Ecstasy & Longing

The Complete Lyrics (with occasional commentary)

 

By The Castle Walls

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium, Kristina Machusick – vocals, flute & percussion, Jacob Thro – mandolin

I saw the rust-red plains of old Madagascar

Rolling like a Renaissance landscape out beyond your perfect shoulders.

And still I taste your tears; still I taste your glory –

I alone have escaped to warn you.

During the reign of mighty Solomon, once every three years

Came the navy of Tharsish, bringing peacocks, gold & silver, ivory & apes.

Yea, well look in the mirror, what purpose did it serve – that crumbling clay armada?

I alone have escaped to warn you.

Out here by the castle walls

Out here in the rain by the castle walls

Out here by the castle walls – O how my soul trembles!

How beautiful you are, dressed just so for the Ceremony –

Your gilded headdress gracefully frames your dark eyes.

Turn your back to me, lean across this marble table –

I alone have escaped to warn you.

I place no stock in nation states, nor in merchants of despair & isolation.

Don’t talk to me about your property – intellectual or otherwise.

Cast off your blindfold, your children are drenched in turpentine

And they’re bound up in barbed wire – I alone have escaped to warn you.

They threw me in the dungeon on charges of sedition & vagrancy,

But in the end every tyrant is shackled in chains from his own forge.

No, my beating heart is with that Princess across the dark sea.

They can’t cage me – I alone have escaped to warn you.

 

Dancing the Old Dance

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium. Kristina Machusick – tenor recorder. Jacob Thro – nylon string guitar.

There’s a price on my head, if I’m caught it’s the Bastille.

Been hiding in the cold all night, my hands cannot feel.

O they called me a traitor, a heretic & worse,

Wiped my name from the scrolls with an Inquisitor’s curse.

And though this place is crawling with the king’s vile spies,

I just had to gaze once more on your eyes –

Dancing the Old Dance.

Your face in my fevered sleep kept me on course,

& the kind ones who gave me some bread & a horse.

Now I’ve seen the ghosts of India, I’ve seen the ghosts of Spain,

I’ve seen those ghosts wandering the Serengeti Plain.

Hid my face in Montpellier, dodged the bullet & the lance,

All for that vision of you –

Dancing the Old Dance.

I’m in grave danger of being found out.

But I cannot contain myself, I just have to shout:

Shouting Love unto the gallows, shouting Love into the grave,

Shouting Love until the Emperor himself has been changed.

Shouting Love into the madness, shouting Love in the abyss,

Shouting Love until I’m tasting your kiss

& Dancing the Old Dance.

O if Love is called heresy, a betrayal of sorts,

Then I don’t choose to grace the halls of their courts.

I found a one-eyed man in Venice who’ll sell us a boat

With a bust of Athena carved in its wooden throat,

& if his hand can be trusted, if his hand can be true

I’ll dance on her deck ‘neath the stars with you –

Dancing the Old Dance.

 

Priests of Patmos

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar. Soundscape by John Terlazzo & Doug Smith

This piece began as a poem – a ghazal on the topic of a kind of Madness that I am only fortunate enough to gain glimpses of.

I was writing it on a beach in Italy in June of 2006, and gazing out across the water to Greece where I’d been & beyond to some other time in India. Later – a mendicant in the service of that Madness which is both endless & true – I adjusted the words to fit the guitar in my room at the pension.

O the Priests of Patmos

Steal your Madness & run blind

& laughing through the vapors of night.

And the threads of this sweetness

From your cortex unwind

As from a dark woman’s shawl bathed in starlight.

Bathe me in your Madness,

Bathe me in your wild dreams

That my soul might rise into light.

And let us burn this ship of sadness,

Give our sorrows to those flames

Let the glow illuminate our eyes.

O the sorcerers of Patmos

Took the locks of your hair

From the teakwood chest beside which I sleep

And they’ve bound them up in turquoise

And filigree & myrrh

And therein solemnly our Madness they keep

O let prana be your medicine

Let prana be your food

That your hands need no burden of proof

But for all the fragrances of Dehra Dun

And all those holy Vedic herbs

Let us eat the Madness that is endless & true

When you get near me with your perfume

& the world goes up in flames –

That kind of Madness can be neither bought or sold

And though the eye cannot see you

Nor the voice speak your Names,

O let this heart transcend all ignorance & blindfolds

The bureaucrats & bankers,

Those who apportion out the sea

Must still lay down to take their sleep

Che cosa significa?

In the final madness that they dream

At last they’ll ask, “What can it possibly all mean?

What can it possibly mean?”

 

This Kind of Love

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar. Kristina Machusick – vocals. Jacob Thro – organ, 12-string guitar & bass.

This kind of Love is a mystical wound.

This kind of Love is not blinded in the dark.

This kind of Love is a thrice-honored boon.

This kind of Love heals all scars.

Beyond the Veils of Maya

Beyond the fingerprints on these tombs,

Beyond the dust on this pyre –

What is destroyed & what is built upon the ruins?

This kind of Love is a Cyclops lone & lost.

This kind of Love is Odysseus at sea.

This kind of Love scorns the ransom & the cost.

This kind of Love burns free.

I know your face from another lifetime,

I put those gold rings in your ears.

Lift up your lace in this fine light,

Execute the dance – both savage & severe.

This kind of Love is a cry gone unheard.

This kind of Love is a howling in the mire.

This kind of Love is a most powerful word.

This kind of Love is madness inspired.

Let us go to Chalcidice,

From Salonica, down that old dusty road.

Send my best wishes to Euripides –

Tell him we’re gonna turn my lead into gold.

This kind of Love is a renegade’s quest.

This kind of Love is the wine that sustains.

This kind of Love is an alchemical text.

This kind of Love goes dancing through the flames.

 

In Those Gardens

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium. Kristina Machusick – vocals & flute. Jacob Thro – lead guitar.

In those gardens by the ancient walls where first I beheld your form,

Where the Gods had trod by the waterfalls in the days before the storm,

There grows a pear tree, there stands a stone by which I touched your hand.

In mud & fire the world conspired to transform this man.

I’d been orphaned, pelted with rocks, missing in action for years,

Whipped by centurions, sold on the blocks, the king in his electric chair.

When the crowd dispersed, got their money’s worth, the smoke began to clear.

It’s as if my eyes could finally see, my ears at once could hear.

And in these realms of havoc where nothing is insured,

Beyond royal seals and broken deals the Name of Love endures.

O White Goddess, O heart so rare, when you entered the house of my soul,

The fruit grew ripe on the tree of pears, tho’ the ground was wrought with snow.

If I’ve not spoken from the depths of my gratitude to tell,

It’s only because I cannot find the bottom of that well.

If I could grasp every truth that’s dawned on every great mind –

What they don’t understand about the Fair One to the theorems of Einstein.

If I could taste the colors of the sun as it melts into the sea,

None of it could taste so sweet as what you’ve given me.

I love you more than the rains that pour in torrents on the land,

More than the scores of passions stored in the palms of my two hands.

My Love for you rolls on & on – it’s more than I can speak,

More than all that’s rolled, all these years, through the banks of Muddy Creek.

Songs of Experience & Innocence, the songbirds of this Earth –

None can be so sweet to me as the songs you made in birth.

Land, possessions, riches, schemes, testaments & dreams,

Nothing carries weight for me like the fruit that falls from your tree.

 

Odalisque

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium. Kristina Machusick – vocals. Jacob Thro – cello.

Having returned from the mysteries of Morocco, still deeply entranced, the great painter Henri Matisse cloistered himself

Away from the lingering drama & tragedy that was the tail-end of the war. Choosing instead – against all odds – to praise Beauty, he

Locked himself in an old hotel, and visited by several models, created those glorious paintings that have become known as

The Languid Odalisques.

Odalisque, Odalisque –

Languid on a Turkish divan.

Carnelian beads laced round your feet,

Like saffron in the African sun.

Dates & cashews, apricots & figs –

Your fingers circumscribe the wooden bowl.

The painter haunted by your color & your line –

Your gentle power to control.

Odalisque, round & full,

Your form raised in a stunning Hindu pose.

Moroccan design, painted lines around your eyes.

Pears echo the shape of alabaster globes.

O how softly your hand rests on the tender rose of your breast –

Aureole the color of coral.

A silken scarf of emerald green drifts from the Oriental screen –

So slowly cascades to the floor.

Odalisque, O hennaed forehead of this Moorish queen!

Odalisque, this life is all ecstasy & longing!

Odalisque, magnolia’s sweet

Grace the threshold of this expatriate’s door.

Lock the latch once more, close out all that light abhors –

Exile the atrocities of war.

Your white arms grace the atmosphere,

Your ankle beads & bracelets clear

Away the ghosts that haunt this old hotel.

Affix your antique ivory combs,

O to paint you in your opened clothes –

Let the others aspire to hell!

Odalisque, O hennaed forehead of this Moorish queen!

Odalisque, this life is all ecstasy & longing!

 

An Apparition (Beyond the Caravans)

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & tambourine. Kristina Machusick – vocals. Jacob Thro – mandolin.

A Buddhist treatise on Impermanence disguised as a Gypsy ballad.

She washed her hair with goat’s milk soap,

Down by the shire where the lilies grow.

Beside the river where the Old Ones sleep,

I stole a glimpse of her bare feet.

I touched the strings of this guitar,

Tasted the air, spoke to the stars.

If I could breathe or close my eyes,

It’s her face I’d dream of through the long, still night.

The caravan door opened wide,

The horses silent as she slipped inside.

With whispers tender, my lips she pressed,

And her long, black curls fell down across my chest.

Moonlight on her shoulder, no light is bolder,

No mercy so near, no vision so clear.

She tied her necklace & made it fast

About my throat before she passed,

Into the wings beyond the stage,

Beyond the caravans she made her way.

O tender twilight, when she was mine

Beyond all finite space & time.

The wind was restless, the sky was strange

But that mark upon us was made in vain.

Moonlight on her shoulder, no light is bolder,

No mercy so near, no vision so clear.

Shadows come – shadows go,

The Old Ones tell us, that’s all we know.

What you can hold, what you can grasp

Will fall in shadows, will fade away & pass.

 

Heart and Skull

(Words by John Terlazzo, music by Greg Engle)

John Terlazzo – vocals. Greg Engle – vocals & 12 string guitar. Jacob Thro – organ & electric guitar.

When the thieves descend upon you, their great horses snorting fire

O Awakened skull, courageous Heart.

When the hungry ghosts surround you, quoting hypocrites & liars

O Awakened skull, courageous Heart.

When your holy trumpet’s broken, acid rains upon your tongue

O Awakened skull, courageous Heart.

When the ogre’s jaw is opened as if Paradise is done

O Awakened skull, courageous Heart.

Malice will not serve you, Vengeance only makes you ill.

A warrior’s twice a tyrant if greed pollutes his will.

Drink your draught & break your bread before the mouth of Vajra hell –

Courageous Heart, awakened skull.

I’ve heard the mighty dragon, moaning in its musty cave

Drained the Emperor’s flagon, transcended the grave

Been drowned in the flood of lies that spews forth from their teeth

Thrown down in the realm of Pride, where it really gets deep

Anger cannot heal you; it can only make you blind.

A warrior’s twice a fool if violence makes camp in his mind.

Cast off the yoke of ignorance – let the blaze consume your soul!

O courageous Heart, awakened skull.

When you’re visited by demons, bright mirrors in their bloody hands

Then dance upon the tables, this chance might not come again

Indulging in self-righteousness for far too many years

Do we serve Liberation, or do we serve the King of Fear?

Malice will not serve you, Vengeance only makes you ill.

A warrior’s twice a tyrant if greed pollutes his will.

Drink your draught & break your bread before the mouth of Vajra hell –

Courageous Heart, awakened skull.

 

Song of Longing

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar. Kristina Machusick – vocals & alto recorder. Jacob Thro – cello.

If you want to live, die in Love; die in Love if you want to remain alive.

- Mevlana

O let us draw sweet delirium down from the moon,

To cut through these earthly chains.

As we spill molten light on the floor of this room,

O, let us weep & whisper these many Names.

It is in Love we blind our eyes, it is in Love we fall & rise,

It is in Love we vaporize, we dematerialize.

Like a beast confined we claw at this cage,

Though always the door is wide open.

Like a thief denied, accused on this page,

Though both book & law are broken.

It is in Love we truly see, it is in Love we are released,

It is in Love that we decrease, in Love we cease to be.

O let us not be frightened, let us not be ashamed,

As we open our palms in petition,

And we limp through the night, our hearts enflamed,

Oblivious to all official derision.

It is in Love we pay the cost, it is in Love that all is lost,

Upon this tender holocaust, O let the soul be tossed.

It is in Love we taste salvation, it is in Love this copulation,

It is in Love this jubilation, this sweet annihilation.

It is in Love we scale these walls, it is in Love the Empire falls,

It is in Love we wager all & heed the call enthralled.

It is in Love we’re given sight, it is in Love we ignite tonight.

It is in Love we bleed with this light, we become the sacrifice…

 

Your Hands

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals, guitar & harmonium. Kristina Machusick – vocals. Jacob Thro – cello.

The frankincense curled in that darkened world & I drifted through,

Dropped some coins in the box & lit a candle for you.

I conjured up a vision of you at your loom –

Spinning & weaving, your fingers flashing gold in the room.

I remember your hands.

I have friends in the Resistance with their noble proletariat nails,

Out there where that trinity of angels were publicly unveiled.

Here on this table’s some black bread & Asian blood oranges –

Yea, all this feeds me in some way, but not like your kiss.

I remember your hands.

Are you still at your loom, locked in that distant tower?

Strange how this light in the brow grows stronger the darker the hour.

A deva in a painted white face offers the goatskin flask.

You’d think by now this taste would’ve faded into the past,

But I remember your hands.

There are those who long for passion borrowed from some Christ.

There are those who dance to the tune of their own sacrifice.

As for me, I’ll offer this wine & I’ll make no claims.

Take this body, my Love, if it serves you in some way. I remember your hands.

 

Hidden

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals & harmonium

We think we know

Where the sheaves of wheat

Are stored away and hidden,

But when

We break the seal –

Only laughter.

 

Shadows of the Pyramid

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar. Kristina Machusick – vocals, flute & percussion. Jacob Thro – electric guitar & vocals.

Drain the red wine from this lover’s chalice,

Step lightly into these streets of clay.

Leave everything behind in the pharaoh’s palace –

Be not afraid of the hands of a slave.

Cross the sand on a moon-starved & starless night.

We will leave no tracks where the hounds & the jackals bay.

I will be the song in your mouth & give wings to your flight.

Be not afraid of the hands of a slave.

There’s a song so sad no singer can sing it

And it lies in the valley like a wind that’s died.

There’s a dream so mad no dreamer can dream it,

But I am that kind of slave & I will dream it tonight!

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID –

Lay low in the reeds of the Nile…

Let fall your silver gown, dismiss your maidservants.

Paint the lids of your eyes with the darkest of stains.

Loose the strings of my harp, bare your breast to the dark,

And be not afraid of the hands of a slave.

There’s a song so sad no singer can sing it

And it lies in the valley like a wind that’s died.

There’s a dream so mad no dreamer can dream it

But I am that kind of slave & I will dream it tonight!

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID

I WILL MEET YOU IN THE SHADOWS OF THE PYRAMID –

Lay low in the reeds of the Nile…

 

May All Beings Awake

(Words & music by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar. Kristina Machusick – vocals, soprano recorder & percussion.

Jacob Thro – organ, bass & vocals.

In the Tibetan tradition, every daily action – grand or mundane – is dedicated to the awakening of all beings

And to the lessening, or elimination of their (our) suffering. How different this is from Wall St.!

From the dreams of dull complacency, from the nightmares of despair,

May all beings awake.

From impostors on the throne to the prisoner in the chair,

May all suffering cease.

From illusions of ignorance, hatred & greed,

Amid delusions & petulance, O let us plant this seed.

From the lies that rise & cripple, the poisons planted in the mind,

The child crying without the nipple, no mother can he find.

For those killers in the church house, thieves & liars on high,

To the arrogant self-righteousness that cuts the light from our eyes.

For the Love that’s flowing in your veins, waiting to be moved,

For the young sold at auction, both clandestine & approved.

There are those who fill their counting house with the bones of violent death,

O cease this brutal profiteering in the very next breath.

From the lie that liberation can be purchased with guns,

And for all our human dignity lying in a pool of blood.

To the tender face of Beauty, it’s countenance of splendor,

To the violated duty & all the grief that it engenders.

From the clutches of duality in this place we call the world,

In this dream of gross “reality” – O, let the voice be heard.

The broken & the powerful & the ones like me & you,

The demons & the tyrants, the ghosts, the saints & fools.

 

Farther Along

(1st verse traditional, additional verses written by John Terlazzo)

John Terlazzo, Kristina Machusick & Jacob Thro – vocals.

Maybe 30 years ago I heard a woman sing only the first verse of this old hymn – probably a slave song in its earliest form.

I was deeply moved by the melody & sentiment & it stayed with me, surfacing in times of need. I’ve always felt that I wanted to sing it, so a few years ago I wrote these additional verses, as we offer them here. I hope they might be of some value to you.

Farther along we’ll know all about it.

Farther along we’ll understand why.

Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunlight –

We’ll understand it all by & by.

Cold is your prison, black is the hour.

Feint is your vision, weary & dark.

But no walls can hold you when Truth is the power,

Falsehood extinguished in the realms of the Heart.

Blinded by rage, have your eyes been cast out?

How long you have suffered, perilously.

Lay down your burden, your ravenous hatred.

In truth all is sacred, all is holy.

Mighty kings fall, as do their kingdoms.

Nothing lasts long, neither sorrow or woe.

The iron hand withers, as do all who wield it.

Those thieves of power will reap what they sow.

Farther along we’ll know all about it.

Farther along we’ll understand why.

Cheer up my sisters, rest in the moonlight –

We’ll understand it all by & by.

 

The Thorn

(Words by John Terlazzo, music by Greg Engle)

John Terlazzo – vocals & guitar. Greg Engle - 12 string guitar & vocals.

Kristina Machusick – alto recorder. Jacob Thro – cello.

Greg showed me a few guitar chords when we were kids, & we wandered through Europe together on pennies & prana.

He introduced me to Hermann Hesse, and I think maybe Nikos too. These simple acts & his deep friendship have had an indescribable impact on my life, for which I am endlessly grateful.

This is the second of two songs that Greg & I co-wrote for this collection.

The “Beloved Queen” of course, is the one whose awakening we await, here in this dismal land. She is both earthly & otherwise…

I am deliriously lost in Love, and desire no antidote.

There’s a beam of light between your eyes,

In your brow a shaft of flame.

There’s music in the body & in this dark sea.

There’s a thorn tonight here in my side,

To extract it is my aim.

I’d give up the twelve kingdoms if now you’d gaze on me.

I’ve traveled long to speak this song,

To lay my standard down.

But nothing revealed could prepare one like me for this.

I’ve wrecked my ship on your open lips,

On the riddle of your crown.

I’ve wrecked my ship upon the reef of your kiss.

O Beloved Queen – this thorn from my side take.

O Beloved Queen, awake…

Take off my chain mail, breastplate & shield,

Armored I’ll no longer be –

You wear shoes & the whole world is covered with leather.

Let the wall be scaled, the blade be steeled,

Somebody say a rosary for me.

I’m going out there in the madness & bad weather.

I sent out my heralds ages ago

To seek out this soft white deer –

I myself was sworn to both treachery & sweet cold bliss.

Heard every tongue spoken, had my bones broken,

Witnessed great courage & fear.

But no creed can match the manifesto of your kiss.

“Cast not what is holy unto the dogs”

A voice wailed in a wild song,

Just when I got to thinking that something had some form.

Placed my hands upon the Great Wheel

And then that Wheel was gone –

Gave myself up to the sea & the unchained storm.

There’s a beam of light between your eyes,

I’m washed up on your stairs.

Awake, tonight, it’s your aid I would enlist.

O, just take me up that mountaintop

And nail me deeply there –

Upon that mountain, nail me deeply to your kiss.

 

Ecstasy & Longing

All songs copyright 2008 by John Terlazzo

Published by Crooked Trumpet Music