The Far-Seeing Land

  • Chapel St Leonards
  • Market Rasen
  • Lincoln Cathedral
  • Grimsby Marsh
  • Lutton
  • Dawsmere Churchyard

  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Soloist(s): Tenor
  • Instrumentation: Piano
  • Published by: Hawes Music

A song-cycle of six songs for tenor and piano depicting East Lincolnshire in the UK.

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I. CHAPEL ST. LEONARDS

The little boy stands on his castle of sand,
and gazes across the far seeing land.
The marram grass armies below him snake,
and crashing behind, brown sea horses break.

He looks and he sees beyond and beyond,
the marsh and the meadow, his house and beyond
the red-roofed church, the scots-pine-hid farm,
beyond where the London train whistle alarms.

Further, higher, than a fairy tale cloud
he sees beyond villages, woods and the towns –
where the lessening spires meet the wide wold green,
and earth touches sky in a place unseen.

Above him, around him, he’s crowned with the sky,
and over his shoulders the grey clouds fly;
with his heart in the stars and his feet in the sand,
forever a king of the far-seeing land.

II. MARKET RASEN

Willingham’s sand breaks the wide wolds’ wave.
Where the forest greens blue on Hamilton Hill.
Drenched in scents of fresh cut pine,
he seeks her heart in cow brown eyes.
His whole being yearns an answer in dreams;
a thousand tomorrows in places unseen.

Five winters go. Six summers come.
Cobblestoned Saturday market hums.
The sand stone porch frames man and wife.
Crowned King and Queen of each others’ life.
An end, a beginning, another beyond;
wild bells echo the far-seeing land.

III. LINCOLN CATHEDRAL

In
the swan man’s
soaring song of
stone, the twin
tower exultet of
wold and fen.
Whose rose eye
searches far and near
colouring sunrises
of everymans’ year.
Under vaulted sky
which eternity spans
spangled with sound only
heaven can own.

Here
a man kneels to
take in his hands
the fisherman’s keys
of the kingdom
that stands every tide.
With his heart in the
stars and his feet
in the sand he is
ordained a dreamer,
a gazer, a bringer to
light, of treasure
hidden beyond each
every days’ sight.

IV. WEST MARSH, GRIMSBY

The tide had turned on Gilbey Road.
The swing bridge stuck,
split the silent dock.
Terraced wave upon wave
break upon the blue buses
ploughing streets beyond
Humbers’ strand.
Pyewipe’s smoke and
Laporte’s cloud, scent the
fluorescent rain falling
from the starless dark.

Now a father of double kind;
with little boys, new worlds to see.
Schooled in love by The King of Love;
his heart is woven through
a thousand thresholds.
A bearer of words
to silent firesides,
seeing beyond back doors
the house with many rooms.

Dreaming other dreams,
fearing the fright of those
whose life is sand.
Knowing the crown of love
has many piercing points;
a compass of light
in the far-seeing
daylight dark.

V. LUTTON MARSH

Stammering sparrows cannot stir
the sleeping house.
Little ones dream still, safe in the
warming dawn.
He stands alone at the window and gazes beyond at
strawberry pullers bent tall on the
far-seeing land,
the sun stealing the ripeness from
under their hands.
Beyond, the dyke squared
table cloth spreads the
ripening corn and flowering rape
out to Guy’s Head.
Where the lighthouses wag fingers
at the Nene’s brown tide.

His heart is caught again with
the strongest pulse;
the silent still rhythm is sun, sea and soil,
in the sweet smell of earth drenched
in glittering dew,
In the sunlight crowning his
sleeping wife’s hair.
In the gift of each morning’s
Te Deum his whole being sings,
Thou art God and we praise you! Amen.

VI. GEDNEY DAWSMERE CHURCHYARD

Where earth and sky mingle
in the cup of The Wash;
where the curlew’s cry
fills the empty sky.

Neath the pall of cloud
on an August day;
the priest and the people
wait by a grave.

The low brick church
tolls its one dull bell;
the coffin rests gently
in earth’s cockleshells.

The age of the man
who lies in the grave,
is the same as the man
who stands up and prays.

One man was drowned
in a fenland drain;
one seeks to lose
what other man save.

The priest at the parting
lifts high his hand,
and blesses by shadow
the far-seeing land.

 

Words: Andrew Hawes (1954-   )

2016-11-24T15:28:26+00:00