All You Need Is Love

Paul McCartney is joined here by Queen, Brian Wilson, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Tony Bennett, Ozzy Osbourne, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bruce Hornsby, and a full orchestra to perform All You Need Is Love. This version also interpolates She Loves You and the British national anthem (replacing the French national anthem from the original). The lyrics are inimitably John Lennon’s:

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game

It’s easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time

It’s easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be

It’s easy
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need


They don’t write ’em like this anymore. Probably for good reason, but that doesn’t take anything away from the genius behind this piece of music from the 1630s. It was written for a four-person choir and a five-person choir to sing together. At one time it was an offense punishable by excommunication to transcribe it or to perform it outside of certain ceremonies. There’s a particular segment of harmony that is almost frightening in its polyphony. It happens at about 1:37 in this clip of the Kings College Choir from Cambridge.

The earliest written records of polyphony in Western music date to approximately 900 AD. The words below are from the English translation of Psalm 51 from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

Have mercy upon me, O God, after Thy great goodness
According to the multitude of Thy mercies do away mine offenses.
Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my faults: and my sin is ever before me.
Against Thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified in Thy saying, and clear when Thou art judged.
Behold, I was shapen in wickedness: and in sin hath my mother conceived me.
But lo, Thou requirest truth in the inward parts: and shalt make me to understand wisdom secretly.
Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness: that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.
Turn Thy face from my sins: and put out all my misdeeds.
Make me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence: and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
O give me the comfort of Thy help again: and stablish me with Thy free Spirit.
Then shall I teach Thy ways unto the wicked: and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, Thou that art the God of my health: and my tongue shall sing of Thy righteousness.
Thou shalt open my lips, O Lord: and my mouth shall shew Thy praise.
For Thou desirest no sacrifice, else would I give it Thee: but Thou delightest not in burnt-offerings.
The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, shalt Thou not despise.
O be favorable and gracious unto Sion: build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifice of righteousness, with the burnt-offerings and oblations: then shall they offer young bullocks upon Thine altar.

Memorial Day – In Flanders Fields

John McCrae

This Memorial Day I’d like to share a poem written in remembrance of a fallen soldier.

John McCrae was a Canadian doctor who also fancied himself a bit of a poet. On May 3, 1915 the 42 year old presided over the funeral of a friend who had died at the Second Battle of Ypres, in which they’d fought together.

After the services he wrote the poem In Flanders Fields, reproduced below in the doctors own handwriting.

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
 Loved and were loved, and now we lie
 In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lost and Found

Hot off the presses (and computer screen) comes my contemporary novel of love Lost and Found.

“It was a nightmare. It had to be. What else could it be?

Alan’s body was broken and bloody. The bones that hadn’t been ripped from his skeleton were snapped like twigs. Something large, machine or animal, had attacked and left him completely powerless to defend himself. There was so much blood in his mouth that he felt like he was drinking wine every time he swallowed.
The abyss was opening up again. He could feel the black emptiness widening beneath him, swallowing him up and carrying him down to that place where the tears never stop, where they get drowned out by the crushing weight of inescapable pain. He remembered this distinctive hopelessness from the days of his parents’ divorce.
His brain retreated from the pain. It was useless trying to convince him that everything was going to be alright, so it constructed fantasies from memory. It fed him sex in large, wet doses that turned the soreness of his muscles into a pleasurable exhaustion.For a few fleeting moments Alan was able to convince himself that he wasn’t lying battered on Lexington Avenue, or in a hospital bed. Instead, he was in his own bed, making love to the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. A strange and exotic woman, so unlike any other he’d met that he barely recognized her as one of his own kind.
She wanted to have a baby with him. He couldn’t let that happen. Not in this world. Not with all the horrors that would inevitably be inflicted on his child. What kind of despicable thing was that to do to his own flesh and blood? Alan didn’t know that it was already too late. The work of creation had begun. A baby was coming as inevitably as the rising sun.”

Lost and Found is now available for download in various formats from Smashwords.