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Learning How to Read

Learning How to Read

On a rare occasion, I will write some lyrics that I know are good.  How do I know that they are good?  Interesting question.  How does any poet assess his or her work?  Well, every time I come back to them–whether it be over the span of a few hours or a few years–I find that they still affect me on a gut level, and I nod my head saying, “yeah, that is so true.”  Moreover, I find that other people are doing the same.

Perhaps the reactions of others is the most critical component.  In my younger days, I wrote verse in my journal that spoke to me but to no one else.  In its composition, it didn’t really need to communicate on a broad level.  What I mean is that the words were rich and meaningful when I placed them in the context of my own experience, but they weren’t really able to be shared because the language was too ambiguous.  Now I realize that poetry is really artful not just when the lines are rich or symbolic in language, but when the reader is able to connect with what I have communicated.  So in essence, poetry becomes great when it is both vividly artistic and broadly communicative of a shared emotion or experience.

OK, so I didn’t mean for this post to be a critique of poetry in general, nor do I hold up these lyrics as the pinnacle of my writing.  I do appreciate it when songwriters are diligent with their craft, not just spouting the first thing that comes into their head nor simply spilling words from their journal onto the leadsheet.

Having said that, these lyrics which I wrote last year keep impacting me every time I read them.  They are from a song which will be on my upcoming release, Mercy Falls, which features the worship team at Christ Church of Pasadena.  However, they are not reprinted in the worship resources section of the website, so you’ll only be able to find them here.  If you enjoy these and they communicate to you on that gut level, drop me a comment and let me know.

Learning How to Read (C 2007 Daniel Radmacher)

I wish that I could fly over trees and over time

With everything in view

If I could trace my life like a tapestry, I’d find

The path I should pursue.

Cause I have lost my way, it seems

And I have lost the eyes to see

The forest from the trees.

 

I wish that I could breathe underwater, under sea

With simple certainty;

If I could take that plunge would your heart instruct my lungs?

Confirm my destiny.

Cause I am not where I should be

And I have tried to find a way

To see and then believe.

 

And I’ve been hoping all my life to catch a glimpse of You.

To feel that You are in this moment, to know that You are true.

I only want to find the answer…knowing You.

 

I wish that I could sing in the language of my King

The joy of angel songs;

If I could voice Your praise with a special kind of grace,

I’d know where I belong.

Cause I am wandering through this rhyme

And I am wondering how to find

The lyric You’ve inspired.

 

And I’ve been waiting all my life to catch a glimpse of You.

To feel that You are in this moment, to know that You are true.

I only want to find the answer…knowing You.

 

I wish that I could fly over trees and over life,

Interpret all I see.

The sunlight on the sand could reveal a greater Hand

So I’m learning how to read.

2 Comments

  1. patrick · October 13, 2008 Reply

    i want to post something about how peaceful, how serene, how longing these lyrics are, but i can’t seem to put those words together. i am taken by the beauty conveyed therein, though. thank you for posting.

  2. donna ellis · January 4, 2009 Reply

    oh, WOW, dan, that is just lovely!

    i’m so glad i found yer blog!

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