Driving very early one morning, and this magical song fills the pre-dawn darkness. Bruce Cockburn wrote it in Ottawa on the 9th of March 1976. He says, “I was sitting on the roof … watching the night come down.”

In the Falling Dark is a meditation on the strange moments when we watch the world as if we’re apart from it, sympathetic observers. When we seem to comprehend something, or everything, knowing all the while that this most fragile of feelings will slip from us at the sound of our name, or the flick of a light switch.

“The world fades out like an overheard remark.”

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In the Falling Dark

And the lights lie tumbled out like gems
The moon is nothing but a toothless grin
Floating out on the evening wind
The smell of sweat and lube oil pervades the night
And the rush of life in flight at the speed of light

A million footsteps whispering
A guitar sounds — some voices sing
Smoke on the breeze — eyes that sting
Far in the east a yellow cloud bank climbs
Stretching away to be part of tomorrow’s time

Earthbound while everything expands
So many grains of sand
Slipping from hand to hand
Catching the light and falling into dark
The world fades out like an overheard remark
In the falling dark

Light pours from a million radiant lives
Off of kids and dogs and the hard-shelled husbands and wives
All that glory shining around and we’re all caught taking a dive
And all the beasts of the hills around shout, “such a waste!
Don’t you know that from the first to the last we’re all one in the gift of grace!”

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