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Stained Glass

from Parables & Primes by Danny Schmidt



It was thirty days til Easter when the elm tree hit the church
Thank God it fell on Friday cause at least no one was hurt
But there was fear it might delay the second coming of the lord
Cause the stained glass crucifixion was in stains upon the floor

They spent a day of cleaning and a day to board the hole
Where the stained glass once had cast a godly light upon the fold
But come the Sunday service all the faces now were gray
And they commenced to take donations as the faithful knelt to pray

But on Monday they discovered that the man who’d built the glass
Was the only man in town who could and sadly he had passed
But his father who was ninety said the tools were in the shed
And he’d kindly try and resurrect the window from the dead

The congregation argued, but the wise ones all rejoiced
In the one hand was solution, in the other was no choice
And they gave the man their blessings and they gave his hand a shake
And they gave him all the coins they had collected on their plate

It was seven days til Easter and they’d seen a hide nor hair
So they came and knocked at suppertime in hopes the man was there
But a banging from the basement was ‘bout all that they could hear
And curses that might make the devil blush and wash his ears

Come first thing easter morning and to everyone’s good grace
The man was up on ladders with the window nailed in place
It was covered in black velvet like a hood or like a veil
He pulled the sheet and there it hung apocryphal and frail

The seams had melted jagged, they were crooked like a spine
The glass was rough like hands of man against the hands of time
And there was bloodstains in the red and there were teardrops in the blue
He said: It may not be the best but it’s the best that I can do

The chapel fell to silence, it was more than just surprise
As the monstrosity of color slid its tongue across their eyes
And they shivered from exposure like babies born again
Cause in every pane of glass was all the joy and pain of man . . .

There was every fearful smile, there was every joyful tear
There was each and every choice that leads from every there to here
There was every cosy stranger and every awkward friend
And there was every perfect night that’s left initials in the sand
There was every day that filled so full the weeks would float away
And there was all those days spent wondering what to do with all those days
There was every lie that ever saved the truth from being shamed
And every secret you could ever trust a friend to hide away
There was the fortune of discovering a new face you might adore
And the thrill of coming home to find her clothes upon the floor
And the prideful immortality of children in the home
That the storm can’t grind the mountain down, it can only shift the stones
And there was everything your mouth says that your lips don’t understand
And every shape inside your head you can’t carve with your hands
And every slice of glass revealed another slice of life
Emblazened imperfections in a perfect stream of light
It all flooded through the window like rapids made of fire
And then God rode through on sunshine and sat down cause he was tired
He was tired.

As the thunder and the hardwood settled back into its place
God removed his veil and there were scars across his face
And some folks prayed in reverence and some folks prayed in fear
As all the shades and chaos in the glass became a mirror


from Parables & Primes, released July 12, 2005


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Danny Schmidt Austin, Texas

Named to the Chicago Tribune's "50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years," Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, with lyrical depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt. ... more


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