Song to the Night

from by Ian McFeron

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Song to the Night - Story

I was thinking that evening about friends I had lost and I was wondering where they were now. I was feeling the blessing of life while I looked out at the black silhouettes of the Douglas Fir trees cut out against the horizon. I saw the evening sky emblazoned in roaring flames and it occurred to me that this had never happened before. That the sky tonight is unlike any other that has ever been. Each moment in life is one-of-a-kind. Each is painted with a new brush on new canvas.

I sat there, looking out in stillness and wonder, and this song sort of spilled out onto the page and poured out from the guitar like a words you might steal from a dream.

Then I thought about all the little kids asking “why” all the time, and it made me want to ask why too. Somehow when we grow older, we still say why, but we come to accept mechanical answers of “how” things are in response to childlike wonder about “why” they are. And I thought those little kids are right to keep asking. We still haven’t touched their original question. We can explain, to a degree, how the sky expresses blueness, but we still haven’t answered “why is the sky blue”. For all the wise narratives that material science pulls like threads out of the fabric of the Universe, places under microscopes, and re-imagines in eloquent equations, we’re still stuck with this: the world outside us is built on a foundation of pure magic that is continually exploding with wonder. And it’s glorious.

Then I thought, “what remains after we’re gone?” And I thought, “I don’t want any towers to Babel. I don’t have any lust for Ozymandias' statue. Greatness is a moment, washed away into the oceans of eternity.”

So I thought, “if I could take these fragmented pieces of my life and turn them into pieces of art- for arts sake only- then that would be good.”

The sky is full of fire. I want to wrap it around guitar strings and bottle it up so I’ll always remember, but it’s slippery. It keeps escaping. I want to know what it means. I think, “something so beautiful has to mean something.” Embers flare in mango, tangerine, watermelon, crimson. The dusk of the afterglow is dusty like tree bark; a fistful of earth. The colors grow deeper and darker as the second hand ticks. It doesn’t say a word. It doesn’t justify itself. It burns for beauty’s sake alone. It burns to lead us, wrapped in child-like wonder, into the stillness of night.

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lyrics

Song to the Night - Lyrics

Roarin’ flames of sunset
Tear across the sky
Burnin’ up the shadows and the green fields
Settin' this whole world on fire

But you just can’t help but get used to it
When it happens every day
Just like the night
Silvery breezes blow through the holes in space

You asked me, “are we livin' in a dream world?”
It’s so hard to say
Cause nothin’ ever seems real to me, girl
Until it’s slippin’ away

And even when I try to hold tight
To one thing I know
It falls to the night
It fades into the afterglow

But in my dreams I walked on oceans
Though I never seen your face
I lived a thousand lifetimes
But never met one that could stand in your place

All these philosophers and preachers
Punch wild at things you don’t show
I been thinkin' 'bout the night
That stirs in the valley below

Oh your sweetness is a virtue
You steal the trouble from my mind
So I been tryin' to keep tied to you
I’m tryin’ to lay my heart on the line

But some days the dark hours linger
Long after the daylight shows
The day is like the night
And the night plays like a Coltrane song

So Lord help me to focus
Give these broken pieces shape
Not a tower to the heavens
Just a piece of art for art’s sake

I give you my whole heart to shatter
And my body to make new
To dissolve it in the night
To sleep in sweet dreams of you

credits

from Radio, released February 27, 2015

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Ian McFeron Seattle, Washington

Ian McFeron’s writing has been compared to Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Ryan Adams. Over the course of a decade-long independent music career, he has attracted media attention stretching across the Atlantic. He currently tours in support of his 7th album Time Will Take You, recorded in Nashville with members of Ryan Adams band The Cardinals as well as Patty Griffin and John Hiatt’s touring bands. ... more

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