Another year gone.
Another day is done.
Another revolution around the sun.
New dreams born.
Fears, hates, desperately spurned.
Did you cry last year?
Did you laugh last year?
Did you cling to simple hope last year?
Did you hurt last year?
Did you tickle a rib last year?
Did you lift your face to the sky last year?
Then, maybe you have lived this last year.
In what is to come.
There is much to fear.
But then, there is reason for hope,
in this new year.
Lift your face to the sun this year.
Lift your voice in song this year.
Don’t forget the strength of your heart this year.
There is hope to be found this year.
If you but know where to look this year.
As long as you live this year.
There is hope.
Look deep within, that which is you.
Find your bliss, and then go pursue.
The thing that makes you jump for joy.
The things that cause you, your heart to employ.
The things that challenge,
And sometimes cause you to rip out your hair.
These things are things to reach for this year.
Ignore the things, that are far too big to handle.
Rather, look inward.
There you’ll find things, that life cannot dismantle.
There is hope this year.
If you but have courage this year.
Believe me, you can this year.
If you but have the will this year.
Believe it or not.
It’s in your hands.
Despite all you see,
that might reprimand.
Have faith and believe,
in all that you are.
And you will accomplish much this year.
Welcome to 2017!
Happy New Year!
Pursue The Unknown End
When you branch out, you do this.
When you try different things, you do this.
When you thirst for something, beyond the usual.
Beyond the mundane.
You pursue the unknown end.
When you set sail, and plot a course,
beyond the prescribed route, you do this.
It is a route fraught with unseen pitfalls
and often meandering trails.
Yet, it is the route you must take,
when you seek to pursue the unknown end.
Why must you do this?
Why must you leave the comfortable?
Why must you leave the unknown,
and cleave to the unknown?
We must leave, because it is comfortable.
We must leave, because it is known.
And we reach for the unknown,
because it is unknown.
There are things to be seen, that these eyes wish to see.
There are tongues that these ears wish to hear.
And passions to quicken this heart.
So when the shores recede and doubts proceed,
to buffet as we try to make headway.
We cling to this purpose.
We cling to this lifeline.
This line to hope.
Keeps us afloat.
Keeps us fighting.
And reminds us of why we set sail.
We set sail so we might quiver.
We set sail so we might touch
We set sail so we might feel,
the beating heart of this very world.
If we wish to feel, to see,
and become new things.
We must dig deep, take a step.
And pursue the unknown end.
The thing with following your dreams. The thing we never document when we encourage people to strive for and pursue their excellence, is the pain that comes with it. When we document the journey, we want the world to see our triumphs and we post our pictures online with smiley faces, living a tremendously joyous existence. We proclaim, we hashtag, that we are “#livingthedream” and we tweet about the people we’ve met, the places we’ve gone, and the many wonderful things we may have done. Somehow we happen to miss out the heartache, tears and the loneliness that can come with it.
While all that we share is no lie, those who read, or look at these pictures always forget that this is only a part of the whole story. A truth nevertheless. I am reminded of a movie called ‘Just Married’ that starred Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy. The lead man (played by Kutcher) was being advised by his father about marriage. He pointed to pictures in a photo album, and he spoke of those joyous moments. Here’s the quote from that scene:
“Some days your mother and me loved each other. Other days we had to work at it. You never see the hard days in a photo album… but those are the ones that get you from one happy snapshot to the next.”
I am caused to think on the quote above. A while ago I wrote a blog about making it a year in Berlin. I’ve had a number of months that were more than a little difficult. These are not documented in pictures, or with tweets, or even Facebook updates. In time to come, I will look back over many of these tweets and status updates and think on all I lived through between those pictures. When I look at those tweets or pictures, I will remember vividly the difficult times, without need of documented words or pictures. I will remember the tears that came during the absent updates. I will remember the fears and loneliness only too easily. So why, oh why do I need to document them physically? Their emotional toll is clear for me to see.
A close friend of mine messaged me a while ago, having read my blog post ‘Letter To A Friend‘ and I found myself touched by her message.
The message was simple:
“I just wanted to tell you that whatever happens, don’t lose hope….Even when/if you lose yourself…Even when/if nothing means anything anymore. I know you know this, but I still wanted to let you know.”
This is part of what helps me to continue moving on when things get difficult, as they tend to do.
In more recent past, I attended my sister’s wedding in the UK. I am happy to tell you I was beyond proud. I was asked a few days before I left Berlin, if I would cry at the wedding, I of course proclaimed that there was little chance of this happening. I am far from ashamed to tell you I cried as I watched her walking down the aisle. It has been many a year since I last shed a tear, so I didn’t anticipate it. But, seeing her walking down the aisle, with tears pouring down her face was too much for me. Later at the reception, I had cause to tear up once again when the time for the first dance came along. I recollect querying what they would be dancing to, my sister’s response was that it’s a surprise. I presumed twas a surprise for the audience, so I was happy to wait and see. They took to the dancefloor and the song began. I remember all too well, recognising the guitar intro, but uncertain as to the song itself, then the voice…and it was my voice! My song Weathervane, was the song they used for their first dance. I was beyond surprised! I looked to my other sister, in utter shock. I couldn’t believe it. Both were singing along. I hugged her and wept like I haven’t wept in forever, as she told me
‘Never doubt yourself. Ever’
The reason I share this? In time to come, as you go about pursuing your unknown end, you will go through what can only be called trying times. These are a part of our lot. I see them as almost a necessity. These help us to decide exactly how much we want whatever it is we are chasing. Whatever this unknown end may be, the trying times are an essential part of the journey. It is at this point that we ask ourselves if we really want this thing we seek. These trying times have the ability to break many. You have to ensure you are not one of those many. Reach back to something that will help to sustain you. For me, hearing my song at my sister’s wedding, for her first dance to boot, will stick in my mind for many a year. For me, this is a huge achievement. I intend to achieve more in my little life, but I’m uncertain that anything else I do will top that. Hold to the ‘little’ achievements. Let these encourage you as you move forward. I have come to learn that everything I want won’t come all at once. It may seem an obvious thing to many. But if you’re anything like me when it comes to dreams, you want it all at once. And you want it now. And with every little setback, we wish to curl up and die. But you always get back up, you will always keep going, because you simply have to seek the unknown end.
I sort of retreated into myself for the last few months. Whenever that happens, after a while I try to pull myself out by reading some of my old stuff. I found a poem I wrote in 2007:
It’s not an easy thing,
looking back on your own life.
Sometimes you see nothing but trouble and strife.
I’ve seen a little too much for my own mind.
I’ve hardly seen any in the mind of some younger.
So, I look back at my life and wonder;
What can I give?
How can I share with you the life I chose to live?
Was it circumstance or was it choice?
That causes me sometimes to raise my voice.
“I’d like to teach the world to sing.”
It’s a fine sentiment I do agree.
But what song would I teach to everyone,
so they could always dance with glee?
Should I show them what makes me laugh,
and hope that they laugh too?
Or should I show them what made me cry,
so they turn away from view?
This world is a hard place to live.
With many hard lessons to teach.
Sometimes we lose the lesson,
it’s just beyond our reach.
But here’s what I’d love to teach,
to each and everyone.
No matter what you face in this world,
it’s not stronger than you.
You stand up tall and face your foe,
even if it turns out just to be you.
Learn to laugh and smile and sing,
no matter what life brings.
Remember to extend your helping hand to others,
even when you have fallen short.
Always do this even though sometimes you don’t feel you ought.
For you help not them when you reach out your hand,
you help your own heart to cease to reprimand.
This is what causes me to laugh when I should cry.
This is what causes me to sing when I should wail.
This is what brings my smile to greet you when we meet.
For when you smile back, I feel the world is at my feet!
It’s that time of year again. And to welcome you into the near year, here is my new offering. My first in many months. Though I started this tradition of mine many years ago. I plan to continue it for many years to come:
The New Year
We talk of new seasons, we talk of new days.
We talk of resolutions, in beautiful new ways.
We build relationships, we tear them down.
We reach through the ages, to dispel a frown.
This year gone, oh what joy, what pain.
So many songs, I still hear the refrain.
But as I look to tomorrow, to see what’s to come.
What’s apt to follow, considering what’s begun.
There is excitement, there is fear.
Trepidation, but a veneer.
A stronghold insistence, on resisting the persistence,
That life is but an existence, to be tolerated and endured.
Forgetting the laughter, the joy.
The love you could deploy.
In this new year, despite aggravation.
My sole recommendation is to live in the joy.
For happiness is a choice.
So, every day, from now till ever.
Make a vow, ties with bitterness to sever.
For that future place, the thing that you dream of.
The path to that place, something to lean on.
The way that you see.
The way that you think.
The way that you hear.
These will pull you from the brink.
Be the light when it’s dark.
That single solitary spark.
Be a voice when silence screams.
Even when all would burst at the seems.
In this new year, in this new day,
be the reason for others to say,
here is one who would not lean on excuse.
To lend a helping hand, he would never refuse.
So, as we talk of new seasons, we talk of new days.
As we talk of resolutions, in beautiful new ways.
Let us build relationships, and seek never to tear them down.
By all means, let us reach through the ages, to dispel that single solitary frown.
As this new year dawns.
As this new day begins.
Reach deep down inside you.
Find that love.
Let it shine!
Happy New Year!
I recently decided that I want to take on the 100 day poetry challenge. But decided I should try writing a poem a week first. I used to do this some years back. Anyway, here’s a old poem I wrote over a decade ago.
Come To Me
Come to me and let us talk.
Let us talk till moon and stars are gone.
Let us talk till sky and sun are one.
Come to me and let us talk.
Let us talk till sand and sea is gone.
Let us talk till you and I are one.
Take me in your arms my dear.
Let me feel your tenderness so near.
Come let me reach down deep inside of you,
and touch those places hidden from view.
Come to me beauty and let us sing together.
Come to me…Let us flow together.
In harmony, you and I, we’ll hum together.
Your song shall resonate in me.
And my song shall resonate in you.
And we’ll crescendo in a blaze of fire.
The sun will seem warm in comparison,
to the heat of you and I together.
So my dear, you’ve heard the words.
Now all you need to do is…Come to me
Saturday marked exactly a year since I moved to Berlin, so I figured I should write an update of some sort.
On the 1st of August 2014, I hopped on a one way flight out of Heathrow, and was met in Berlin by two friends of mine, Sandra and Christina. Scared out of my mind and thoroughly excited, we jumped in a taxi, which took me to my new home in Schoneberg. New sights and new experiences awaited.
Having left a job to begin life as a freelance musician, the adventure was twofold. New country, new career direction. A year later and I’m beginning to get a hang of things in this strange new world. The first few months were spent living off my savings. I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in the local park, reading and soaking up sun. I had no clue as to how to tap into the vast musicians’ network that Berlin is home to. Especially being as horrendous at networking as I am! I went to a few meetup events and attended a particular event at a karaoke place. There I met a young lady who told me of her uncle who is a drummer here, and she could put us together. I chatted with him and he gave me a plethora of names of people to get in contact with. I messaged them all via facebook and a few responded. Once that was done, I joined this vast world of musicians based here. I performed every week at a club that was based in Charlottenburg, Jagger. Said club has since closed down. (Nothing to do with me, I promise!)
As an unknown name, I obviously performed for free. I had to return to the UK in Sept to sell the last of my things. My keyboard being the most precious. I do miss it dearly. Though, I will eventually get myself a new one. I didn’t get my first paid gig till November. Since then, I have been working regularly with a group of people, performing at birthday parties, weddings etc, travelling around Germany. I have also twice performed in St Petersburg, Russia. And now that I seem to be settled with regards to events to pay the bills etc, I can start looking at forming my own band and writing my own material once again. I have thoroughly missed creating and I look forward to getting back to it.
I have since moved from Schoneberg, I now live in Friedrichshain. An area in the east of Berlin, where I find soooooo many internationals, it’s amazing.
I would love to tell you that it’s been all smooth sailing, but it hasn’t. It has been the most challenging time of my life to date. I was unaware of how safe my previous life was until I moved here. i.e knowing that every month I will have an income to pay bills etc. I have in essence, gone off in business by myself. My product, me. It’s a strange new world that I am yet to get a handle of. But if there is anything my life to date has taught me, it’s that I can do whatever it is I wish to do. No matter how strange or beyond me it may seem at first, the instant I decide I want to do it, it becomes possible.
One year done. Let’s see what the next year has in store. I remain scared and excited! 😉
I was looking through my Dropbox folders, and came across this video. It’s one of the last rehearsals of the last song I wrote while still in the UK.
I have been so busy in Berlin with singing at events etc, I’ve not done much by way of writing. Though, if all goes according to plan, I will be able to rectify that within the next few months. Anyway, here’s the most up to date version of ‘On My Mind’
So, to combat the fact that I hadn’t written a poem in an age (last was in October), I went to a nearby park to sit, think and see if I can reconnect with myself. In the end, I was able to write:
Letter To A Friend
When I feel down,
As I have for the past few months.
I pick up the pad you gave me,
And I read the words you left me.
You have much faith in me,
These days I can’t see why.
I often feel like a failure to myself
As well as to my loved ones.
Especially around certain times of the year.
I often wish I could see,
What you see, when you look at me.
I would love to draw strength from that
And know that there is much,
Or at least a little to claim pride in.
I look ahead, to see.
To see what lies before me, and the path is not clear.
I feel tis a narrow road and I must clear a path for myself.
I look to my past. To previous thoughts and readings,
I am reminded that David often had cause to encourage himself.
I have trouble trying to draw parallels with him.
Even as I did when I was a man of faith.
I hear words from my favourite tv characters,
The Doctor, Merlin, Sherlock et al
Yet, I could not presume to place myself among such exalted company.
Though, if I would seek greatness, is it not their kin I must look to?
Can I not draw parallels here?
Is it too late to try?
Am I unworthy?
Who is worthy, if I cannot be?
All is in my hands.
But where do I turn?
I feel like a rudderless ship. Adrift in a storm.
With no idea which way is my North.
I look around to seek out answers.
In times gone past, I was told,
Look to the hills, as from there comes my help.
But I am no longer that man.
Those words no longer belong to me.
They belong to another.
I know not who.
Many moons ago, I was told of a destiny that was mine.
Is it no longer for me?
The underlying sadness I felt, even as a man of faith.
Remains, tears and claws at me.
The tenet I hold in hand.
Do what your hands find to do.
This I continue to do.
I am not comfortable.
And this is fine.
If I was, I wouldn’t fight, I wouldn’t try.
But I know not what I am supposed to do.
My strength has never been born of myself.
Ever was it born from others.
As much as I hated it,
It would appear I was never truly independent.
And much have I hated that.
You were the strength I never knew I needed.
In truth, I’m not even sure I wanted.
I fought you.
Because I fear that is all I know.
For good or ill, this has been my help.
Who do I fight?
Where is the iron to sharpen me?
And so I am lost.
I’m sure that in time, I will find my way.
It is me afterall.
In the meantime, I shall wait.
Try to find direction again.
I shall wait.
Unfortunately, it won’t be patiently.