Chosen by Christopher Fulkerson
for use in the cycle for men's vocal sextet (AATTBB)
CF's Composition Desk

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There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief,
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.
Businessmen they drink my wine, Plowman dig my earth.
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

No reason to get excited, the thief he kindly spoke,
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate.
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants too.
Outside in the cold distance, a wildcat did growl.
Two riders were approaching, and the wind began to howl.
           - All Along the Watchtower, by Bob Dylan

*            *            *

Proverbs for Paranoids, One: You may never get to touch the Master, but you can tickle his creatures.
           - From Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon

*            *            *

Whatever rises, rises, rising rising, in the rising rising, rising liberates in the rising, therefore: gone!
           - The Mantra of Padmasambhava, from the Tibetan Buddhist Canon

*            *            *

Lay Down, lay down, lay it all down
Let your white bird smile up to the ones who stand and frown.
1. We were so close there was no room
We bled inside each other’s wounds
We all had caught the same disease
We all sang the songs of peace.      Refrain
2. So raise the candles high
And if you don’t we could stay black against the night.
So raise them high again
And if you do we could stay dry against the rain.     Refrain
Repeat Verse One
Some came to sing, some came to pray
Some came to keep the night away.
            - Lay Down [Candles in the Rain] by Melanie Safka

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Proverbs for Paranoids, Two: The innocence of the creatures is in inverse proportion to the immortality of the master.            
            - From Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon

*            *            *

Waves of violet go crashing and laughing
Rainbow-winged singing birds fly ‘round the sun
Sunbells rain down in a liquid profusion
mermaids on porpoises draw up the dawn

What’s become of the baby This cold December morn?

Songbirds frozen in their flight
Drifting to the earth remnant of forgotten dreaming
Calling… answer comes there none
Go to sleep, you child dream of never-ending always

Panes of crystal, eyes sparkle like waterfalls
Lighting the polished ice-caverns of Kahn
But where in the looking-glass fields of illusion
Wandered the child who was perfect as dawn?

What’s become of the baby This cold December morn?

Racing rhythms of the sun
All the earth revolves captured in the eye of Odin
Allah pray where are you now?
All Mohammed’s men blinded by the sparkling water

Sheherazade gathering stories to tell
From primal gold fantasy petals that fall
But where is the child who played with the sun chimes
And chased the cloud sheep to the regions of rhyme?

Stranded cries the south wind lost in the regions of lead
Shackled by chains of illusion delusions of living and dead.

What’s become of the baby This cold December morning?
           - What’s Become of the Baby, by Robert Hunter

*            *            *

Rising liberates in the rising: therefore: gone!
           - From the Mantra of Padmasambhava

Therefore: Gone, gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond, fruition, so be it!
           - Mantra of the Heart Sutra, from the Tibetan Buddhist Canon

*            *            *

Proverbs for Paranoids, Three: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.
           - From Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon

*            *            *

Stones they cast upon Stephen, and then invoking God the Lord they said
Not to charge them with this transgression.
The stones that rained on him, pleasant they were.
Of his followers all are souls of justice.
So did cling this soul of mine to thee.
This the body of mine, stoned it was for you Lord my God.
Stephen saw the heavens opened, he saw and entered in.
Happy man, to whom the heavens lay open.
Behold I see Heaven is open
And Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
And Stephen full of faith and power
Performed great miracles and signs among the people.
They buried Stephen, men who feared God,
And made a great wailing over him.
          - The Proper of Saint Stephen’s Day, December 26

*            *            *

Saint Stephen with a rose,
In and out of the garden he goes.
Country garden in the wind and the rain;
Wherever he goes the people all complain.                          

Stephen prosper in his time
Well he may and he may decline.
Did it matter? Does it now?
Stephen would answer if he only knew how.                       

Wishing well with a golden bell;
Bucket hanging clear to hell.                                                           
Hell halfway ‘twixt now and then,                                                           
Stephen fill it up and lower down and lower down again.

Ladyfinger dipped in moonlight,
Writing, “what for?” across the morning sky.
Sunlight splatters dawn with answers.
Darkness shrugs and bids the day goodbye.

Speeding arrow, sharp and narrow,
What a lot of fleeting matters you have spurned.
Several seasons with their treasons
Wrap the babe in scarlet covers, call it your own.

Did he doubt or did he try?
Answers aplenty in the bye and bye.
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills;
One man gathers what another man spills.

Saint Stephen will remain;
All he’s lost he shall regain.
Seashore washed by the suds and the foam,
Been there so long he’s got to calling it home.

Fortune comes a crawlin’, calliope woman                       
Spinning that curious sense of your own.
Can you answer? Yes I can.
But what would be the answer to the answer man?

High green chilly winds and windy vines in loops,
Around the twisted shafts of lavender, they’re crawling to the sun.

Wonder who will water all the children of the garden
When they sigh about the barren lack of rain and droop so hungry ‘neath the sky?

Underfoot the ground is patched with climbing arms of ivy
Wrapped around the manzanita, stark and shiny in the breeze.

William Tell has stretched his bow ‘till it won’t go no furthermore
And/or it may require a change that hasn’t come before.

           - St. Stephen, by Robert Hunter


Note Concerning Copyright: Robert Hunter, of the Grateful Dead, has given his written permission for the use of his work in these compositions. Repeated reasonable attempts have been made to cantact the authors of ALL the other texts used here (except of the Roman Catholic Office of St. Stephen and the Tibetan Buddhist mantras, which are all in the public domain), in order to secure permission for their use, but in no instance would those other persons or their agents respond to letters. Should these authors or their official agents contact me, immediate response will be made to come to an agreement. No illegal exploitation of any author's copywritten work, or disrespect to said authors, has been intended. Due credit is always given to known authors. To date, no profit whatsoever has been made with these compositions.