Cockburn, Bruce - The Charity Of Night Lyrics




Big city Europa, July of 64, it's 5AM
Weather blowing bitter off the Baltic

Car slows beside him as he walks
Hubcaps slow revolution
Jaundiced-looking pockmarked face, round in window
Short greasy black beard

Couple of language stabs, settle on English
"It's cold, I give you ride
Don't you want to kiss me?"

This goes on halfway across the cobbled bridge
Driver pulls ahead, gets out by the construction fence
Ambles towards him rubbing the bulge in his pants

In his jacket is the revolver
The hand is already in the pocket for warmth and fingers slide easily around wood grips

Slow as that predator's footsteps the gun comes out
Arm straightens, sight blade bisecting yellow forehead
Wind, blue metal streetlight, faint twilight shining on the corners of stones

Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean's roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night

Slow revolution, 1985, crosswise in a hammock in the hot volcanic hills
Its 3AM the night after the air raid
From the ridge she watched A37s, like ugly gulls
Make a dozen swooping passes over some luckless town
Maybe ten kliks beyond the border
In the distance the Pacific glimmered silver

Now lascivious laughter floats on the darkness from the police post next door
Male voices, and a woman's
Little clouds of desire painted around the edges with rum
In the muddy street a pig suddenly screams

Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean's roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night

Pacific glimmers silver
Moon full over shadow mansion
West coast, can't say when
There is incense and the heat-driven scent of flowers

Tongue slides over soft skin
Love pounds in veins brains buzzing balls of lust
Fingers twine in wet hair
Limbs twist and roll

On the dresser wax drips in slow motion down the long side of
A black candle
Ecstatic halo of flame and pheromone

Wave on wave of life
Like the great wide ocean's roll
Haunting hands of memory
Pluck silver strands of soul
The damage and the dying done
The clarity of light
Gentle bows and glasses raised
To the charity of night





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Cockburn, Bruce The Charity Of Night Comments
  1. Harold Morozko

    One of the most poignant, disturbing songs that I have ever heard. After the horrible murder of innocence, comes the haunting lyrics of "the charity of night.

  2. Bajoobie Cuzican

    🎶❤️🎶

  3. thewordofgord

    Always loved the poetry of these lyrics; Glad to see others do too.

  4. nissi K

    To me, these poetic vignettes juxtaposed with the beautiful music conveys the depravity of the human condition when the soul is unanchored. It is meant to be disturbing, unnerving. It clearly contrasts the beauty of creation with the corruption that mocks it.

  5. Brian O'Sullivan

    I find this one difficult to listen to - disturbing.

    moonlitme

    and yet...and yet, i can't stop listening.......

  6. Bajoobie Cuzican

    "Lascivious laughter." Sexy. Mysterious. -- Love, love, love this song. Makes me wish I had a lover to talk to about this song. This musical genius. Someone who loves Bruce as much as I do.

  7. Bryan Boutwell

    I was 1st introduced to the  music of Bruce Cockburn 20 years ago while driving across country  ( I was 20 years old and driving by myself from Brooklyn N Y to L.A.)  I discovered his Album Titled: Charity of Night , somewhere around Amarillo , Texas,  and I simply let the entire album play on repeat for the 2nd half of my cross country trip. Its hands down one of the very BEST pieces of art Ive ever had the honor of swimming through. IN MY HUMBLE OPINION : This album is the sexiest, most authentic , and most beautiful spoken word type album Ive ever heard. His voice,  poetry, delivery, inflection, originality, AND EMPATHY make it the one of the  most beautiful and touching albums Ive ever experienced!

    Eugene Iovine Jr.

    Love this image Bryan. In 1997, when this album came out, I was studying for my professional license exam, and was quite stressed. WFUV played full albums on Thursday nights, and this album was on one night my way home to Ronkonkoma from the City. I was so excited to tell my wife about it, as it was the first time I heard it and we were both Bruce fans. Went out and bought the CD as soon as we could (probably at Borders, lol). Perfect album to play on repeat!

    Bajoobie Cuzican

    Yes...I know exactly what you mean. I've loved this remarkable guy for 30 years.

  8. David Hasbargen

    Silver strands of soul............

  9. moonlitme

    There's an incredible, almost creepy disconnect between the slow jazzy guitar, his slithering voice on the spoken lyrics that catches perfectly the myriad of internal reactions to the tensions that occur when we try to stay an authentic human in the face of the horrors that humanity inflicts upon itself. He does a similar thing on the song 'You've Never Seen Everything" from the album of the same name. Peerless.

    BOBBY D

    +moonlitme Heady

  10. Janice Bowes

    Love this song!

  11. Poet Mountain

    The Poetry in this Song is Superb. Bruce Cockburn, Master Musician & Poet.

  12. blitzkriegahsofar

    Now these are some really nice lyrics...

    Big city, Europa, July of 64.
    It's 5AM. Weather blowing bitter off the Baltic.
    Car slows beside him as he walks, hubcaps slow revolution, jaundiced looking
    pockmarked face round and windburn, short greasy black beard.
    Couple of language stabs, settle on English.
    It's cold.
    I give you ride?
    Don't you want to kiss me?
    This goes on halfway across the cobbled bridge. Driver pulls ahead gets out by
    the construction fence, ambles toward a rubbing bulge in his pants. In his
    jacket is the revolver. The hand is already in the pocket for warmth and
    fingers slide easily around wood grips. As slow as that predator's footsteps
    the gun comes out, arm straightens, scythe blade bisecting yellow forehead.
    Wind. Blue metal street light. Faint twilight shining in the corners of
    stones.
    Wave on wave of life
    Like the great wide oceans roll
    Haunting hands of memory
    Pluck silver strands of soul
    The damage and the dying done, the clarity of light
    gentle bows and glasses raised to the charity of night
    Slow revolution, 1985, crosswise in a hammock in the hot volcanic hills.
    Its 3AM, the night after the air raid.
    From the ridge she watched A37s like ugly gulls make a dozen swooping passes
    over some luckless town maybe ten clicks beyond the border. In the distance the
    Pacific glimmered silver. Now lascivious laughter floats on the darkness from
    the police post next door. Male voices and a woman's. Little clouds of desire
    painted around the edges with rum. In the muddy street a pig suddenly screams.
    Pacific glimmers silver. Moon full over shadow mansion.
    West coast. Can't say when.
    There is incense and heat-driven scent of flowers. A tongue slides over soft
    skin, love pounds in veins, brains buzzing balls of lust. Fingers twine in wet
    hair, limbs twist and roll. On the dresser wax drips in slow motion down the
    long side of a black candle. Ecstatic halo of flame and pheromone.

    moonlitme

    " ...sight blade bisecting yellow forehead..."

    moonlitme

    Also : "...jaundiced looking pockmarked face round in window..."

    Bajoobie Cuzican

    A tongue slides over soft
    skin, love pounds in veins... yes, yes, yes

  13. Sharon DuBois

    so when we post someone else's work and put an ad at the front does Bruce Cockburn, the artist in this case, receive the $ or the person posting?

    aliasdyln33

    Thank's Sharon. Just curious, and trusting you have allowed the 'label' to 'monetize' it, I have this question. How do they 'monetize' it? What does that mean, and what is an example of the 'label' doing that? Plus, you do have good taste in music. I'm 'pacing the cage' for your reply.

    aliasdyln33

    Oops, my bad. I meant that to start . . . "Thank's Pat . . . "! (The 'pacer'.)

    Pat Cotter

    aliasdyln33 Thanks! Bruce is one of my all time favorite artists. I had the immense pleasure of getting to meet him once and tell him he's one of my greatest heros. one of my favorite memories. As to your question, essentially, the rights holder (whom I'm pretty sure in this case is True North Recordings) contracts with a company that, for a fee, has programs that crawl YouTube looking for their clients' music. when they find it, the rights holder can either mute the video, or allow an advertisement to run (with the uploader's permission) before the video. if the uploader refuses, the video is muted or removed, if they accept, then the advertisement runs and the rights holder receives the revenue that the ad generates (which for ads on Google services is payed out per click). It's rather complicated, but a cool way for us to share music without shafting the artist.

    aliasdyln33

    Yes, and with "gentle bows and glasses raised", thanks a lot. I cannot doubt that we both see Professor Cockburn's music as so brilliant.

    wayne moores

    The artist gets a pittance no matter how it goes up on here. Something like 1/100th of a cent per hit. Not sure of the rate however.

  14. Edward Nethery

    Indeed. It is on my short list as well. Haunting tune and sensual images. Glasses raised to the charity of night.

  15. Edward Nethery

    Dark, melancholy, somewhat frightening visions. Loneliness. Beautiful.

  16. rambling

    will you post pay your money take your chances please?

  17. tarkineWild

    Second !!!!!!
    Brilliant song as it has such warm melancholy feel and its a very accessible piece to play which can not be said dor a lot of Bruces pieces

    Thank you

    aliasdyln33

    tarkineWild . . . excellent reference to a 'warm melancholy feel'. That sums this gem of a song up brilliantly.