World Until Yesterday

by Daniel J Townsend

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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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Grey dawn on the sand hills, the night wind has drifted All night from the rollers a scent of the sea With the dawn the grey fog his battalion has lifted At the call of the morning they scatter and flee. Like mariners calling the roll of their number The seafowl put out to the infinite deep And far overhead, sinking softly to slumber Worn out by their watching, the stars fall asleep. To eastward where resteth the dome of the skies on The sea line stirs softly the curtain of night And far from behind the enshrouded horizon Comes the voice of a god saying, "Let there be light." And lo, there is light! Evanescent and tender, It glows ruby-red where 'twas now ashen grey; And purple and scarlet and gold in its splendour - Behold, 'tis that marvel, the birth of a day! © A B Paterson
Long time ago, my father say, When every night was just the same Sister moon would wax and wane Down at the bay Down at the bay Down at Musselroe Bay Then one time the strange man came Took a fish to use for bait Took a seal, its skin for sale Many moons did pass away Til strange man came in the light of day With nets and traps which he did lay With the morning sun’s new rays He offered tea and flour for trade He asked my mother’s hand to take But then he took and he did not pay Then he put our legs into chains Then on the ground my brother lay We blacked his house with the golden flame We made the red flow from his veins We took his life and took the blame
Burning 02:46
When I left my home it was burning, burning When I left this world I was burning
Just like anyone, I didn’t choose to be here But here I stand and here they’ll bury me These rumours of others spook like shadows ’neath this tree But here I stand and here they’ll bury me Hey, stranger Ain’t you got some place to be? Step lightly here or, better still, kindly disappear Hey, stranger Seems this place has chosen me So step lightly here or kindly disappear They say we’re unjustified But round here it’s about surviving I keep my lover’s name inside of me I keep her memory Far away they say “forgive” But round here we’re just trying to live Building shelter, missing sleep With all the good ones who believe This winter chill it kills my bones And this heart has found its own way home When suddenly you’re staring back at me But I didn’t choose to be here So before they lay me low Here we stand Here we stand
King Billy 04:12
King Billy, get your head I won’t get my head I have become the air King Billy, get your hands I won’t get my hands I have become the land King Billy, get your feet I won’t get my feet I have become the trees A king without a kingdom and a kid without a name
Sixteen souls on Elizabeth Street Ancient dirt Naked feet Bullet wounds Memories A thousand souls on either side Watch the parade Eyes open wide Why had they been so terrified? Sixteen souls
You should have seen this place Twenty years ago Wild beasts in iron cages Twenty years ago And all over the world The people used to know Remember when Mary was here? Take your leopard for a walk upon the lawn Feed the lions til the visitors are gone See the tiger wolf take in a lazy yawn Take your leopard on the lawn But when the hard times come, The animals get old The sky is on fire all day The nights are freezing cold And in the morning I just dig another hole But when I lay those bodies down I didn’t know
One, two, three little ones, a fourth on the way When he got his injury, everything changed He paced the house just like a bear in a rage One, two, three little ones, a fourth on the way The Cruiser, the Commodore and the V8 Rusted and seized over old oil stains Ghosts in the garage, dreams in the driveway One, two, three little ones, a fourth on the way Three children tumble to the street now to play She takes a job up at the local takeaway Up half the night, on her feet all the day One, two, three little ones, a fourth on the way Her belly tightens in that familiar way Leans on the drinks fridge and breathes through the pain It could be tomorrow or two months away One, two, three little ones, a fourth on the way Jim Beam and Coca-Cola and video games Cigarette glows as he stares into space Kids eating fish and chips at the neighbours’ place One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight paper plates Sky’s getting dark as she opens the gate Holes in her soles, tired lines on her face Nobody told her life could be this way She turns the front door handle He does the same
The baby never got to see the sunshine She lived til she was just an hour old You don’t say a word The doctors placed her in a little box And left her on her own there in the cold You don’t say a word And even though she tried My mother never got to say hello or goodbye You turn your eyes, look outside You change your mind You don’t say a word My mother came back home, her tummy empty Just her and Pa in the car on their own You don’t say a word Mum lay down and Dad just watched the telly And he would not let us pick up the phone You wonder why You run and hide You don’t say a word I lay awake in bed one summer evening I heard Mum in the kitchen start to cry I knew her hands were wrinkling in the sink I knew she’d use her sleeve to dry her eyes In the lounge I heard my Dad get from his chair I heard Mum’s voice all shaky through a smile I knew her head was resting on his chest I knew that he was holding her so tight
I filled my suitcase with treasures Then rowed my boat into the sea I didn’t know what I’d see Castles of clouds Towers of power Autumn trees grieving the glow of the sun Vagabond clowns Pounding pavement with tamers of lions and liars And lovers of none You gotta row, row, row Until you know, know, know You gotta shine, shine, shine Til you glow I wrote a note on each board of the floating boat And then pushed it back into the sea And I had to concede, as the ocean receded from me I was blissful and fearless and free They turn right from the left lane There’s rhino ahead There’s gazelle in a huddle Same songs in their head Ants in their hard hats Have conquered the underground Now tunnel upwards instead You gotta row Until you know You gotta shine, shine, shine I had to concede as the ocean receded from me I was blissful and fearless
Sterling, silver and old Sits in the silence of sunlight Fingers all folded, he’s finished his food But it’s not yet time for the news Margaret’s rings are of gold Circular swipes in the sink, white Plates are prepared for a place in the pile Perfect and porcelain blue Margaret moves in her mind Morning and midday and moonlight Washing her white wedding cutlery, she Wanders the world as it used to be Sterling, seated between Two sacred souls on the wall The carpenter saviour, the cricketer saint Stare as he stands and walks to the TV They stare as he stands and walks to the TV
We know the sudden summer scorching of the grass We know the pale flame of fields lit upon by light The emptiness of things now lost between the things that we have found We know the space between the ever-changing skies We know the rush We know the race We know the wait We know the novelty of energy, fast fading We know our promises to keep ourselves at peace We know the smell of earth, the secret scent of what we’ve come from Underneath our nails and in the shining of our teeth We know the push We know the pulse We know the wait We know fast food But we know the slow meal The low swing of candlelight The dark undressing of wine Scorpions scuttle between The rustle of ideas within The battle of the windowpane against the braying wind We know the sense of life that churns invisible Within the rich crush of this old earth’s history Layers pressed together and blended and now running over With what it wants to teach to those who have the guts to learn We know the rush We know the race We know the push We know the pulse We know the wait and the wait is better Based on Bert Spinks’ poem of the same name


A collection of stories from a tiny island on the edge of the world.


released January 28, 2016


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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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