Yesterday, after a morning walk up to Lily Lake with old friends and young dogs, I did the afternoon sort-of-country show on KHNS. ( Think Willie Nelson meets James Taylor) and I played "Stand Right By Each Other," a song from a gift from Chip,Lucinda Williams' new recording, "Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone." It was the tune that best suited the way the show was unfolding-- the rhythm and swing and mood and balance of a radio show is as much a thing unto itself as an essay or a story or a poem is more than the words and images in it. Anyway, I read some lyrics from the title track, "Compassion," because they seemed to fit. Later, a friend stopped me in the grocery store and thanked me. As the old year ends and a new one begins and we are all still fumbling around in the darkness thinking about doing better at lots of things in 2015, they are a wise nudge in that direction. Compassion is actually a poem, written by Lucinda Williams' father, the Arkansas poet Miller Williams:
Have compassion for everyone you meet
even if they don't want it. What seems conceit,
bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign
of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going
down there where the spirit meets the bone.