John David Kudrick

putting words to work for you

Category: Poetry

Seeing and Hearing Things: 8-30-18

A Poetic Storyteller

Just finished reading the hefty autobiography of Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run. As long as it is, I wonder how much got trimmed along the way by the author himself, as Springsteen the songwriter is an incredible poetic storyteller and knows the value and power of words (and music as well) … and it’s not like he could ever include everything anyway (was still sad that the book didn’t talk about his participation in the making of “We Are the World”).

Appreciated that he didn’t hide himself (completely, at least) in telling his story, and offered his usual raw look at life, including his own struggles:

Otherwise, if you’d like to hear/see some of Springsteen in action not only as a performer but most of all as a wordsmith, check out some these favorites of mine, which would be material enough for a writing course on their own:

“Thunder Road” [listen for “There were ghosts in the eyes…” and the next line about Chevrolets — such stark visual word-painting]

“Jungleland” [listen for the line about the barefoot girl — more great imagery thanks to little details]

“Streets of Philadelphia” [opening lines so brutally personal, from the point of view of the narrator: mainly Tom Hanks’ character in the movie Philadelphia, and yet such common emotions for all of us at one time or another in life]

“American Skin (41 Shots)” [tackling a lightning-rod issue with this one … studio version with lyrics here]

“The Ghost of Tom Joad” [kind of a culmination of how he taps into creating music that isn’t afraid to speak to modern culture … studio version with lyrics here]

PS: Found an Apple interview with Springsteen and really liked this line from him when asked about writing a book rather than song lyrics:

“You gotta find the music that’s in the words themselves.”

Sage wisdom for writers of any kind …

In Honor of Dr. King

“Kingdom of Love”

 

In the kingdom of Love

there is no corner for hatred

to hide.

All done in darkness,

for darkness,

now exposed by Light.

 

In the kingdom of Love

there are no walls between

us and them.

We see no Russia, North Korea,

USA, barbarian, Scythian, slave, or free,

because we’re one in Love.

 

In the kingdom of Love

there is no striped, starred, or barred flag

to fly and divide.

Only raised is the white flag

of surrender to the One

who is Love.

 

In the kingdom of Love

there is no sweeping anthem

to separate.

We rather sing soft dirges

for the dying; deep praises

for the One who is Love.

 

In the kingdom of Love

there is no Kim, Putin, Trump,

Kaepernick, Robert E. Lee.

Love calls us precious, chosen,

beloved, and worth

dying for.

 

In the kingdom of Love,

there is red, black, white,

yellow, brown, and mixed.

We see a rainbow skyward

and it says that Love

is for all of us.

 

In the kingdom of love

there are no chains

or classes.

We see only the hearts

of others whom

Love has us serve.

 

In the kingdom of Love

there is no struggling against

flesh and blood.

We see with eyes

the true enemy and know

their schemes.

 

In the kingdom of Love

we are sisters and brothers

of the same blood.

We are the children

of the One

who is Love.

 

 

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

From “Beyond Vietnam” Speech: April 4, 1967

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research & Education Institute

 

Merry Christmas!

“Peacemaker in the Manger”

Not as an invincible, weapon-wielding king,

But as a tiny-boned babe born to die came He.

Empire might made right all around Him,

But the Nazarene’s peace gospel made righteous sinners.

Not warmongering or vengeance for a suffered wrong,

But the Savior showed another way—other-cheek turning.

Sword and shield crushed enemies of Rome,

But by compassion Christ conquered assailants.

Not apathy or hatred toward His persecuting killers,

But only bloody love did thorn-crowned Messiah pour out for them.

Armored mockers drove deep the spikes, raised high the cross,

But naked Jesus gasped final forgiveness as our Prince of Peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

—Matthew 5:9 (New International Version)

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