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say (nicedeb.wordpress.com)
- Hymn of Praise: #1 Praise to the Lord (thedisconsolategarden.wordpress.com)
|Playout date:||3 October 2006|
|Other people featured:||None|
|Music used:||Abide with me Karaoke track|
This is, obviously, Abide with me sung in Esperanto and it has been very well received by Esperantists, some of whom have asked me to do more similar pieces and I have always intended to do them – for reasons of the way my family has developed that intention hasn’t been easy to put into fruition.
For the record I didn’t do the translation – as explained in the comments, most of which are in Esperanto on YT – I took the Esperanto version from the standard little green Esperanto hymnbook “la Esperanta Himnaro” which contains hundreds of well translated hymns from around the Christian world and is a great joy if you can but lay hands on a copy.
- The Esperanto Trap (espliego.wordpress.com)
- VN bestseller now in Esperanto – Viet Nam News (abcrsstest.wordpress.com)
Jesus is Alpha and Jesus is Omega
Jesus is Allah and Jesus is Jehovah
Our Jehovah-Jireh, our Ebenezer, our Emmanuel
He is the sacrifice and He the temple
King, Prophet, Priest, Advocate, Brother, Friend
Jesus is the Beginning and Jesus is the End
He is All in All, All things made by and for Him
There is none like Him nor beside nor before Him
Both our Creator and Kinsman Redeemer
Second Adam who came before the first
There is now other Name given, a Name above every Name
That at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow.
The Vine, the Door, The Way, The Truth The Life,
Living Bread, Water of Life, and Wine cup, saying LaChaim
Offspring of Eve whose heel bruises the Serpent’s Head,
Son of True God with no Achilles’ heel
How lovely on the Mountain shall be the feet of Him
On the Mount of Olives when it cleaves in twain!
And the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of Christ
As the waters cover the sea. For He is God.
Almighty, all-sufficient all-in-all God,
With the Father and the Holy Spirit, Blessed for ever.
- Is Jesus Christ God (wiki.answers.com)
- Sovereignty, Free Will…What is the Problem? (revivalandreformation.wordpress.com)
- The way to true life (colincolinmyblog.wordpress.com)
- What causes people to accept Jesus into their heart? (ptl2010.wordpress.com)
- There is only one God and his name is Jesus (wiki.answers.com)
Hot off the press today, not historic in any way, my helping Sophie get more motivated to learn the poetry for her Polish literature class led me to do an impromptu YouTube session with her reciting some from memory.
It may interest you to know that none of the poems were learned with this video in mind, or even recently, and the class test of them happened some time ago.
I don’t let Sophie read a poem more than once a day. I don’t let her read without trying to enjoy the poetry and understand something from it. Never read in order to memorise, but in order to enjoy. Then go back some time later, especially more that two weeks later in the end, and see what was memorised and what not. Just like the goldlist method, only without the writing out, only using recitation.
This method works with a child’s poetry syllabus if you get ahead and do the initial readings well ahead of the class, so that the child already really knows most of the and is at the most putting in the finishing touches while other children are in a panic trying to force the thing into their memory. This results inevitably in the child using the Polish school method having the poem in the short-term memory and the child using a staged repetition technique and taking a long-term view will have a long-term memory of the poem.
So where you have continuous assessment, the benefit is reaped by people who simply won’t remember the poem once the year is finished. But children need to understand that education is for them to take something precious into their lives and is not just about marks and grades. A teacher might grade the cramming kids higher, but they simply won’t know much when my lower graded kid will remember more than any of the rest of them, and have a more pleasant time over it.
(My entry for the March 2008 My Telegraph Creative Writing Competition)
A certain uncertainty once crept into my head,
Because of what Patrycja said when we were both in bed.
She woke up in the night and placed a hand upon her womb,
Then gently sighed “Oh, Ronnie!” and got up and left the room.
She came back some time later and went back to sleep again,
But, the words she’d spoken, they remained inside my brain.
I could not sleep for worrying what this thing could portend;
“Who is this Ronnie?” was my thought “has Pat found some new friend?”
I never guessed that my dear wife and of our kids the mother
Could want to turn her back on me and go and love another.
I got so worried over it I could not go to sleep.
Well, maybe I got half an hour, but that not very deep.
At breakfast I was calm, as in “the calm before the storm”.
I went to my form-filling job, but I was not on form.
The other workers in the bank, they noticed something wrong,
And one of them, to cheer me up, sang out a merry song.
But this impromptu singing only made me more morose,
For was one of “our songs” that the silly banker chose!
And thus it only caused the queue of customers to lengthen,
While my certain uncertainty it only served to strengthen.
“Who is this Ronnie? Who is he?” to know was now my mission:
I had to know if I was right or wrong in my suspicion.
In all my life I’d never known uncertainty before:
It wasn’t something I’d developed mechanisms for.
And so it was, that sitting there, a-counting clients’ money
That I worked out a cunning plan, a trap to catch my honey:
I’d catch her “in flagrante” with this Ronnie character.
All in love and war and marriage you could say is fair.
So I told Patrycja’s voicemail that I’d spend the night away;
I was going to Milwaukee, is what she heard me say.
I’d never lied to her, for lies and tricks are not my scenes,
And so to keep it true I went and walked to Milton Keynes.
Now, walking up the towpath to Milton Keynes from Tring
By the Grand Union Canal is not a lightsome thing.
So by the time I dragged myself inside of Bletchley Station
My legs were tired, my feet were sore, my back and head were aching.
I went to Tring by train then took a taxi to Ivinghoe
And tiptoed into our dear home via the French window.
But she was sitting there alone, no Ronnie was in sight
“Hello, dear.” were her greeting words, “Vot happen to your flight?”
Now, I had practiced what to say, but all was now forgot
And so I stood there looking dumb and all I said was “What?”
“I fought you vere in States?” she said, in her broad Polish accent.
Well, I was in a state, all right, but not the one that Pat meant.
So I just blurted out “Who’s Ronnie?” and broke down in tears,
Explaining all the reasoning behind my doubts and fears.
But she just laughed her Slavic laugh, she thought it all so funny
“I never said ‘Oh Ronnie’, dear, vot I said vos ‘o rany!’!”
I scanned the bookshelves and took out a volume of my wife’s
And turned to ‘R’ and found the entry there, as large as life:
For “rany!”, terms like “golly!”, “gosh!” and “goodness!” were translations:
All mild expressions of surprise or sudden exclamations.
“But why, then, did you wake at night with your hand on your womb
Then leave our bed and spend some time alone in the bathroom?
What reason for this sudden act, which left me broken-hearted?”
“I voke up in a mess, because my ‘okres’ had just started!”
“I did not fink it vos to happen for anozzer day,
And so I got zis bad surprise, and had to do zat vay.”
“I see it all now, sorry, dear.” I said with great relief
“Zis time I vill forgiff. Next time you doubt, I kick you teef.”
The images of my dear wife with Corbett, Biggs or Barker
Were thus dispersed, and nowadays, they are but cause for laughter
And so it just remains for me to draw the moral warning –
What you can deal with in the night, don’t put it off till morning!
I quite liked this but I don’t think it was one of the times I got into the top six.
It isn’t autobiographical, the narrator and all the characters in it are just fictitious.
- Grandmother killed after being knocked into canal by falling tree (telegraph.co.uk)
- Doggie Pit Stop workshops offer toilet training for pets (money.marksandspencer.com)
- Teenagers’ art for charity was accidentally washed away by council workers…who thought it was just graffiti (dailymail.co.uk)
This is the seventh of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org To find the category of “Psalms of Davey” please review the categories section in the side bar.
7. “I SOUGHT THE PRAISE OF SINNERS”
(Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 12th October 1985. Music Chretien d’Urhan (1790-1845) Tune name “Rutherford“. People interested in historical curiosities, don’t overlook to click on the link I gave to the wikipedia article on the composer, as his life was interesting and the end of it something of an enigma.)
The tune is named for Samuel Rutherford, and is normally sung to Anne Cousin’s hymn The sands of time are sinking, which when unabridged is one of the longest hymns in use, as well as some of the best religious poetry in the English language.
My text cannot compare in beauty with the usual use of the tune I have selected for it, but the state of mind in it is something which I, and I am sure not only I, have needed to face up to again and again. Pride is a very sneaky sin, you can even feel pride for believing you’ve dealt with your pride. I don’t think I’ve managed to perfectly rid myself of wrongful pride for more than a few seconds of my entire waking life, if that, which is why I cannot but hope on the mercy of God, and why I say that those Christians who believe we can only endure to the end and be saved if we become somehow free of sin, (which when I compare that to my own experience seems frankly laughable) and who reject the doctrine of eternal security of believers unless they can attain to some sinless perfection on earth – these people either don’t have the same problems as I do or they just gloss over them. Actually it is simply a lie from the devil, who will put anything in a person’s mind that will stop them from going to God repeatedly for forgiveness as often as he goes to the tap for water, which is the true experience of the penitent sinner. I hope someone out there is blessed by these words as they resonate with your own experience.
I sought the praise of sinners,
Their glance and their regard
I sought their admiration
And now my heart is hard
Lord, make me poor in spirit
That I might humble be
Cut back my vain delusions
Be all in all to me.
My soul is sick and suffering
Lord, now I pray Thee, cleanse me
From sinful pride me free
O set me free from bondage
From seeking praise of men
And may I seek Thy glory
Not vaunt myself again.
This hypocrite repentant
Lord, purge in sovereign grace
And may my spirit’s leaven
Dissolve before Thy face
Lord, grant me self-abasement
And singleness of mind
To worship Thee for only
In Thee my all I find.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5 v 3)
- Approach, My Soul, the Mercy Seat (challies.com)
- Contemporary Hymns (challies.com)
- 1 reviews of The Best Worship Songs of the 90s (Various Artists) (rateitall.com)
First published as part of the Daily Telegraph‘s February 2008 Creative Writing Competition. It was one of the six shortlisted out of about 40 entries. As ever I did not get the first prize, but it attracted a lot of positive responses. The reason for the “lizard and gizzard” was down to the set words you had to include in the piece for the month, which was a continual feature of the contest. This time “lizard” was one of the words. Or possibly “blizzard”. I can’t even remember which ones the other set words were!
The picture which accompanied it is one of my stills from the visit with the image of Christina Rossetti, the authoress of the original Bleak Midwinter Poem, superimposed.
In this bleak midwinter,
Frosty winds beat time;
Mirth stands hard as irony,
Slaughter-like the rime.
Crow is eaten, crow on crow
Crow on corpse of crow,
In this bleak midwinter verse,
Made not long ago. Read the rest of this entry
This is the sixth of my cycle of ten Hymns, called “The Psalms of Davey”. They are being reproduced in a special category on this blog one after another. In only one case is the tune my own (that’ll be number ten). In other cases, please follow the links to get to the midi for the tunes, courtesy of http://www.cyberhymnal.org
6. “FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST”
Words Uncle Davey, Voronezh, Russia, 10th October 1985. Music Robert Jackson (1842-1914) Tune name “Trentham”. The tune appears to be named after the village of Trentham near Stoke-on-Trent, England, which has a pleasant lake backed by hills and the river Trent and the canal nearby. It is my favourite of the four famous tunes we have from this composer. It is of course a Short Meter tune, and ideal for meditative hymns. Most commonly it is sung to “Breathe on me breath of God”.
First published on the net on 24th April 2004
(NB. The picture to the right was taken in 1985, this is how I looked when I wrote this hymn.)
For me to live is Christ,
For me to die is gain
Lord, may this blessed truth me guide,
In comfort and in pain.
Not I it is who live
But Christ doth dwell within.
My former, carnal self hath died
And I am dead to sin.
The life which now I live
I live by faith alone,
In Christ who loved me and gave
Himself, me to atone.
So may the Lord restrain
Me from all other plea
And may the cross of Christ my God
My only glory be.
“”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Philippians 1 v 21) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2 v 20) “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6 v 14)