June 17, 2016

Look Now (The Martyrs of Charleston)

This is an unfinished work, waiting to be revised and composed. But on this anniversary of the martyrdom of the Charleston nine, it seems fitting to share.









Look Now (The Martyrs of Charleston)


1              (C minor, slow and sorrowful with some blue notes)

Look now
if your crying eyes will let you
Look now
black bodies bullet-ripped again

Look now
fallen sons, fallen daughters
Look now
generations sing old bitter songs

Look now
martyrs’ blood a sorrowful seed
Look now
crucifixion on the church floor

Look now
ugly truth on the beautiful cross
Look now
let it pierce your pining heart

2              Psalm 140            (Bb minor, chant-like with piano jazz type chords)

Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
    protect me from those who are violent,
who plan evil things in their minds
    and stir up wars continually.

They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
    and under their lips is the venom of vipers.
Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
    protect me from the violent
    who have planned my downfall.

O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
    you have covered my head in the day of battle.
Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
    do not further their evil plot.

Those who surround me lift up their heads;
    let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
Let burning coals fall on them!
    Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!

I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
    and executes justice for the poor.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
    the upright shall live in your presence.

3              (Eb major, begins with key and mood transition on the “Look now, look here” section,
grows into a big, joyful Gospel sound by the end)

Look now, look here
look beyond, look tomorrow
repeats

Look now, sister Ethel
hate no longer holds us down
Look now, sister Sharonda
love has blossomed in your name
Look now, brother Clamenta
good news preached to everyone

Look now, sister Cynthia
Spirit moves and heals divisions
Look now, sister Suzie
saints are singing praises free
Look now, brother Tywanza
good men lifting up your name

Look now, sister Myra
good women honor you today
Look now, sister Depayne
we are one in Jesus’ name
Look now, brother Daniel
the kingdom can’t be far away

Look now, mother Emanuel
your children shining in the light
Look now, brother Jesus
all your suffering, all your tears
all your resurrection power
brought us this new day of love

4                             (G major, A peaceful epilogue, just choir)

Sun is shining on the water
see waves kissing the sweet shore
river’s running wild and free now
to the city where tears are no more


Copyright 2016 Michael Coffey. All rights reserved.

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