From the recording Traces

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For Charles Darwin, on the death of his 10 year old daughter Annie. With thanks for a big beautiful idea. Written by email and mp3 with Canadian writer Dave Gunning, with whom I participated in the “Coming Home” song-writing residency at Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton in 2008. I conceived the idea for the lyric months later ahead of the Darwin Song Project. Dave recorded his own version of the song as the title track of his 2010 CD.



There is thunder on the skyline
And it tears her breath away
Like the twilight steals the day

A father’s kind hand could not command her
To return to him once more
Like a soldier from the war

We’re all leaving
Even the ones who stay behind
We’re all leaving
in our own time

Each night surrenders to a morning
And beneath the April skies
He can hear an endless cry
On smiling fields there's a battle raging
And for every bloom he knows
Another flower never grows

And he has no Ark to bear him from this flood
Just a broken vessel wrought in flesh and blood
And though the riptides pull him under
He will not cease to wonder
At the beauty
The beauty
The beauty
The beauty

He takes her mother to the church door
And while she prays for what will come
He walks those woods alone

And there he builds his own cathedrals
And on every whirring wing
He can hear the whole world sing