Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: David Bazan

David Bazan has blazed a unique trail in the music world, awkwardly (but successfully?) straddling the indie and the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) scenes at once. As Pedro the Lion, his soft and broken-hearted ballads snagged a cult following for his bare-bones approach to both the music and the lyrics; but as his style evolved the increasing complexity seemed to lose the heart of what was so special before. Fortunately, his new album, Curse Your Branches, is a beautifully successful amalgam of all his previous work, and one of the most affecting, emotionally raw, and spiritually honest albums I have heard in some time.

Any of the songs from Curse Your Branches -- which reads like a musical journal from a post-evangelical who hates hell, wants to love Jesus, refuses simple explanations, despises hypocrisy, and can't stop sinning but wants to do the right thing -- would be worth sharing in this forum, but below is my favorite so far. Its tone is not dissimilar from an angry lament psalm, or a speech from Job, telling God how it (or he) ought to be in order to be just. The point, of course, is not the supposed irreverence of telling God what's up -- it is in talking to God at all, addressing God as morally culpable, holding God to the standards of Godhood which God has set for himself.

My own poem afterward is a simply a short reflection on our nature as talking (but fallen) creatures.

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When We Fell

By David Bazan

With the threat of hell hanging over my head like a halo
I was made to believe in a couple of beautiful truths
That eventually had the effect of completely unraveling
The powerful curse put on me by you

When you set the table
And when you chose the scale
Did you write a riddle
That you knew they would fail
Did you make them tremble
So they would tell the tale
Did you push us when when we fell

If my mother cries when I tell her what I have discovered
Then I hope she remembers she taught me to follow my heart
And if you bully her like you’ve done me with fear of damnation
Then I hope she can see you for what you are

When you set the table
And when you chose the scale
Did you write a riddle
That you knew they would fail?
Did you make them tremble
So they would tell the tale?
Did you push us when when we fell?

What am I afraid of?
Whom did I betray?
In what medieval kingdom does justice work this way?
If you knew what would happen and made us just the same
Then you, my Lord, can take the blame

- - - - - - -

Speech

We are loudmouths all of us
And the silences of our beginnings
Call out darkly and in secrecy
Beyond all the swaying sweaty towers
Bellowing our lonely blood
And following our stillborn scars

1 comment:

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