Peter Hammill

Faint Heart and the Sermon

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With my face drained of colour
And my brain of blood
Like Billy Budd
I'm lashed to the grating,
With senses growing duller
And with quaking heart
I make a start
At temperature equating
And my lungs suck useless air

Like paraplegic dancers
In format
Ion team
My understanding seems
Hidebound in it's movements,
Contemplating answers
That could break my bonds
To be half wrong
Would be, in me, improvement
But my comprehensive faculties are impaired

And it seems absurd, but now all I've heard
Fades in empty words and is worthless
As the Human Laugh rocks the cenotaph
But the joke is half-true, and mirthless

Trying to trace a reason
From the spinning words
But all I've heard
Seem at odds with their meanings,
Phonetically pleasing
But delivered in such haste
That in their place
My mind commences screaming

On the verge of belief I crash onto the reef
And a cynical thief steals my senses,
So I cling to the pew with dimensions askew,
And recognition refuses present tenses

All the lives of the saints demonstrate that my faint
Is a minor complaint, but the end is
Nowhere in sight,
Why can't I find me a way to go?
I don't want to die in the nave,
But I know it may be with me some day
So I've got to find a way I can save up
My energies, and find a cause to pray
So something for something
To which I can give my creed
I'd gladly succumb to the wave,
If I thought the water taught a way to light,
I'd gladly succumb, I'm not brave,
And it's easy to believe what the preacher says
Except for the conflict raging between my head
And my brain

I don't want to die, but just the same
Some day
Waiting for that moment
That I know will come
When I'll have to run
And find another sermon
Every man and Norman
And the talking priest
Still, I am at least
Holding all the doors open
Inside me all outside is shared
As the cracked bells peel, it all seems unreal
But the seventh seal stays unbroken
And the Offertory plate tenders no escape
Still I refuse to scrape up a token
Of esteem for these false
Alleyways of the course
I must try to divorce sense from sensing

Tell me again,
Tell me the way to go
So when I talk to myself
Although I take good care to listen
My heart grows ever more faint
There's something missing?


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