The man from Belfast sings.


“If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dream
Where mobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop

Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down in silence easy
To be born again…
To be born again

From the far side of the ocean
If I put the wheels in motion
And I stand with my arms behind me
And I’m pushin’ on the door

Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down in silence easy
To be born again, to be born again

There you go standin’ with the look of avarice
Talkin’ to Huddie Ledbetter
Showin’ pictures on the wall
Whisperin’ in the hall
And pointin’ a finger at me

There you go, there you go
Standin’ in the sun darlin’
With your arms behind you
And your eyes before
There you go

Takin’ care of your boy
Seein’ that he’s got clean clothes
Puttin’ on his little red shoes
I see you know he’s got clean clothes

A puttin’ on his little red shoes
A pointin’ a finger at me
Standing in your sad arrest
Trying to do my very best

Lookin’ straight at you
Comin’ through, darlin’
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dreams
Where mobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop

Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down in silence easy
To be born again, to be born again
To be born again, to be born again

In another world, darlin’
In another world
In another time
Got a home on high

Ain’t nothing but a stranger in this world
I’m nothing but a stranger in this world
I got a home on high in another land
So far away, so far away

Way up in the heaven, way up in the heaven
Way up in the heaven, way up in heaven, oh
In another time, in another place
In another time, in another place

Way up in the heaven
In another time, in another place
In another time, in another place
In another face”

– Astral Weeks by Van Morrison –

Ah man…Often I write about music here and what it means. How it feels and effects me. But Van Morrison. That’s another place to be all together. I just can’t…The words don’t work to express what he is to me. If Bob Dylan were my brain and thoughts, Steve Earle my legs and travel, Nick Cave my hands and touch then Van Morrison is my heart and spirit. I am so often reduced to this state of perfect Zen when listening to him, he takes to a place I shelter from all else. I just sort of venture into the slipstream, as Van sings. I close my eyes and it all comes. The joy, the tears and God. Love, love like a Van Morrison song is perfect an almost transcendent state.

Can you believe it’s been 41 years since Astral Weeks was released? That’s just amazing to think, an album can have the same power and effect over so much time. And the song itself. A lot of folks really like it but few really get it. What he’s doing in it and what he’s saying. You see he’s walking you through a photo album. And each line of the song (in some ways the pictures even overlap) is a description of a snap shot. A little boy, a teenager, a man discovering love, a lone soul facing into the eternal. He’s trying to let you see his life in seven minutes and six seconds. It’s such a powerful and bold thing.

A couple days ago I was talking to my friend about using music to worship and dancing in worship. Using it to connect to the greater thing…The Holy Spirit. And he was talking about Christian music and Psalms. I told him I do that with Van Morrison. He sets up a line to God himself for me, opened and receiving. That for my heart and soul Van Morrison is as powerful as a Sunday morning hymn. And just as sacred. Holy words and sounds. My friend didn’t really know his music and it was almost impossible to explain what it sounds like or feels like and I thought ‘I’ll lend him some, so he can see’ and immediately following that I was seized by a second thought ‘No way!’. See because if I let him hear it and try to see it and he didn’t like it or didn’t get it. It would be like rejecting my deepest parts. I’d be left with this sense of not being understood once again. And I wondered if being so closely connected to a guy singing songs is sane or healthy. Especially at my age. I don’t know but I am. Maybe it’s okay.

About 6 months ago my then 20 month old daughter was sitting in my lap with her head against my chest. She had her ear over my heart and could probably hear my heartbeat. The song Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison was playing and Ruby had her hand resting in the palm of mine and she was softly tapping along to the music with her fingers. So I asked her if she liked this music and she gently nodded and her eyes had that same far away look I get when I hear the music and it gets inside. She was in that place, my favorite place. It was truly a spiritual experience to share with her. Maybe it would be to share with any human but even more so with my little girl. Holy and pure.

Well there you go. There’s me for today.

Be well, be love.

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2 responses

  1. You know, when you write these perfectly composed, poignant posts, Canada, you make it really hard to be sarcastic!

    November 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    • It’s not me it’s you…You’re getting soft there Scotty!

      November 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm

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