The Language of Stones

words & music by Geoff Bartley 1990 & 1994
Published by Joshua Omar's Music BMI
All Rights Reserved
With grateful acknowledgement to T. S. Eliot

(spoken) I watch for the snake charmer, with her burning eyes and fertile belly, standing on the riverbank at noon or midnight, wreathed in the smell of birth and the notes from a wooden flute. Here where the forest opens the leaves and petals are luminous, edged in silver, poisonous and medicinal. I would be the surface of the pool, to see both worlds at once, as self-contained as the snake, to be at home in my skin, at home on the mountain's face, drinking from clouds, talking with the dead, jiggling with holiness, every sinew spitting sparks.

I am learning to speak, the language of stones
Like rivers over rock, life flowing in the bones
A fire in the wind, an ocean over sand
I am traveling home, where I once began
Knowing for the first time, where I once began
Full... circle... full!

(spoken) The strangest landscape begins to look familiar. I can walk this country in my sleep: the signs of divination, the maze of emergence, the ritual dreams for saving the soul of the world. The sounds are as intimate as breath. My lips move over the syllables like a blind woman's fingers over the face of her first-born. Insects hum at the forest's edge and the sun stops overhead. The smell of sage and cedar will be on my skin forever. Everything becomes sacred. Smoke rises from a ring of stones and the ashes are thrown downwind. Bits of thread flutter from the bushes, as if marking a trail.

I am learning to speak, the language of stones
Like rivers over rock, life flowing in the bones
A fire in the wind, an ocean over sand
I am traveling home, where I once began
Knowing for the first time, where I once began
Full... circle... full!

(spoken) You weary nations, I am like some new being you've never encountered before. Yet there is nothing about me you can't recognize. I live in the place where you perceive nothing. Look again! I am the arrowpoint that finds the boar's heart. I am the flicker of red from a blackbird's wing. I am the feathers sprouting from your most secret wounds. You will teach me of flying: I will stand on your shoulders and leap! And all will come right, I swear it. We will meet where the forest is deepest, where the night is blank and there are no stars, for I am your annihilation come to make Peace.

I am learning to speak, the language of stones
Like rivers over rock, life flowing in the bones
A fire in the wind, an ocean over sand
I am traveling home, where I once began
Knowing for the first time, where I once began
Full... circle... full!

petroglyph



Blues Beneath the Surface


track 16

Geoff; all vocals, 1983 Martin HD-28 Custom-15 in standard tuning, key of C, a cheap electric guitar I had at the time, brand long-forgotten, Fender Precision bass, clay ocarina, kalimba, drum machine. We didn't compress this when we mastered it to disc, so you might have to turn up your playback device a bit.
~ Geoff

Recorded on a Tascam Porta-One 4-track cassette recorder & mixed to DAT


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