Izaak and the Angelus

Paul Cromford

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This was a concept for an album way back in 2010 ... and it's taken me this long to actually finish it! Scroll down the page for the lyrics.

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LYRICS

CALVARY SONG

It's as cold as the stare from some clothes-horse 
Who scowls from your chic magazine 
And you wield it like some kind of flick-knife 
When you need to win the day quick and clean 
It would shatter like your umpteenth windscreen 
If you ever ventured out of your space 
It was with you when you came to Calvary 
To be waved on 'cause it showed through your face 

I'm walking with you in the precincts 
Of a townscape half the world knows as home 
Where a boom's never far from the pavements 
And the slumped always lie where they're thrown 
You're a slave to the tones of your cellphone 
You're a fool for that superhighway mud 
Will it take being cast away to show you why 
You were thirsty in the midst of a flood?

There's a message for you from the crossroads 
Where the souls of your departed betters meet 
It says: "Just keep on doing what you're doing, 
And you might as well carry your grave-goods on the street." 

It's as hard as the ice on my wash-stand 
It was handed down as worthy things will be 
And I wield it like some kind of visa 
When my country treats me like a refugee 
You can trample it over my dead body 
And no doubt you'll be convinced it's had its day 
But I had it when I came to Calvary 
And there I was suffered to stay 

There's a message for you from the crossroads 
Where the souls of your departed betters meet 
It says: "Just keep on doing what you're doing, 
And you might as well carry your grave-goods on the street." 

Might as well carry your grave-goods on the street.

 

ON THE TURN OF A WORD

Our falling from grace was a slap in the face, with your signet ring raising a weal 
Yet I would have sworn this was our blissful dawn, and to blue eyes this heaven is real 

I sat unsuspected and heard you connect, it was all I could do not to throw 
We're now set adrift and I feel oddly lifted beyond where you're likely to go 

I'm trading psychoses for mammon the gently absurd 
There'll be no more history revised, no more bones disinterred 
On the turn of a word 
Or the twist of a grin 

I'm trading psychoses for mammon the gently absurd 
There'll be no more history revised, no more bones disinterred 
On the turn of a word 
Or the twist of a grin

My sources report you were finally caught, and forgiveness now sickens the air 
My show of good grace will rebound in your face, and I'm damned if I'll say that I care

I'm trading psychoses for mammon the gently absurd 
There'll be no more history revised, no more bones disinterred 
On the turn of a word or the twist of a grin 
On the turn of a word or the twist of a grin...

 

SLEEPING DOG

You should not wake my love, you're only walking by 
But so you shake my love, this sleeping dog won't lie 
Against his grain my love, to find out who you are 
And who'll remain my love the reddest faintest star 

On nights drawn in now, the days begin now 
To share the skin now, and every comfort's colder 
Than the springtime, this in-between time 
There's only "meantime..." that puts us both on hold 

So holding back my love until you make your move 
I'll keep on track my love, traverse that thoughtless groove 
But if you speak my love, you show me who you are 
And silent shrieks my love, a half-seen shooting-star 

On nights drawn out now, my senses shout now 
And there's no doubt now that every pain is kinder 
Than October, the dog-days over 
And though we're sober, elation's on our mind

So wide awake's my love, and you're just walking by 
But nothing shakes my love; this sleeping dog won't lie 
No, nothing shakes my love; this sleeping dog won't lie.

 

ABANDONED MAN

I see that visage there; that sleepless empty stare 
What have you done, abandoned man? 
What made you run, abandoned man? 

You sacked your father’s hall, framed your deniable soul 
When did it die, abandoned man? 
Have you rehearsed your alibi, abandoned man? 

I too may be lost in space 
Home for everything, everything in place 
If I could believe I’m free 
Would I leave these times or would these times abandon me? 

Into your big parade some came, and sometimes stayed 
Who turned their back, abandoned man? 
Who left you flat, abandoned man? 

I too may be lost in space 
Home for everything, everything in place 
If I could believe I’m free 
Would I leave these times or would these times abandon me? 

Slack-jawed you go your round; shoot up and guzzle down 
How far’s too far, abandoned man? 
And do I envy what you are, abandoned man? 

Would I leave these times an abandoned man? 
Would I leave these times an abandoned man? 
Would I leave these times an abandoned man….?

 

THE LONGEST RAINY DAY

Hard air, raging land 
Nowhere firm for me to stand 
I'm not there, to pinch my face 
The moment it starts raining. 

Iron sky, sulky sea 
Rising, unbeknownst to me; 
Doesn't seem like much of a place 
But what if it keeps raining? 

Then we may find that it's all good: 
Milk and honey, wool and wood; 
Thatch will keep out the 

Rain that bears tidings of where you were a child 
Rain reminding you of when you were a child. 

Harsh news, melting floe: 
I'm so quick at being slow 
Set things running, couldn't keep pace 
And now it's always raining. 

Can we yet find that it's all good? 
Quarrels loosed in drowning wood? 
Flags won't keep out the 

Rain that bears tidings of where you were a child  
Rain reminding you of when you were a child. 

Can we yet find that it's all good?  
Quarrels loosed in drowning wood?  
Flags won't keep out the  

Rain that bears tidings of where you were a child   
Rain reminding you of when you were a child. 
Rain reminding you of when you were a child....

 

FILM

I can tell you all about my early life 
And I'd make your evening seem to crawl by 
Better for us both if I just keep it dark 
Show myself some scenes to be enthralled by 

The world is thick with film that nobody ever sees 
Whose stars are out and about their own publicity 
Re-working novelisations that can never be set 
For any soul not sickened of the whole sorry business yet 

I can think of doings in my younger days 
I could share with you; convey the true me 
They get lost in telling and you're speaking now 
But your anecdotes don't say much to me 

The world is thick with film that nobody ever sees 
Whose stars are out and about their own publicity 
Re-working novelisations that can never be set 
For any soul not sickened of the whole sorry business yet 

We've all been through many changes 
Strayed well beyond our ranges 
'Til we knew that we'd be strangers 
Wherever anybody speaks our language 

We'd be strangers 

The world is thick with film that nobody ever sees 
Whose stars are out and about their own publicity 
Reworking novelisations that can never be set 
For any soul not sickened of the whole sorry business yet 

[The world is thick with film] That no-one ever sees 
[The world is thick with film] That no-one ever sees 

[You should have been there] [The world is thick with film] 
[You should have been there] [The world is thick with film] 
[You should have been there] 

[You should have been there] Then why are you telling me? 
[You should have been there] Then why are you telling me? 
[You should have been there] Then why are you telling me?

 

A TOWN ON A TIN

We’ve pored over these pictures 
Every time we bridged that gap 
And wondered what it was like there 
As the crumbs dropped in our lap. 
To live in such a perfect place 
Would be more than we can afford 
But we could spend a weekend there 
In a guest-house, half-board 

And see the sights; maybe a guided tour 
Look at the lights and explore… 

We’ve dreamed of such an outing 
While the rain battered at our panes 
And living here’s ever harder 
With our jobs pouring down the drains. 
We’ve lifted the lid and imagined ourselves 
Bathed in that prosperous sun 
Let’s sell off a ring for our travel 
Treat ourselves to a weekend’s fun 

And see the sights; maybe a guided tour 
Look at the lights 
It’s our town now, our town to explore… 

We’ve lifted the lid and imagined ourselves 
Bathed in that prosperous sun 
Let’s sell off a ring for our travel 
Treat ourselves to a weekend’s fun 

And see the sights; maybe a guided tour 
Look at the lights 
It’s our town, not their town any more… 

See the sights; maybe a guided tour 
Look at the lights 
It’s our town, not their town any more…

 

THE WONDERS

Giddy on last night and not enough sleep, I'm afire seeing you 
Every record I play has a rightness today, and I know you sense it too 
In the wonder of new love, wonder of new love 

Dizzy on sunshine and no appetite, to the beach we can go 
"Hand in hand" doesn't cover what our fingers do as we walk close and slow 
In the wonder of found love, wonder of found love 

How can you typify 
All the things that my soul was shy? 
It's the wonder of this love, wonder of this love 

Giddy on daylight and freedom and you, no-one else seems real 
We can drink to our hopes and we know that 
The rest of the world will have to deal 
With the wonder of our love, wonder of our love 

And all that I'm wanting to do 
Is commit this old sinner to you 
In the wonder of new love, wonder of found love 
Wonder of this love, wonder of our love...

 

AVIGNON

I know why the bright birds sing away in Avignon 
I have seen the sunlight on the Rhône 
Music filters through the alleyways in Avignon 
Comes at you from the stone 
And especially when you’re alone... 
I know why the shutters bang away in Avignon 
I have felt the mistral down the lanes 
Time itself is blown like gossamer from Avignon 
The glass measures out grains 
And the same sand remains

I was always open to a deeper song 
And when I dream of Avignon 
I might be there again, rememb’ring when there was a day 
I was sure I’d been around for much too long 
And then I’d dream of Avignon 
I might be there again, rememb’ring when I heard about Avignon 

I know why they sang about the bridge at Avignon 
I believe they’re dancing on it still 
Nothing every slips my mind concerning Avignon 
I can feel that faraway chill 
Of the centuries on their hill 

I was always open to a deeper song 
And when I dream of Avignon 
I might be there again, rememb’ring when there was a day 
I was sure I’d been around for much too long 
And then I’d dream of Avignon 
I might be there again, rememb’ring when there was a day 

... I’m there again, rememb’ring when 
... I’m there again, rememb’ring when 
... I’m there again, rememb’ring when 
                                                       there was a day

 

THE VISITORS' BOOK 

I can hardly bear to stand 
In this place she shared with me 
“Write your name, address and comments here” 
Who did wrong by whom 
No longer matters now she’s left me be 
“Write your name, address and comments here” 

Do these stones have ears? 
Can stained glass behold? 
Will the words I write 
Leave their readers cold? 
Who knows? 

I was never one to pray 
Never filled that empty page 
“Write your name, address and comments here” 
Now my heart has found a door 
Now I’m at the pleading stage 
“Write your name, address and comments here” 

Do these stones have ears? 
Can stained glass behold? 
Will the words I write 
Leave their readers cold? 
Who knows? 

So this little country church 
Knows another lover’s pain 
“Write your name, address and comments here” 
Glows within by candles lit 
To speed my lost one back again 
“Write your name, address and comments here”

 

SEMINARY

God damn this confusion 
Curse this constitution 
Devil take this field; 
Your cloudy reception 
Darkens my perception 
Can my soul be healed? 

When the frost lingers on the wall 
And the paint is running in the hall 
And you see through my disguises: 
I’m no king at all. 

A moment’s displacement 
Swallowed in the basement 
Swearing there’d be snow; 
Revived by a best friend 
Crutch made by the next friend 
I will briefly know. 

And there’s no advantage on the hill 
I can barely reach the window-sill 
And my borrowed crook won’t fool you: 
I’m no shepherd still. 

The tar’s black in my blood 
I’m more coal than high blood 
Cut me where you will. 

God damn this confusion 
Curse this constitution 
Devil take it all…

 

NOW BY NUMBERS

Five-star tombs criss-cross the seas 
Nine lives choked on hanging-trees 
Six feet down, uprooted Holy Three... 

All that my folks celebrated, the "do"s and "don't"s they inculcated : 
The smashed inscription on a desecrated grave 
And all my loyalties, every leaning, my loves and drives and search for meaning 
Are swamped and scattered by this overweening wave; it's 'now by numbers' now. 

Five-star tombs criss-cross the seas 
Nine lives choked on hanging-trees 
Six feet down, uprooted Holy Three...there are 

Five-year plans for deadly sins 
Nine-day wonders with no chins 
Six-guns go to earth in these three rings... 

All the stillness in which I'd awaken declined by inches or was slowly taken 
There's no more eloquent peace, just a vacant howl 
And all my doing as I would be done by, the prizes that I patiently won by 
Fair means, I might just as well have swung by foul; it's 'now by numbers' now. 

Five-star tombs criss-cross the seas 
Nine lives choked on hanging-trees 
Six feet down, uprooted Holy Three...there are 

Five-year plans for deadly sins 
Nine-day wonders with no chins 
Six-guns go to earth in these three rings...