Songs From The Great Pause

by Daniel J Townsend

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    Recorded in the Tasmanian bush with the windows open on April 30, 2020. Released the next day.
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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Midland Highway: The Musical, Songs From The Great Pause, The Podcast: A Tale of Two Cities, A Tale of Two Cities, World Until Yesterday, and Iscariot. , and , .

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1.
I feel I understand my grandmother's hands My skin is cracked and dry like hills and barren land I feel I understand her clothes for going out I feel I understand her wiping the table down Hair tied back Put away the dish rack Keep the doctor away So they say Cleanliness and godliness My grandmother believed The people she could trust were just The ones whose hands were clean A shirt that's pressed, your Sunday best A home from roof to floor No one says that any more But my hands are cracked and sore And so I work from home, buy only what I need And when I lend a hand you'll know my hands are clean And now you understand my clothes for going out And now you understand my wiping the table down Got my hair tied back Put away the dish rack Keep the virus away So they say Cleanliness and godliness My grandmother believed The people we can trust are just The ones whose hands are clean A shirt that's pressed and Sunday best A home from roof to floor No one says that any more But my hands are cracked and sore No one says that any more But my hands are cracked and sore
2.
Even if they could number the stars When they see them shining All of the drops of the rain in the sea And the sand beneath Even if they could measure the sky They could not conceive The one desire that I keep in my heart, just to see you And yet I cannot go to where you are Fortune forbids me All on my own I must choke back my sighs When I think of you When I'm alone, in secret I am wounded by The one desire that I keep in my heart, just to see you Oh how it makes me lament and sorrow How I long to see you None is like you and I love you alone Oh, what can I do? My heart is on fire but the waters are rising Hope drowns within me The one desire that I keep in my heart, just to see you Just to see you Just to see you
3.
I cried during your livestream, much to my surprise I didn't understand why but now I do Feels like everyone is hiding now and no one looks me in the eye A teacher in an empty room A teacher in an empty room On my disinfected desk, homework waits in zip-locked bags Children in their zip-locked homes, afraid of their own hands It breaks my heart to be apart from them for who knows how long A teacher in an empty room A teacher in an empty room A teacher in an empty room In the silence after the song I traveled to a foreign land where a man made holy wine And now the people hold processions in his name The streets are filled with melody and there is music everywhere Everyone has a part to play Everyone has a part to play The children clap their chubby hands, the women sing in harmony The waiters all wear high-heeled shoes and shake the tambourine My soul had found a home but I returned to where I'm from I unpacked my bags alone I unpacked my bags alone I unpacked my bags alone In the silence after the song I cried during your livestream in the quiet of my home And I wondered if you felt it too? A silence where applause should be, empty desks in rows A singer in an empty room A singer in an empty room God damn the greedy hands of grief and damn the ghosts of unbelief I wanna sing a song for everyone who is sitting up but still asleep We are quiet as my classroom but one day we'll sing it strong For now, I'm crying with my screen I'm crying with my screen I'm crying with my screen In the silence after the song
4.
1918 in the fall She was only three years old A little girl with a big job to do; Her brother sick in bed A fever in his head Mum and Dad were sick in their beds too In the graveyard of the town Baby brother in the ground Born and died before he saw the day In their Philadelphia home Little nurse lights up the stove Been this way since the day of the parade Barely one month had passed Since in the navy yard A ship had come from Boston, bound for war And in less than fourteen days Six hundred soldiers lay In agony in the hospital ward Though the men were young and healthy They were all losing the fight Coughing til their faces turned to grey But the politicians said "Let them die in their beds What this city needs today is a parade." September 28, It was a grandiose display The people came together for the day There were war bonds to sell So nobody would dare tell Two hundred thousand folks to stay away So everybody came And by the second day A hundred folks were lying in their graves And in the month ahead Twelve thousand folks were dead What a price to pay for a parade 1918 in the fall She was only three years old A little girl with fever in her veins Her brother healthy now Mum and Dad just pacing around The family's little nurse in burning pain In the graveyard of the town Her father lay her down Coughing as his aching hands did shake At home, her mother mourned She'd been forced to stay indoors What a price to pay for a parade What a price to pay for a parade
5.
Slowly, you've become the kind of guy Who always knows just what to say Slowly, as if you've lived this life before Or has it always been this way? Had I known it from the start? Your perfectly curated heart All the horses and all the men will find a love in pieces Slowly, you've become so far away Two hands upon a face just keeping time Slowly, like the first time love is made Horses and the right of kings divine We walked beneath the evergreens Our minds meandered by the stream I feel it now and cannot breathe: I find a love in a pieces How quickly you've become unkind You always know just what to write Quickly, you put the words into my mind A part of you has died Quickly, for fear of being seen Hiding among the evergreens I feel it now and cannot breathe: I find a love in pieces I find a love in pieces I find a love in pieces I find a love in pieces
6.
I know you feel lost, cold and alone Maybe you think that you cannot go on I know you feel that you're too far gone Don't you stop now, look how far you've come I know you feel that there's no way back But you're doing better than you ever have You're more brave than you know More strong than you see Don't you stop now Take one step and breathe You know you can do this, you gotta dig deep You're gonna make it, you gotta make your own peace There's hope for tomorrow so go out and find it The sun also rises and the dark is a lie I know you feel that there's no way back But you're doing better than you ever have You're more brave than you know More strong than you see Don't you stop now Take one step and breathe

about

In 2020 a global pandemic caused the world to stop. Some people called this time The Great Pause. Public gatherings ceased, businesses collapsed, travel was restricted and only "essential" services were permitted. Everyone else was told to go home and stay there.

Produced in isolated collaboration, Songs From The Great Pause is a record of this time.

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released May 1, 2020

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Daniel J Townsend TAS, Australia

"A head full of stories, a soul old enough to have lived them, and a heart young enough to believe in their power to move us."

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