The Complete Lyrics of BARBARIAN HYMNS (With Occasional Commentary)

 

 

LOVE & MADNESS

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann, vocals, lead & bass guitars, Karen Johnson – cello, Rick Terlazzo – organ,  Roy Frush – drums)

                       

Love & Madness (Love & Madness)

Love & Madness (Love & Madness)

Love & Madness – that’s what we live for!

 

He’s been to the mountain, drowned in the Sea,

Been to the inner penitentiary,

Put his shoulder to the wheel in England’s demonic mills.

Cut through the kingdom & the pyramid stone,

Cut through the flesh & he cut through the bone,

And he grew older than ancient in Albion’s angelic hills.

 

He’s carried a goddess made of feather & moon,

He’s carried some cross & he’s carried a tune.

Everybody knew him as one who went barefoot in the snow.

He’s carried the stigma – one of air & smoke,

He’s carried the battalion & he’s carried the joke –

Aphrodite threw him - they all said it was the highlight of the show!

 

When he was a boy, in Inverness,

He saw that even the clouds possessed Consciousness,

And still he carries that sweet wound to this very day.

Possessed as he is of this inner sight

He wonders how yon minotaurs make it through the night,

Clingin’ to trinkets & laws – I mean, what can ya say?

 

His eyes were blessed & spinnin’ in spires,

His eyes, it’s been said, became raging fires

When he saw her on the balcony brushin’ down her flaxen hair!

He was struck down by the sound of her lyre,

He heard her voice dancin’ through those wires,

And he was nailed to the sky & from that height he could only stare!

 

 

 

WILLIAM BLAKE’S CATHEDRAL

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals & flute, Paul Wegmann – vocals, bass & lead guitars, Karen Johnson – cello, Rick Terlazzo – organ)

 

Could swear I saw you in the Citadel

When the mist rose up from those ramparts & fields,

I was moving in the new morning all around the well,

I was dancin’ to be healed.

 

Carried upon the waves of Mystery,

No longer barking down the blind alleys of opinion,

Hailing those heroes of unspoken histories –

The king’s own noble, stalwart minions.

 

Barefoot in William Blake’s Cathedral –

Touch my forehead, open up these skies!

Barefoot in William Blake’s Cathedral –

I see the light in your eyes…

 

You manifested before me in the Spring,

Whisperin’ in the deep green glen,

My mind on fire & my eyes so blind

And you so full of Wonderin’!

 

On those silver trumpets, how the sunlight gleamed!

Into your service I was sent.

Surrendered & whirlin’ with my gaze upraised

In the refuge of Walt Whitman’s tent!

 

Take away this “I Am” from between you & me,

Movin’ ‘neath the firmament as in a trance.

Can I believe my eyes, what they so humbly see?

As the petals of the roses fall from your hair & from the palms of your hands!

 

 

 

INVOCATION

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – lead guitar,

Karen Johnson – cello)

 

Barbarian that I am, I bow before your hand.

I vow to make the sound that brings the Citadel down.

Here inside this cage of bone, wherein dwells this pounding bird –

This is where my passion for you has grown.

Have you heard the Invocation, have you heard?

 

Barbarian that I am, I humbly offer up this chant –

To kiss the blossom of your mouth, as I bow before you now.

As in another wild & ancient life, where once we walked, our feet unshod,

Have you heard me playing on my lute tonight?

Have you heard the Invocation, have you heard?

 

Have you heard, have you heard, have you heard

The Invocation, have you heard?

 

Barbarian that I am, I stand at your command.

And out there by that gate, two restless horses wait.

O, that I might say to you what Yeats failed to say to Maud Gonne.

Out on the edge of this trembling gypsy tongue –

Have you heard the Invocation, have you heard?

 

 

 

WHERE ARE YOU NOW?

(John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium, Kristina Machusick – vocals & flute, Paul Wegmann – vocals & lead guitar, Roy Frush – percussion)

 

Where are you now, Adrasteia?

You who are called the Inescapable One,

Whose thighs are strong, whose belly is warm –

Where are you now, Adrasteia?

 

Where are you now, Europa?

Whose eyes are wide and wild as the rain,

Whose eyes are wide to the deepest pain –

Where are you now, Europa?

 

Where are you now, Ariadna?

Now that you’ve torn me from this hole in the ground,

Now that you’ve dragged me through the streets of the town,

Where are you now, Ariadna?

 

I’m just a man but something inside me rages to speak through this flesh

I’m just a man but something inside me rages to open this chest!

 

Where are you now, Scotia?

Your dark arms hold us as we weep by the sea.

Bring up your waves of Mercy!

Where are you now, Scotia?

 

Where are you now, Atalanta?

Your orphans call your name in the street.

Where is the balance of bitter and sweet?

Where are you now, Atalanta?

 

I’m just a man but something inside me rages to speak through this flesh

I’m just a man but something inside me rages to open this chest!

 

Where are you now, O Leto?

For centuries you’ve been hidden from sight.

We long to taste you in the stars tonight.

Where are you now, O Leto?

 

Where are you now, Sophia?

We drown in ignorance, we drown in greed

Walk among us and sow your seed.

O where are you now, Sophia?

 

Do you see? There … a lone Figure moving through the dark valley…

The deep scent of lavender…through all the night…

 

 

 

THE HUNTERS, THE LANCE & THE HORN

(John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – lead guitar, Roy Frush – drums)

 

In the emerald green, where no children sing,

On the forest floor, near the hidden spring,

Amid diamonds & rubies & drops of blood,

The wounded one waits for instructions from above.

 

All the ladies in silk, the stable hands at dawn,

The young maids with their milk, the choir with its song,

As the daylight approaches & bleeds upon the stones –

Morning is gentle for all that they know.

 

All manner of austerities, all manner of grace,

All manner of prosperities, all manner of taste,

To the one who is bleeding on this mossy ground –

All is illusion save that one holy sound.

 

What is the nature of a tightly strung bow?

What is the flavor of an arrow let go?

What salutations, what words do you say,

What manner of etiquette as you fall upon your prey?

 

The song of the hound, the song of the horn,

The song of the flesh as it’s offered & torn.

It’s not in the response, they won’t find it in the call.

Tell them this treasure is fair game for all.

 

Bring on these hunters, the lance & the horn.

There is nothing to protect here – neither malice nor scorn.

Bring on these hunters to the mouth of my cave.

Tell them this beast is not afraid.

Tell them this beast is not afraid…

 

 

 

CLANCY

(John Terlazzo – vocals, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – bass & vocals,

Roy Frush – drums)

 

(A deep, philosophical treatise)

 

Clancy used to be an upright man, Clancy used to be corporeal.

Clancy used to slam the hammer, Clancy used to roll the wheel.

But one day he went to the hen house just to laugh in the face of doom.

Now when all the people look at him, mostly they look right through him.

 

Clancy put all his eggs in one basket

Now Clancy’s an invisible man.

 

Clancy had him a monkey at home that knew how to tap & to dance.

So he turned down the Queen of Arabia when she offered to dry clean his pants.

That very night when Clancy got home carrying a bouquet of bolts,

The house was empty, he was all alone – the monkey left a monkey note.

 

Clancy climbed the birch tree where the ruby-throated sparrow lived.

Thought he’d ask that sparrow if she knew where he should hang his wig.

Now he hoped & prayed to the heavens above she wouldn’t be just like all the rest.

But the proof was in the pudding, she put every last egg in one nest.

 

Some people go in for caviar & some people go in for clams.

Some people go in for broken cars & some people go in for cramps.

Some people act high & mighty while some people just gotta beg.

But Clancy is strictly transparent cause a what he done with his eggs.

 

You can put all your horns in your closet, you can put all your knots in your hair.

You can put all your catfish in your pocket & all your nuns on the stairs.

You can put all your clocks in a casket, send all your chairs out to be burned.

But this one about eggs & baskets – well that’s a difficult lesson to learn.

 

 

 

THIS I REMEMBER (BE NOT DENIED)

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – vocals, lead guitar & bass, Rick Terlazzo – organ, Roy Frush – drums)

 

(I dreamed this song one night – often having dreams of other times & places. The Hunch-backed Child was foremost in my mind when I awoke. His cry “Be Not Denied” seems most certainly related to not allowing the world to deny us our True Nature)

 

This I remember just before they dragged me from the bed –

Some unsettling nightmare of theocracy.

Minstrels were falling, singers were losing their heads,

Still the air smelled less of burning flesh than hypocrisy.

 

This I remember just before they bound me to the stake.

A wild horse reared up & broke through the crowd.

The wind fed the embers & the ground began to quake,

And a hungry hunch-backed child cried out loud:
Be Not Denied! Be Not Denied!  Be Not Denied!

 

“O my dear lady” I heard the captain say,

“Let not the Heart be corrupted or hurt”.

His soldiers burned the village before the light of day –

I myself heard him give the word.

 

“Nothin’ can harm you now!” someone somewhere yelled,

And I first saw the Messenger in his old woolen coat.

Gently he smiled, the torchlight upon him fell,

Against all orders, he gave us milk from a wild goat.

Be Not Denied! Be Not Denied!  Be Not Denied!

 

The Empress, distracted, mumbled her pardon

While they Danced With Daggers, celebrating her throne.

She couldn’t get her mind off the agony in the garden.

She asked the Viceroy, “What do we do with all these bones?”

 

The sower of seeds & the blind girl with her concertina

Conspired out behind the constable’s court.

I stumbled in with a doubtful grin & asked her if they’d seen ya.

She gazed so strangely at her broken consort. 

She said, “Be Not Denied! Be Not Denied!  Be Not Denied!”

 

This I remember just before the Viceroy spoke –

The Messenger shed that patched holy coat.

Truer than those embers, more sublime than the finest joke,

I danced before that face & I just became the smoke.

 

People throw their stones, people throw their knives.

You can’t let it burden you in the least.

Just feed them on grace all the days of their lives.

There’s no time to waste, meet me at the Feast!

Be Not Denied!  Be Not Denied!  Be Not Denied!

 

 

 

ABOVE PARADISE STREET

(John Terlazzo – vocals & percussion, Kristina Machusick – flute, Paul Wegmann – lead guitar,

Roy Frush – percussion)

 

Sometimes, when I gaze on so much Beauty

And I am made to kneel on thorns of light,

Stampedes of stars, heavens of horses moving through me

Burn an aching trail across the unbridled night.

 

Sometimes, when I gaze on so much Beauty

A pillar of flame rises above my head,

And every delight parades before me, truly

I am dragged to the repast, but I am not fed.

 

The black orchid in the singer’s hair, the waterfall’s descent,

The whisper in the Lion’s lair, the lonely Queen’s lament,

The grace of La Fornarina dripping from the hands of Raphael,

The tender dipping of the Moon into the Heart’s vast & opened well.

 

But there’s a deeper ache within me that seems to have no name,

That seems to flay & skin me & brand its iron upon my brain –

An almost unbearable Beauty in every gaze I greet,

Drags me to hover like a lunatic Lover off the ledge above Paradise Street

 

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful,

I’ve the deepest respect for Fate.

But in the name of all that’s broken & urgent & faithful –

I beseech you; let me dance beyond that Gate…

 

 

 

A THOUSAND CRIES

(John Terlazzo – vocals, harmonium & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – vocals & lead guitar, Karen Johnson – cello)

 

(I wrote this song in a tender place, and while gazing at John William Waterhouse paintings)

 

When Lovers seize the Moon

And on that fine nectar are fed,

No hand shall / violate / this Beauty.

And should that great Orb fall soon,

O, let it bow our earnest heads –

No hand shall / violate / this Beauty,

No hand shall / violate / this Beauty.

 

And when Lovers anoint the night,

And cry a thousand cries,

No hand shall / violate / this Beauty.

Wand’ring, arrayed only in Moonlight,

Through that world of a thousand sleeping eyes –

No hand shall / violate / this Beauty,

No hand shall / violate / this Beauty.

 

When Lovers lie down in pale flowers,

The old temple gong deeply sounds…

 

 

 

BARBARIAN HYMNS

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – vocals, lead & bass guitars, Rick Terlazzo – organ, Roy Frush – drums)

 

Walkin’ on air & ringin’ this ram’s bell –

The Order of the Fool, from limb to limb.

But I survived your incantations, your damnations & spells.

I’m singin’ these Barbarian Hymns.

 

Two gypsies came down that mountain,

Branded my brow with a most auspicious sign.

Then they nearly drown me in the village fountain.

Said, “You’ll sing Barbarian Hymns all your life!”

 

All this Milk & all this Honey

Overflows this begging bowl.

And all this Milk & all this Honey

Cannot still this soul…

 

Have you made yourself some sinister prison?

You better defy the warden, it’s now or never!

Have you exiled your precious Heart from every kind of Wisdom?

Are you gonna walk with your feet on the ground forever?

 

They took me to the Alhambra in the moonlight,

Never asked me my opinion of the cause.

Could hear the moanin’ & clawin’ long past midnight.

In the mornin’ I’ll sing my Barbarian Hymns in the Lion’s jaws,

 

All this Milk & all this Honey

Overflows this begging bowl.

And all this Milk & all this Honey

Still cannot appease this soul…

 

They asked him for his final words.

Hallaj laughed out loud ‘neath the hangman’s bough,

“If what’s been hidden from you had been hidden from me too,

I wouldn’t be in this mess right now!”

 

Walkin’ on air & ringin’ this ram’s bell –

The Order of the Fool, from limb to limb.

I’ve tasted the honeysuckle of your song, I’m not goin’ back to that cell.

I’m singin’ these Barbarian Hymns.

I’m singin’ these Barbarian Hymns.

 

 

 

 

UNSEEN WINE

(John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – vocals & lead guitar)

 

(Another visitation from Dear Master Nikos)

 

Bells pealing in the night,

Nefertiri’s handmaid reading my cards by firelight,

Tracing the scars of what we call wrong & right –

Drinking Unseen Wine.  Drinking Unseen Wine.

 

Songs rising in the dark,

Breathing these words to rise up & take spark.

Aiming my arrow to make its mark –

Drinking Unseen Wine.  Drinking Unseen Wine.

 

No flag moves in my sky.

No ear can hear such a low elusive cry.

What moves beyond your eye collides,

Coyly hides the prize, deep inside…

 

Kyriakos searching for the light in his boots.

Madras, the cynic, is all tangled up in his twisted roots.

Says, “That’s what happens to those who dare to question truth!”

But I’m Drinking Unseen Wine.  Drinking Unseen Wine.

 

Dear handmaid whispering in the morn.

My head bowed low, all shaved & shorn.

Let me lay down all this envy & anger & scorn,

Drinking Unseen Wine.  Drinking Unseen Wine.

 

 

 

BISMILLAH

(Kristina Machusick – lead & all harmony vocals, John Terlazzo – guitar, Paul Wegmann – lead guitar, Karen Johnson – cello)

 

(Bismillah – an Arabic reference to beginning in the name of Mercy & Compassion.  I see this as an Old World or Sufi correlative to Be Here Now.  Kristina sings it so beautifully that we thought it best she should do all the voices)

 

In the stark temple softly she sings, shining still ‘neath the beams.

Shahada’s breath on my shoulder, here where I’m bowed down on broken knees.

No one knows the name of this nectar, where humming hallows the hives.

No axe need we to protect her, as she drinks in all our lives.

Lo! The Savage Beauty coursing Within!

 

Dance deeply out of this dungeon, open the cage –

How the Being loves the Becoming, age upon age!

Blissful in beauty before us - the Invisible Path.

Delight is the doorway & the chorus sings, “Let them pass!”

Lo! The Savage Beauty that sings from Within!  Bismillah!

 

Languid the lips that adorn us, Love lingers long.

Whispered, the winged ones warn us – the approaching dawn.

O silence & sorrow surround us, for too soon the din

Beckons blindly around us, let us lock it out & yet again, begin…

Lo! The Savage Beauty, her kisses deep Within!  Bismillah!

 

What we long & we long for, is that Lover who longs.

So we sing & we sing every song for the soundless sound in these songs.

Lay me down, O lay me down before the One who stole my soul –

Who held it high to the starry sky, and swallowed it whole!

Lo! The Savage Beauty aching sweetly Within!  Bismillah!

 

 

 

NINE THOUSAND YEARS

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals & flute, Paul Wegmann – vocals, lead & bass guitars, Rick Terlazzo – organ, Roy Frush – drums)

 

Nine thousand years singin’ at your door

Nine thousand years kneelin’ on your floor

Nine thousand years longin’ in this land

Nine thousand years to feel the comfort of your hand

Nine thousand years blowin’ on this horn

Nine thousand years waitin’ to be born

Nine thousand years weepin’ by the sea

Nine thousand years do you hear me, do you hear me…?

            I stumbled on the house of my Beloved

            My chariot shattered & torn

            There’s nothing in this world left to covet

            Show yourself to me - I’m at your door.

 

Nine thousand years tending this desire

Nine thousand years sitting silent in your fire

Nine thousand years aching to be seen

Nine thousand years in someone else’s dream

Nine thousand years outside your windowpane

Nine thousand years beat about by the hurricane

Nine thousand years a-waiting on your grace

Nine thousand years a stranger to this place

Nine thousand years standing here without a prayer

Nine thousand years let me touch your hair, let me touch your hair…

            I stumbled…

 

Nine thousand years kneelin’ on the road

Nine thousand years tryin’ to break the Old Code

Nine thousand years without a clue or a trace

Nine thousand years the memory of your face

Nine thousand years humorin’ this beast

Nine thousand years of hunger at the feast

Nine thousand years cryin’ for water at the well

Nine thousand years sellin’ souvenirs of hell

            I stumbled…

 

Nine thousand years of longin’ for your kiss

Nine thousand years of this & this & this & this

Nine thousand years of witnessing the breath

Nine thousand years of life after death after life after death

Nine thousand years of burnin’ on this pyre

Nine thousand years of sufferin’ killers & liars

Nine thousand years of drivin’ out these stains

Nine thousand years of chantin’ your name, chantin’ your name…

 

 

 

THE PATH

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – lead guitar,

 Karen Johnson – cello, Rick Terlazzo – organ)

 

(“If anything is holy, this body is holy” – Walt Whitman)

 

I’ve heard it said you have fallen & you’re seeking shelter tonight.

And the ghost of your old hunger’s calling & you’re afraid to give him a bite.

If Love sends its dragons to snap at your heels,

Open to those teeth & welcome them nigh.

And if all you’ve revered falls under the wheel,

Let my body be the Path on which you arise…

 

And should those cards that they’ve dealt to you, shatter like glass at your door.

Should those broken bards that were felled for you, come to rest on my green forest floor,

And if Love comes a stranger to your blind savior’s farm,

Slip out of those raiments & open your arms.

And if Love burns your manger & blackens your skies,

Let my body be the Path on which you arise…

 

Many strangers may Love you, many worlds may collide.

Gaze into still water – tell me, whose gaze returns to your eyes?

 

Some people say that Love is so vast, wider than all truth & lies.

I say to you let my body be the Path by which you awaken & arise.

There’s a pearl on the floor of the venerable sea.

It’s been there in wait for you for ten thousand years.

Without drenching your dress, go & bring it to me,

And let my body be the Path on which you arise…

 

 

 

 

HEAVEN BE PRAISED (HOTEL ROOM IN VENICE)

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar, Kristina Machusick – vocals, Paul Wegmann – vocals & lead guitar, Rick Terlazzo – organ, Roy Frush – drums)

 

(My bent towards various mythologies leads me again & again toward the realization that our present-day culture is obviously deeply wounded. Most specifically, it is wounded in that we have completely violated & abused the Feminine (which in so doing, leaves the Masculine a pathetic monstrous version of itself)…

 

Many of my songs & poems, then, return to implore that we work diligently to restore a deep ethereal joining- to bring together the Feminine & Masculine energies in every aspect of our lives… This is true in every relationship – whether a man & a woman, or two women joined together, or two men, or any individual standing alone, just as it’s true for entire cultures… Returning to the awe & majesty of this Balance is essential to our survival.

 

Having said all that, I had a good time writing this song.  We pull it out for concerts every now & then, & it’s always been well-received – most recently at Mulina & Emerson’s Mill (which led us to want to include it here)… I wrote the song on said angelic being’s birthday, in the old hotel room in Venice, Italy in 1985 – it all unfolded pretty much just as it’s spelled out in the spoken introduction).

 

 

             When the sun comes up on the love-soaked bed

             Wrapped around each other with visions of sugar plums dancing in your heads.

             You will hear the beating of the angel’s wings,

             As they smile down upon you & all creation sings:

 

              HEAVEN BE PRAISED, HEAVEN BE PRAISED!

              MAN LIES NAKED BEFORE HIS WOMAN!

             HEAVEN BE PRAISED, HEAVEN BE PRAISED!

              WOMAN LIES NAKED BEFORE HER MAN!

 

              Clothed in these naked bodies, corporeal as they are

              We are given the instruments of music, the milky-white moon & the shooting stars.                                                                                                                  

              We have the hands of man, forever strumming the lute,

              The ecstatic song of delirious woman as she again descends on the flute!

 

              Whenever two tongues meet through the vessels of the open mouths,

              A glorious moaning can be heard in the East, the West, & North & South.

              And every pore of every creature grows moist & invites us in.  And it’s a most holy thing,

              This moaning, it isn’t advertising & it sure as hell isn’t sin!

 

             As all the meteors fall from Heaven like white hot seeds

              And the canals of Venice open wide & the volcano at Pompeii bleeds.

             With every man & woman enraptured in this prayerful bequest,

              Again & again & again, mouth to mouth, loin to loin & breast to breast!

 

              When you think that you just can’t go on any longer

               And all your lily-white lambs have gone to slaughter,

               Seek refuge & solace, remember somewhere in some glowing room

               The Holy Mystery of Man is coupled with the Holy Mystery of Woman!

 

                                                                                        

 

 

 

LET THE WORLD PASS BY LIKE CLOUDS

(John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar)

 

(I wrote this lullaby for our children, Rosa & Paolo – though it came a few years on the late side. The title phrase is one I often use while leading meditation groups at retreats – a suggestion to keep one’s attention on the breath. The idea applies, just as well, I think, to a child’s encouragement towards peaceful sleep.  Here this song is dedicated to Rosa & Paolo, and to our new little Nevia, and to William & Ophelia & any others who may be waiting in the wings to come & grace us, touching our faces & our fingertips, stilling our souls.)

 

Where rivers of milk & sweet nectar flow

There to the land of honey we’ll go

& I’ll kiss your forehead where the visions do grow

Let the world pass by like clouds, My Love –

Let the whole world pass by like clouds.

 

And I’ll be on that mountain with sheep’s cheese & bread

And a warm tasseled nightcap for your wee nodding head –

There on that mountain of dreams be ye fed –

Let the world pass by like clouds, My Love –

Let the whole world pass by like clouds.

 

Don’t worry for ogres, don’t worry for trolls.

For even ones such as these do have souls.

O harm may come, but harm slips through holes –

Let the world pass by like clouds, My Love –

Let the whole world pass by like clouds.

 

Abide in stillness, in tenderness bow,

In the morning you’ll open your eyes.

We’ll wander in wonder down the path, but for now,

Let the whole world gently pass by…

 

Miraculous angel, miraculous dove,

How much you have shown me of the Myst’ry of Love!

O, breathe in my arms as the stars sigh above

And let the world pass by like clouds, My Love –

Let the whole world pass by like clouds.

 

 

 

All songs written by John Terlazzo, copyright 2013