Songs. What triggers the machinery? External influence or eternal urge? Maybe the imminent collapse of the present system to be superseded by an even more ingenious form of greed? Maybe a fine silver chain resting on the suprasternal notch? Maybe an image, unbidden, unclear even:

'Philip Roth sifting fine ash in the heat, I'm walking down 42nd street.'

Best not dwell on it, asking for trouble. Always shifting. A confluence. Salt and fresh water. The head and the heart.

Head + heart = soul

If we could make a prism of ourselves. The diffused colours that are pooling on the kitchen floor represent what we have gathered along the way, what we have observed and absorbed. Reverse the normal workings of said prism. Feed the colours into our soul/brain/imagination and the resulting white light is the song.

Einstein viewed art as:
'Forms whose connections are not perceptible to the conscious mind.'  

Welcome to Seeing Things.

Track 1: To Begin  

The title is taken from the opening sequence of Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood.

'To begin at the beginning, it is Spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible black... you alone can hear the invisible starfall.'

And in the pre-dawn, there is a moment when the path becomes clear and the whole of existence one perfect possibility.  

This song contains two themes. First the creative process and second the existence of God, or more accurately how we arrive at our own understanding of God.  That each person becomes their own magisterium.

Track 2: Esplendido Corazón  

When I began to write his song the ferryboat in question was heading in the direction of the open sea.  Though as the song unfolded I found that this was a position (direction) that I could not support and the boat turned around and headed back to shore.  

'What guaranteed us that quick response and buoyancy and swim kept me in agony.'
We do fare most precariously.
'Half o'er, half o'er to Aberdour it's fifty fathoms deep.'
But love, as we know is no trivial force.

Many thanks to Isabelle Balcells for providing the Spanish.

Track 3: Poor Boys  

And they all marched back to the Palatine hill for their day in the sun.  Bread spilled from the panniers and the circus was in town. The poor boys sweated and crawled down the malls, swallowing the varian disaster as they passed through the triumphal arch. Men moved closer to women and women moved closer to men amid the occasion. And surely the sacrifice was not in vain? And surely De Valera did some good? I watch it all from a window in the Gresham hotel, keeping a distance that was not mine in the making. Is that Bloom over there in the portico of the Carlton Cinema?  

'How can people aim guns at each other, sometimes they go off, poor kids.'

Track 4: I'm Going Now

Began playfully at the piano as a crooked valediction. The weight of the world and what kind of gobshites were they anyway etc. I played it and enjoyed it as a punchline initially. But the song insisted on more than that, put it's foot in the door so to speak and the verses came with ease. It started with a shudder of disgust but then began to take on other forms.

The beautiful poem of Raymond Carver came:  

'And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.  
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved,
To feel myself beloved on the earth.'

Track 5: Seeing Things

In times of stress, threat or a feeling of imminent danger the mind can be quickened into a focus on that which is most important. It is not a logical process, but the images rush forward unbidden. This is an unstraightforward love song, maybe they all are. I love my country, I love our 'bare, bowed, numbered heads'. I don't love flying but it is miraculous and sure 'what can't be cured Love, must be indured Love'. I use the occasions to my advantage, to reassess the loveliness of the western cape shiraz in the plastic quarter bottle and to write. 'Rambling Irishman' was written on a flight to America last year which may have contributed to its resigned cadence. I squeeze my eyes shut, wipe the sweat from my palms and get going.

 In his theory of negative capability John Keats mentions:

'Being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason'.

I leave that for the moment as an accurate précis of this song.

Track 6: I Wish I Was On A Train

So I do.

Track 7: New York City

I was there. I remember clearly looking at that beautiful beacon of a city from the Philadelpia train on Sunday the 9th of September. It was a perfect day and I had my walkman filled with Paul Robeson. As it began to glint in the distance Paul was singing 'There is a balm in Gilead' and I knew there was good to be had. Many months after the event the line 'Philip Roth sifting fine ash in the heat' came to me and the song began. This could be a result of reading 'I married a communist' and remembering Robeson's singing on that day and the desire to reclaim the great city for myself, why not?

'There is a balm in Gilead
To make the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead
To heal the sin-sick soul'

Track 8: I Saw The Rose

'Cuando yo me muera
enterradme con mi guitarra
bajo la arena'

A wild winters night in Eamon Dick's house after a Pyros concert and we always made maximum use of what we had. Cloven hooves sheltered in the hedgerows and the wind screamed through the wires.  It's half four in the morning and inside the house the kitchen is alive and 'magic is afoot'. I'm playing 'One more cup of coffee' on mi guitarra. The sight of a woman dancing makes me want to sing.

'The weeping of the guitar begins.
The goblets of dawn are smashed.
The weeping of the guitar begins.
Useless to silence it.'

Track 9: Rambling Irishman

'I am a rambling Irishman in Ulster I was born.'

Track 10: Red Sun

We began the album with an aubade and we finish with a serenade. Can I have the warmth of your hand for just a minute more. Moments of bliss. Moments like this. And here we are back in the place of unknowing.  

'It is difficult/
to get the news from poems/
yet men die miserably everyday/
for lack/
of what is found there.'

Listen to 2 tracks here
'Seeing Things' on YouTube
'Seeing Things' on SoundCloud