Today’s Featured Song – Musical Mondays

October 29th, 2018 – When All Else Fails

Our culture is battling for its soul. Despair and outrage are rising. I wrote this song for and about my daughter,

to offer support as she travels through life.  I post it to remind each of us that we are here for each other.

The father sings, “You can call on me/when all else fails.” In this same way 

I hope it eases your Monday and what may be a pain-filled week.

Keep faith in your humanity.

 

When All Else Fails - Lyrics

 

        I

When you run into trouble

Or it runs into you

And you are the one

Who is breaking in two

When you have done

All that you can do

Don’t break down crying

Baby, you’re not dying

And I’ll always help you through

 

CHORUS:

When all else fails

And you want to surrender

When all else fails

Just remember

You have my heart

And you will prevail

You can call on me

When all else fails

          II

When you’re out on the water

And you can’t find land

When you pour out your heart

And no one understands

When your favorite dream

Slips through your hands

When the road gets really  rough

And you don’t feel strong enough

You’d better believe I’m your man

CHORUS

BRIDGE

Oh, darling

I see my destiny

I’m going to love you forever

It’s just got to be

         

          III

So when you feel

That the world’s gone mad

And all your tomorrows

Start to look pretty bad

You will be right

To feel unbearably sad

But you are not alone

You don’t have to fix it on your own

Think of the love that we have

CHORUS

When all else fails

And you want to surrender

When all else fails

Just remember

Even when the wind 

Doesn’t fill your sails

You can call on me

When all else fails…

You can call on me

When all else fails

 

 © 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

(Some comments relate to previously featured songs. To hear those songs, scroll down.) 

26 Comments

  1. Miss Kitty

    Beautiful lyrics and you have a wonderful voice! Found myself harmonizing right along with you the first time I heard it…

    Reply
  2. Sandra Pontius

    Listened to several of your offerings. Great! Thanks for your generosity.

    Reply
  3. Gail Lowry- Brotchie

    Looking forward to hearing you sing in person, dear friend. G

    Reply
  4. Sugi-san

    Great song and voice Tom. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Tomas

      My pleasure. Music unshared is quieter than one hand clapping.

      Reply
  5. Caroline Demaio

    So lovely! Thanks, Tom. You have such a beautiful voice!

    Reply
    • Thomas Henry Pope

      Caroline,

      So happy you took the time to listen and that it pleased you. As you know, music is an element of magic that no one owns but that many feed on.

      Reply
  6. Irini

    I love your enthusiasm for love!

    Reply
  7. welthy

    This is very haunting and lovely. I agree that more people need to hear this. It is a beautiful song with an important message.

    Reply
    • Tomas

      Thanks, Welthy. Pass it on as you wish via the web.

      Reply
  8. Tom M

    Excellent, T!

    Reply
  9. Maggie Bernstein

    You are a marvelous troubadour. Your songs, lyrics, and, oh, that voice, reach deep into my heart.

    Reply
    • Tomas

      Make me smile. Thanks.

      Reply
  10. Martha Schoenemann

    The lyrics to Always There are beautiful. May we encourage you to take up songwriting as a profession again? This one belongs on the charts.

    Reply
    • Tomas

      You may encourage, but I’ll probably be busy with novels for quite some time. Glad you like it.

      Reply
  11. jan cull simonson

    Beautiful*****

    Reply
  12. Jim Kardas

    WOW! Impressive performance.

    Reply
  13. Irini Rockwell

    Listening to your song so touched my heart.
    Such a beautiful voice, such a beautiful song.
    So fortunate we have been to have this crazy man in our lives. He lives still with us.

    Reply
  14. Jenny M Burnstad

    Tom….your voice is like petrichor…I learned this word and heard this song within the same 6 minutes this evening. You translated your devotion into a sublime song….I could listen to this tune for much longer than the recording. How wonderful to have had a teacher so inspiring.

    Reply
    • Tomas

      Jenny, thanks for the language lesson! And glad you liked it.

      Reply
  15. Caroline DeMaio

    Lovely song, Tom! Thanks for posting it on this day.

    Reply
  16. Leigh Jones-Bamman

    Tom, it’s wonderful to hear your voice and music again! Have times changed? For some, yes, for others, no.

    Reply
    • Tomas

      Thanks, Leigh, for stopping by!

      Reply
  17. Valerie Smith

    Beautiful lyrics and tune.

    Reply
  18. Tom Edwards

    Thomas, times have changed. It’s time more people heard this. Good song!

    Reply

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October 7th, 2018 – Don’t Tell Anybody

This past month has been both devastating and inspiring for women and our society. The hateful, white, patriarchal elite

has flexed its muscle to crush the astonishing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. And to silence women.

But from the outcry both before and after this sordid episode, they know the wind is against them. The revolution is gathering heart.

This song highlights the poison of abuse and howls for liberation.

 

Don't Tell Anybody - Lyrics

 

      I

Everywhere she goes

She sees the shadow of a man

It keeps coming up behind her

A wicked reminder

One she doesn’t understand

So she stumbles through the years

A child without a choice

Afraid to remember

Compelled to surrender

To this evil inner voice

It says:

 

CHORUS:

Don’t tell anybody

If they ask you lie

Don’t you ever breathe a word

Or one of us will die

Don’t tell anybody

Or you will lose my love

All your life you better keep it

A dirty little secret

A dirty little secret

 

            II

Guilty memories

Should she have resisted?

Drowning in shame

Why is she to blame?

Funny how things gets twisted

She has a habit in her heart

Love is her addiction

She spends her days in aggression

Her nights in confession

Always true to his conviction

CHORUS

BRIDGE

She doesn’t have many choices

Holding a losing hand

She can give her love away

Or take it like a man

Don’t Tell. Don’t tell.

Never, never

Keep it buried forever

CHORUS

 

 © 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

September 10th, 2018 – Requiem to Two Grey Mice

For a twist on the series, here is an instrumental on six-string acoustic. 

The title refers to the true story of how, while composing the piece, the composer ingested two members of the family muridae,

order of rodentia, without knowing it until tragedy had long struck.

(To listen to previous songs in this Musical Mondays series, scroll down past the comments section.)

 

Requiem to Two Grey Mice - Instrumental

 

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

(Some comments relate to previously featured songs. To hear those songs, scroll down.) 

August 6th, 2018 – A Jewel on the Highway of Heart

In love, as in all things, change sometimes drives its nose under the tent. Separation brings pain of course.

Then again, it allows for new adventures. Cherish the love you find and be willing to let it go.

(To listen to previous songs in this Musical Mondays series, scroll down past the comments section.)

 

A Jewel on the Highway of Heart - Lyrics

 

I

Snow is falling on the lake

and darkness on the town

the steeple bell is warning

that it’s time to settle down

but I’m mulling over memories

of something lost and found

a jewel on the highway of heart

 

II

I stand alone without you now

soft in disbelief

there’s no one else to take your place

close the door upon my grief

but after all is said and done

I find myself at peace

with a jewel on the highway of heart

 

CHORUS

Noting worth keeping

in life ever stays

so, my friend, I am lucky to

be loving you this way

 

III

The news has come out from the coast

you’re glad you made the move

you’re getting married in the spring

you’re life is very smooth

but I know you must be missing

what I am too

a jewel on the highway of heart

 

CHORUS

 

BRIDGE

The jewel may be gone

but the memory lives

only dying can take it away

I gave you my heart

and the peace it brings 

only dying can take it away

 

CHORUS  

 

CHORUS

 

CHORUS

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

July 9th, 2018 – The Fire of Love

Even old age doesn’t dampen our ability to fall in love. This song descended on me while I was driving home from a gig.

When it came time to record it, we thought Sam and Suzy deserved a string quartet.

(Though it hurts the marketability of the song, I still love the choice.)

(To listen to previous songs in this Musical Mondays series, scroll down past the comments section.)

 

The Fire of Love - Lyrics

 

I

Little old lady loves a little old man

he comes by whenever he can

they go out walking

and chatter like a couple of birds

Sam thinks Suzy’s quite a girl

she still gives his heart a whirl

when they’re together

he hangs on every word

 

CHORUS

The fire of love keeps burning

as long as the world is turning

as long as there’s a woman and a man

the magic and the mystery

have long been shaping history

as long as ocean waves

still hit the sand

 

II

Sam puts on his very best

shiny shoes and a satin vest

he hardly knows

the years have passed

Suzy does her hair up nice

puts a little wine on ice

when he comes

her heart is beating fast

 

CHORUS

 

III

Sam knows how to say goodbye

looks his lady in the eye

and promises her

it won’t be long

Suzy understands her man

tenderly she holds his hand

one sweet moment

and he’s gone

 

 

CHORUS

The fire of love keeps burning

as long as the world is turning

as long as there’s a woman and a man

the magic and the mystery

will go on shaping history

and turning lead to gold

this story will be told

as long as ocean waves

still hit the sand.

 

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

June 25th, 2018 – I Am a Fighter

A love song in disguise. The singer asks his lover to join him in forgiving what’s gone wrong and fighting for what brought them together.  

(To listen to previous songs in this Musical Mondays series, scroll down past the comments section.)

 

I Am a Fighter - Lyrics

 

I

The spell is broken

I miss the caring

our love is falling through the cracks

you and I

got to do something daring

if we ever want that magic back

I can’t be bothered with worn out ways

I’m not the hero in a tragic play

 

CHORUS

I am a fighter

when it comes to loving you

I won’t give up

if it’s the last thing I do

I am a fighter

say you’re a fighter too.

 

II

We made a promise

way back when

And I’m going to stand by you

I still feel

like I did then

You’re the only woman I will make love to

These two hearts took years to make

and I’d rather die than let them break

 

CHORUS

 

BRIDGE

Don’t get me wrong

I will never hurt you

I will never be a man of war

I have a mission

to make you see

this love is worth fighting for

 

III 

It’s essential

we stop the hiding

and let our aching go

every heart

does a little colliding

that’s the only way the thing can grow

I have been just a little blind

but you know I’m not the quitting kind

 

 CHORUS . . .

I am a fighter

I am a fighter

I am a fighter

say you’re a fighter too.

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

June 11th, 2018 – Never Again (Live by the River)

My antiwar manifesto. The weaponry of the world’s super power now rests in the hands of a bellicose and unstable leader. If he is sloppy this week with North Korea, he may provoke what generations have struggled to prevent. I offer this song showing the pointlessness of

violence and the openheartedness of peace. Poison arrows, of course, refers to nuclear weapons but could be anything.

Performed on grand piano, I hear it with the London Symphony.

 

Never Again - Lyrics

 

I

There was nobody left

we were the last people on Earth

and I lay down and wept

and I beat my hands in the dirt

a song was coming to me

and my head was ringing

as the words came through

I started singing

 

CHORUS

Never again will the way of men be evil

never again will the poison arrows fly

and I swear on my mother’s grave

and I promise to the sky

I’m gonna live by the river of wisdom

till I die

live by the river

 

II

I was sure I would find

scars all over the land

but the berries were thick

and I saw a newborn lamb

On the top of a mountain

I realized

what had been missing

in our lives

 

CHORUS

 

III 

Then I woke from the dream

and I found myself in a room

in the western sky was

Venus in the crescent moon

the song of the city 

came up from the street

people in motion

sounded so sweet

’cause I was hearing.

 

CHORUS . . .

live by the river

till I die

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

May 28th, 2018 – God of Love 

A little different today–solo acoustic Jazz/Blues. Clumsy in love starting out, I often found myself the Also-Ran, a friend to both people in love relationships. Puts a man in some awkward situations. I penned this after a particularly odd night. In performance, I love hearing laughter wind through the audience as they get it.

(To hear previous songs in this Musical Mondays series, scroll down past the comments section.)

 

The God of Love - Lyrics

 

I

He called you again tonight

ripped you from your sleep

laid that old guilt on your head

now you’re sinking deep

and you want me

to be someone

who comes around

when you’re feeling down

but, babe

 

 

CHORUS

I’m not the God of Love

I’m not the Angel of Sweet Release

tell me how can I bring you peace

 

II

I wake as you come through the door

and you drop your dress

you throw your arms around my neck

saying you’re a mess

and you want me

’cause I’m someone

who’s strong enough

when life gets tough

but, babe

 

CHORUS

 

BRIDGE

No matter how I try

you’re gonna let yourself

be ruined by that guy

it’s like banging my head

against a wall

but I keep thinking

if I just treat you right

someday you’re gonna see the light

I just hope it comes

before you fall

 

III 

He called you again tonight

ripped you from your sleep

laid that old guilt on your head

now you’re sinking deep

and you want me

to be someone

to see you through

when you’ve got the blues

but, babe

 

CHORUS

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

May 14, 2018 – Living on My Memories of You 

A salute to the life of a star on the road, going from town to town. When my agent in LA heard this song he had me rewrite it with specific images for Willie Nelson (who turned 85 the other day.) As far as I know Willie never heard it. He sings mostly his own material.

This recording is my New York and Vermont treatment of it.

 

Living on My Memories of You - Lyrics

 

 

I

Dawn is breaking cold and cloudy

the wind is in my face

I wonder if you’re sleepin’ late in Texas

with your curls all tumblin’ round you

on our pillowcase

Yes, it’s still a thrill to tour the country

and I really do love signing autographs

but the price I have to pay is getting heavy

’cause my world is an empty place

without your laugh

 

CHORUS

Sometimes when the moon comes up

I feel like breaking down

tonight I’ll be singing my songs

in another neon town

I’m living on my memories of you

I’m living on my memories of you

and I wonder if you think about me too.

 

 

II

Morning can be dreary in a diner

how I want to feel your loving hands

I think of all the nights we’ve been together

seems like we’ve been making love

since time began

when I’m behind the wheel you’re not beside me

but, honey, I hear your voice on every turn

And I want with all my heart to be back in Texas

’cause I’m past the point 

of having time to burn

 

CHORUS

INSTRUMENTAL BREAK

 

And I wonder if you think about me

if you think about me too

 

CHORUS

CHORUS

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

May 1st, 2018 – Always There 

Honest investigation reveals all that arises fades away. It is also true of relationships; our connection with lovers changes.

This song explores the actual death of a partner and how the heart continues in that brave, new (empty) world.

 

Always There - Lyrics

 

 

I

My Baby’s gone

she crossed the river

she got too tired to hang on

and I don’t know why

my baby’s gone

and I must forgive her

she got too close to the sun

and melted into sky

 

CHORUS

I got to carry on

it isn’t fair

I got to love again

but I don’t dare

it’s hard to live without her

when she’s always there

 

 

II

There for a while

we had perfection

there for a while

we had it all

then that crazy wind

changed direction

like a dying bird

she began to fall

 

CHORUS

 

BRIDGE

I mean to tell you

she was all I ever wanted

now I’m aching and I’m empty

and every day is haunted

 

III

My baby’s gone

she crossed the river

she got too tired to hang on

and I don’t know why

my baby’s gone

and I must forgive her

she got too close to the sun

and melted into sky

 

CHORUS

I got to carry on

it isn’t fair

I got to love again

but I don’t dare

it’s hard to live without her

it’s hard to live at all

it’s hard to live without her

when she’s always there

she always there

my baby’s always there

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

April 23, 2018 – Together and Free

I only saw my father cry twice. The first time was when he heard this song. Though of conservative sensibility, he grasped the injustice of economic inequality on working people. When I was finished, he said, “We have to change this system.”

I think he finally saw the man I had become.

 

Together and Free - Lyrics

 

 

            I

I’m at the shop

doing overtime

with you working nights

we’re holding the line

but the days and the weeks

they keep coming so fast

sometimes it feels

our love is coming in last

 

Chorus

 

Oh I wish the world

would go away just a little

and give us a couple of days

together and free

Oh I wish the nights

were just a little bit longer

I know our love would only get stronger

then we’d be living in a dream

 

            II

Ten years ago

we had a simpler view

a couple of kids

and a dream for two

but it seems that our life

is a crazy parade

and I look over my shoulder

at the promise we made

 

Chorus

 

Bridge

I don’t want to give up on us

‘cause honey we’ve come so far

but we need a rest

in the eye of the storm

to find out where we are

 

Chorus

Chorus

 

 

(This third verse was cut from the recording—

Marketing, you know!)

 

            III

I know we will be lovers

down through the years

but life should be more

than trouble and tears

we talk on the phone

and we meet in the hall

but lately it seems

I hardly know you at all

 

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

April 4, 2018 – Crazy Man

Many years ago, as both an aspiring songwriter and practitioner of Dharma, I composed this song of awe for my Tibetan teacher who died this day in 1987. Note: the word and image “crazy” to denote “wise, compassionate, and liberated from suffering” points out that we who are mired in illusion see depth, clarity and peace as too far from the norm to understand.

Crazy Man - Lyrics

I

he is a crazy man

he doesn’t care if he sits or stands

he can stare at an empty wall

and relate to nothing at all

and he lives out in open space

raindrops falling wash his face

the music ringing in his ears

he is here

CHORUS:

smiling

the crazy man is smiling

he knows the cost of living

and he’s not afraid to lose

freedom

he knows the peace in freedom

there’s nothing left to give him

he’s got all he can use

II

the doctors come

and standing in a row

they sympathize

but it’s all for show

and they shake their heads between them

and they go

and so he rides

on his silent train

never gives commands

or pulls the reins

nothing flashes in his brain

like suicidal thoughts or pain

CHORUS

III

oh how I wish

I was a Buddha child

and didn’t care

if I cried or smiled

I’d just be here

I’d just be here

I want to live

like a tree on land

I want to be like you

crazy man

and sit beside you in the sun

until my life is done

I want to watch the river run

until my time has come

CHORUS

© 2018 Thomas Henry Pope

Posted March 26, 2018 – Don’t Tell Anybody

When I wrote Don’t Tell Anybody twenty-five years ago this month, agents said there was no place for it in the market, that people weren’t ready for its message. Since then, perhaps a billion women have suffered harm, abuse and even death at the hands of men.

(Yes, children and men have suffered too.) Please comment if you think times have changed.

And thanks for listening.

DON'T TELL ANYBODY - Lyrics

      I

Everywhere she goes

She sees the shadow of a man

It keeps coming up behind her

A wicked reminder

One she doesn’t understand

So she stumbles through the years

A child without a choice

Afraid to remember

Compelled to surrender

To this evil inner voice

It says:

 

CHORUS:

Don’t tell anybody

If they ask you lie

Don’t you ever breathe a word

Or one of us will die

Don’t tell anybody

Or you will lose my love

All your life you better keep it

A dirty little secret

A dirty little secret

 

            II

Guilty memories

Should she have resisted?

Drowning in shame

Why is she to blame?

Funny how things gets twisted

She has a habit in her heart

Love is her addiction

She spends her days in aggression

Her nights in confession

Always true to his conviction

CHORUS

BRIDGE

She doesn’t have many choices

Holding a losing hand

She can give her love away

Or take it like a man

Don’t Tell. Don’t tell.

Never, never

Keep it buried forever

CHORUS

 

 © 2018 Thomas Henry Pope