If week 34 of #songaweek2018 hadn’t been during summer vacation, I would probably have taken the time to multi-track this song. Would have loved to get some juicy vocal layers in there, but instead I contented myself with wailing through a live take. It was enough, and left time to play games and go to the lake with my kids while we soak up these last days before school starts again.

The suggested theme was “verdict,” so that’s the title. Because the song is sort of about, “what’s the ultimate thing we have to say about everything?” Or if you prefer, “what’s it all about?” Or “where’s it all headed?” For a serious-minded person who spends a serious amount of time contemplating death and the cosmos, I have this inimitable weed-like hope. It’s a weed like some sort of wildflower, dying back and disappearing for months at a time, but then inevitably springing up again, even bursting into colorful flower when the season is right.

Autumn is coming, and I know my mood will deepen and darken along with the days. But hope, like all living things, needs to sleep now and then, and I’ll hold on and stand guard while she’s out cold.

And if I spend the end just running from the dark
And if I keep my deepest love choked in my heart
Why do the stars still shine at night?

And if I hold my cold desire like a curse
And shun the sunlight from my meager universe
What is this breath that fills my hungry lungs
This song that rises from my thirsty tongue?
Aah . . .

And when it all is bound to fall like dying leaves
And bonds we make are sure to break like brittle trees
Why do the seeds keep taking root?

And if these years will end in tears and certain loss
and when I keep the faith it leads me to a cross
What is this hope that grows inside my bones
This love that stretches out to the unknown?
Aah . . .

There is a siren in my mind compelling me
It’s like a word that I once heard –
before I learned to speak
Aah . . .