Lo, Above the Earth

by Patrick Clifford

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A Christmas album work-in-progress

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released December 25, 2010

Executive Producers: Linda Jeffers, Kieran Xanthos, Martin Rutherford, Linda Zdepski, Anonymous.

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Patrick Clifford New York, New York

Patrick Clifford is an Irish-American musician, songwriter, and producer.

He performs and records Irish traditional standards; skillfully crafted original songs and compositions; and discerning covers of contemporary Irish and American songwriters such as Pete St. John, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen.

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Track Name: The Twelve Days of Christmas
On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.

On the Second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves

On the Third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three French hens

On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four calling birds

On the Fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five gold rings

On the Sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six geese a-laying

On the Seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven swans a-swimming

On the Eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight maids a-milking

On the Ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing

On the Tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten lords a-leaping

On the Eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping

On the Twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming
Track Name: Joy to the World
Joy to the world: The Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the world: The Savior reigns!
Let all their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and with grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And the wonders of His love.
Track Name: Traveling Light
What I believe in
What I'm achieving
Let’s leave those alone for tonight
Shadow’s falling where I am
But-- whether dim, or dark, or damned--
Tomorrow I'll travel in light
We’re a people born with leave to take
We wander, we wager, we welcome the stakes
And the critical looks that that’s sure to invite
I don't know how long I will be
Just keep a candle lit for me
In the window, in your prayers, in the night

Farewell to blessings I recall
Farewell to catching my every fall
Farewell to falling to my knees without a fight
Farewell for now
If fortune's kind I'll retrieve the trove I'm sure to find
For now I'm traveling light

I told you, "Here's what I perceive: I do believe I'd so believe
If I could see a little more in black and white
But my path's ordained by dint of all these other hues and tints
Beyond those gray, grave, and contrite.”
So much less I could have said
Before you shook your head
But I'm not sure it would have helped us anyway
Now when I listen as I ought
There’s just stillness and the thought
That there's still so much less that I could say

I cannot see my feet beneath me
I cannot see the road before me
I cannot see the trains I hear careening, empty, through the night
Still, I can keep my heart with you
I can ask the same in return, too
But nothing more: I'm traveling light

Is that a shadow of a doubt?
I can barely make it out
Here beside me-- only, no, not quite
Still, better a shadow than a seed
Could it be, that time is all I need?
That in time it'll all be all right?
No, to hell with all the rest
I'm seeking love made manifest
Gonna see it stand up and extend to full height
I'm gonna find where Grace abounds,
I'm gonna take a look around
See what else abounds
See what I can set right

I do believe my heart could burst
I believe I don't know what's the worst:
This hour of grief,
This hope,
Or this hindsight
But I believe the night has numbered days
I believe the light arrives and stays
And I believe that faith is thought, equipped with wings for flight
I believe it’s here that you must stay
I believe you know I can't say the same
I believe in the journey
And in traveling light

In August as a kid
I'd sit out for the Perseids
And ask them all these questions outright
Of course the answers never came:
They all fell silent, all the same
Though wish I may and wish I might
Now-- cloudless, moonless, cold--
This December night withholds all mercy
As though for a higher price
Familiar constellations dim;
The stars seem just a whim,
Just splattered paint,
Just so many tumbled dice
But I will not be resigned
No, instead it calls to mind
A long-ago and far-away night
When, through a billion miles of void,
To leave the luckless overjoyed
Came traveling light
Track Name: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray:
O tidings of comfort and joy...

In Bethlehem, in Israel, this blessèd babe was born,
And laid within a manger upon this blessèd morn,
To which His Mother Mary did nothing take in scorn:
O tidings of comfort and joy...

From God our heavenly Father a blessèd angel came,
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same,
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name:
O tidings of comfort and joy...

"Fear not then," said the Angel. "Let nothing you affright.
This day is born a savior of a pure virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in him from Satan's power and might."
O tidings of comfort and joy...

The shepherds at those tidings rejoicèd much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethlehem straightway, this blessèd Babe to find:
O tidings of comfort and joy...

And when they came to Bethlehem, where our dear savior lay,
They found Him in a manger, where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling down, unto the Lord did pray:
O tidings of comfort and joy...

Now to the Lord sing praises, all you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas all others doth efface:
O tidings of comfort and joy...
Track Name: Good King Wenceslas
Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;
Brightly shone the moon that night, tho' the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gath'ring winter fuel.

"Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know'st it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?"
"Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain;
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes' fountain."

"Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither:
Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither."
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together;
Through the rude wind's wild lament and the bitter weather.

"Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger;
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps, my good page. Tread thou in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage freeze thy blood less coldly."

In his master's steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.