Songs from Bruce - 2018


The Physician   c.31 May-2 June - This song kept recurring to me on these days. It had a strange attraction. I couldn’t think why I hadn’t realised how good it was before. It never occurred to me to say: “Bruce, let’s go to the doctor’s today.”

I’m an Old Cowhand   2 June - It was a couple of miles walk to the bus stop. Feeling so sad, I searched for something positive to avoid collapsing: he died quickly; doing what he loved. And this incongruous song came into my head with its ‘yippi-i-o’.

On the Edge of Something   8 June - In Bruce’s flat, going through his CDs with Linda and wondering what favourite song we might play at his funeral. We decided to ask his music group. Before we could do so, and that same day, a text message came from them: This is Bruce’s favourite song.

The Nearness of You   4 July - In Weybridge with Linda, going though Bruce’s things, and feeling the atmosphere heavy with emotion. Leaving a cafe, I was stopped by an unusual song. I knew the tune and the singer was Ella, but what was the title?... It came a couple of hours later.

Let There Be Love   6 July - On a long walk to the Building Society, reflecting on admin and returning a missed call for mending and joining, this song arrived.                It Must Be Love, Love, Love   Next day I had forgotten the title and only this would come to mind.                                                                                                                                    The Twelfth of Never   Finally this song from 1957 left no more to be said.

Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones   9 August - This hymn came after my first dream of Bruce. The only line I remembered was: ‘O friends in gladness let us sing’. (No suitable recording yet; these are nearest:  harpsolo priest)

Let It Be Me  21 September - We had lunch in The Ship to commemorate Bruce’s visits and the ship symbol that had appeared in the church, the pub, the bus stop. Bruce’s invitation to visit when his flat was ‘ship-shape’ and Linda’s dreams of Bruce. She touched me with her recollection of how, when they were all together in India, Bruce would say, We must call Ian now.  I had recently been feeling I was losing some connection with Bruce from passing time and busy-ness of work, but today brought it all back - sad and happy together. As I walked up the hill in the darkening evening from the train to the bus station, carrying my bin bag of Bruce’s clothes, a song came into my head with just the words: ‘now and forever, let there be love’. I was surprised ‘let there be love’ should appear in two songs but could think of no other words for it. It’s also sung by The Weybridge Male Voice Choir.

So Much Suffering in the World  2 December - I was finishing an email to a friend of Bruce’s. I wrote of Bruce, and messages, and reading The Bridge of San Luis Rey with its ending that the only excuse for ‘so much suffering in the world’ was love. At that moment a song began playing from Bruce’s phone - set to random - called ‘So Much Trouble in the World’. I felt immediately it was a message. What exactly, I wasn’t sure. But on reflection, it is surely again the supreme importance and power of love.

There Comes a Time  31 December - It was 11.00 pm and I was writing reflections on the last moments of 2018, the last moments I could still say: Bruce was alive this year. I remembered our last meeting in May. Then the call from the hospital doctor. “And then crash, bang, wallop as the world silently broke into pieces all around.” Another para, and I decided to turn on Bruce’s phone, and wondered what the first song might be. In the third line came the words: “When your world comes crashing down”. The message seems to be an offer or promise of help.

------------------------------------------------ Lyrics--------------------------------------------

The Physician - more for the title than lyric.

I’m an Old Cowhand - humorous lyric, but I think the ‘yippi-i-o’ (I couldn’t sing) answered the call for positivity.

On the Edge of Something - Such a powerful lyric by Snowy White. Nadielle says Bruce played it every time she visited. Seems like a message, personal and universal:  We’re on the edge of something, time is flying / So eat the apple, drink the wine, it’s ok, the devil’s buying / Now we’re supposed to change the world, but I can’t even change myself / Those things about me I despise, I keep away from prying eyes. // There’s things that catch you in a mess, mostly the pleasures of the flesh / In the hustle of the street, that’s where they sweep you of your feet / I’m in my private hell, I guess I built my cage too well // It’s a crazy kind of world we are living in / We all twist and turn, against the boundaries of sin / But if we want to cross that line, all we got to do is find / Someone to love // This is a crazy kind of life, can be hard to see it through / You can satisfy your appetite, but you got to keep it cool / If we all want to survive, we just got to find / Someone to love // Everybody needs someone to love / Everybody needs someone to love / Everybody needs someone to love /

The Nearness of You - by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington. Here again the title is the main thing, but the words drive it home: It’s not the pale moon that excites me / That thrills and delights me, oh no / It’s just the nearness of you...

Let There Be Love - this is practically a commandment from Ian Grant and Lionel Rand . Let there be you / Let there be me / Let there be oysters / Under the sea // Let there be wind / And occasional rain / Chilli Con Carne / Sparkling champagne // Let there be birds / To sing in the trees / Someone to bless me / Whenever I sneeze // Let there be cuckoos / A lark and a dove / And most of all, please / Let there be love.

It Must Be Love, Love, Love - by Labi Siffri. I never thought I’d miss you, half as much as I do / And I never thought I’d feel this way, they way that I feel about you // As soon as I wake up, any night, any day / I know that it’s you I need to take the blues away // It must be love, love, love / It must be love, love, love / Nothing more, nothing less, love is the best /// How can it be that we can say so much without words / Bless you and bless me baby, bless the bees and the birds // I’ve got to be near you, every night, every day / I couldn’t be happy, baby, any other way // It must be love, love, love / It must be love, love, love / Nothing more, nothing less, love is the best.

The Twelfth of Never by Jerry Livingstone and Paul Webster and recorded in 1957, when Bruce was born: You ask how much I need you, must I explain? / I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain / You ask how long I’ll love you, I’ll tell you true / Until the Twelfth of Never, I’ll still be loving you // Hold me close, never let me go / Hold me close, melt my heart like April snow // I’ll love you ‘til the bluebells forget to bloom / I’ll love you ‘til the clover has lost it’s perfume / I’ll love you till the poets run out of rhyme / Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a long, long time / Until the Twelfth of Never and that’s a long, long time.

Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones  Dream: There is a funeral service in a church. I am the last one (or among them) to enter. In the first section of pews, which are full, is Mum. I think I shouldn’t look at her lest I smile, which might seem inappropriate, but I do and smile. Someone about the age of my nephew (21 last week) is standing at the front of the second section, at the wall side of the first pew there. He is standing and observing - everyone else is sitting. Bruce is sitting at the other end of that first, long pew in the second section, next to the central aisle. His pew is full and the one behind it nearly full. I had been thinking of going to empty rows at the back, but when I see him I sit directly behind him, thinking he won’t mind my singing. He is looking straight ahead and doesn’t see me. Then I awake and in my head there is a hymn that starts, ‘O friends in gladness let us sing’.

Let It Be Me  by Gilbert Bécaud and Pierre Delanoë: I bless the day I found you/I want to stay around you/And so I beg you/ Let it be me// Don’t take this heaven from me/If you must cling to someone/Now and forever, let it be me// Each time we meet, love/I find complete love/Without your sweet love what would life be?// So never leave me lonely/Tell me you’ll love me only//And that you’ll always, let it be me.

So Much Trouble in the World  by Bob Marley: So Much Trouble in the World/ So Much Trouble in the World// Bless my eyes this morning/ Jah sun is on the rise once again/The way earthly things are going/Anything can happen// You see men sailing on their ego trips/ Blast off on their spaceships/ Million miles from reality/ No care for you, no care for me//  So much trouble in the world/So Much Trouble in the World/ All you’ve got to do is give a little/Give a little/Give a little/ One more time yeah! (give a little)/Yeah! (give a little) yeah! (give a little) yeah!// So you think you’ve found the solution/But it’s just another illusion/So before you check out this tide/Don’t leave another cornerstone standing/We’ve got to face the day/Ooh we come what may/We the street people talking/ Yeah, we the street people struggling// Now they are sitting on a time bomb (bomb, bomb)/Now I know the time has come (bomb, bomb)/What goes on up is coming down (bomb, bomb)/Goes around and comes around (bomb, bomb)// So Much Trouble in the World/ So Much Trouble in the World/So Much Trouble in the World/There is so much trouble...

There Comes a Time  by Jorgen Elofsson & Liz Rodrigues:  Let me be your soldier/I’ll stand up for you/When the world comes crashing down/I’ll be the one to hold you/Let me be your soldier/I’ll fight the fight for you/When you’re up against the wall/I will pull you through//  There comes a time/In everybody’s life/When alone is not enough/To make things right/There comes a time/When we need to ask for help/When you’re lost and just not strong enough/To make it through the night/When your love is on the front line// Let me be your soldier/I’ll take the pain for you/When no one else is on your side/I’ll defend you/Let me be your soldier/ I’ll carry the cross for you/When you’re down and on your knees/I’ll protect you//There comes a time/...rpt

Sat 2nd June
I received the phone call about 3.45 pm. Cried. Prayed. Phoned Linda. Googled directions to KC Hospital. Left them behind. Walked to the wrong bus stop. Walked to the right one. Asked a passenger where to get off. Entered the room where he lay, on his back, head half-turned to the side.
I believe these songs came to me from Bruce