I stood alone upon the highest cliff-top,
looked down, around, and all that I could see
were those that I would dearly love to share with
crashing on quite blindly to the sea…
I tried to ask what game this was,
but knew I might not play it:
the voice, as one, as no-one, came to me…
'We have looked upon the heroes
and they are found wanting;
we have looked hard across the land,
but we can see no dawn;
we have now dared to sear the sky,
but we are still bleeding;
we are drawing near to the cliffs,
now we can hear the call.
The clouds are piled in mountain-shapes,
there is no escape except to go forward.
Don’t ask us for an answer now,
it’s far too late to bow to that convention.
What course is there left but to die?
We have looked upon the High Kings,
found them less than mortals:
their names are dust before the just
march of our young, new law.
Minds stumbling strong, we hurtle on
into the dark portal;
No-one can halt our final vault
into the unknown maw.
And as the Elders beat their brows
they know that it’s really far
too late now to stop us.
For if the sky is seeded death
what is the point in catching breath? – Expel it.
What cause is there left but to die
in searching of something we’re not quite sure of?
What cause is there left but to die?
… I really don’t know why …
I know our ends may be soon
but why do you make them sooner?
Time may finally prove
only the living move her and
no life lies in the quicksand.
Yes, I know it’s
Out of control, out of control:
Greasy machinery slides on the rails,
Young minds and bodies on steel spokes impaled…
Cogs tearing bones, cogs tearing bones;
Iron-throated monsters are forcing the screams,
Mind and machinery box-press the dreams…
… but there still is time …
Cowards are they who run today,
the fight is beginning…
no war with knives, fight with our lives,
lemmings can teach nothing;
death offers no hope, we must grope
for the unknown answer:
unite our blood, abate the flood,
avert the disaster…
There’s other ways than screaming in the mob:
that makes us merely cogs of hatred.
Look to the why and where we are,
look to yourselves and the stars and in the end
What choice is there left but to live
in the hope of saving
our children’s children’s little ones?
What choice is there left but to live?
to save the little ones?
What choice is there left but to try?
The killer lives inside me: yes, I can feel him move.
Sometimes he’s lightly sleeping
in the quiet of his room,
but then his eyes will rise and stare through mine;
he’ll speak my words and slice my mind inside.
Yes the killer lives.
Angels live inside me: I can feel them smile…
Their presence strokes
and soothes the tempest in my mind
and their love can heal the wounds
that I have wrought.
They watch me as I go to fall
– well, I know I shall be caught,
while the angels live.
How can I be free?
How can I get help?
Am I really me?
Am I someone else?
But stalking in my cloisters hang the acolytes
and Death’s Head throws his cloak into
the corner of my room
and I am doomed…
But laughing in my courtyard play the pranksters
of my youth
and solemn, waiting Old Man
in the gables of the roof:
he tells me truth…
And I too, live inside me and very often
don’t know who I am:
I know I’m not a hero, well,
I hope that I’m not damned.
I’m just a man, and killers, angels,
all are these:
Dictators, saviours, refugees in war and peace
as long as Man lives…
I’m just a man, and killers, angels,
all are these:
Dictators, saviours, refugees…
A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers
Still waiting for my saviour,
storms tear me limb from limb;
my fingers feel like seaweed…
I’m so far out I’m too far in.
I am a lonely man, my solitude is true
my eyes have borne stark witness
and now my nights are numbered, too.
I’ve seen the smiles on dead hands,
the stars shine, but they’re not for me.
I prophesy disaster and then I count the cost…
I shine but, shining, dying,
I know that I am almost lost.
On the table lies blank paper
and my tower is built on stone
I only have blunt scissors,
I only have the bluntest home…
I’ve been the witness, and the seal of death
lingers in the molten wax that is my head.
When you see the skeletons
of sailing-ship spars sinking low
You’ll begin to wonder if the points
of all the ancients myths
are solemnly directed straight at you…
(Eddies, rocks, ships, collision, remorse)
No time now for contrition:
the time for that’s long past.
The walls are thin as tissue and
if I talk I’ll crack the glass.
So I only think on how it might have been,
locked in silent monologue, in silent scream.
I’m much too tired to speak
and, as the waves crash on the bleak
stones of the tower, I start to freak
and find that I am overcome…
'Unreal, unreal’ ghost helmsmen scream
and fall in through the sky,
not breaking through my seagull shrieks…
no breaks until I die:
the spectres scratch on window-slits –
hollowed faces and mindless grins
only intent on destroying what they’ve lost.
I crawl the wall till steepness ends
in the vertical fall;
my pain has sailed into the sea:
no joking hopes at dawn.
White bone shine in the iron-jaw mask
lost mastheads pierce the freezing dark
and parallel my isolated tower…
no paraffin for the flame
no harbour left to gain.
Presence of the Night / Kosmos Tours
'Alone, alone’ the ghosts all call,
pinpoint me in the light.
The only life I feel at all
is the presence of the night.
Would you cry if I died?
Would you catch the final words of mine?
Would you catch my words?
I know that there’s no time
I know that there’s no rhyme…
false signs find me
I don’t want to hate,
I just want to grow;
why can’t I let me
live and be free?
but I die very slowly alone.
I know more ways,
I am so afraid,
myself won’t let me
just be myself
and so I am completely alone…
The maelstrom of my memory
is a vampire and it feeds on me
now, staggering madly, over the brink I fall.
(Custard’s) Last Stand
Lighthouses might house the key
but can I reach the door?
I want to walk on the sea
so that I may better find a shore…
but how can I ever keep my feet dry?
I scan the horizon
I must keep my eyes on all parts of me.
Looking back on the years
it seems that I have lost my way:
Like a dog in the night, I have run to a manger
now I am the stranger I stay in.
All of the grief I have seen
leaves me chasing solitary peace;
But I hold experience in my head…
I’m too close to the light
I don’t think I see right, for I blind me…
The Clot Thickens
Where is the God that guides my hand?
How can the hands of others reach me?
When will I find what I grope for?
Who is going to teach me?
I am me / me are we / we can’t see
any way out of here.
Crashing sea – a trophied history:
Chance has lost my Guinevere…
I don’t want to be one wave in the water
But sea will drag me deep
One more haggard drowned man…
I can see the lemmings coming,
but I know I’m just a man;
Do I join or do I founder?
Which can is the best I may?
Land’s End (Sineline) / We Go Now
Oceans drifting sideways,
I am pulled into the spell;
I feel you around me… I know you well.
Stars slice horizons where the lines stand
much too stark;
I feel I am drowning… hands stretch in the dark.
Camps of panoply and majesty,
what is Freedom of Choice?
Where do I stand in the pageantry…
whose is my voice?
It doesn’t feel so very bad now:
I think the end is the start.
Begin to feel very glad now:
All things are a part
All things are apart
All things are a part.
All lyrics by Peter Hammill