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Patti and the Power

John recently bought me a tape (used…discarded by the library) of Patti Smith’s Dream of Life. I loved her recent memoir Just Kids and have been listening to her a lot.

The first song, “People Have the Power,” seems to have been written for the protests in Wisconsin and Ohio (not to mention the Middle East). I’m playing it over and over. Here’s an inspiring rendition from 2004 (sans Patti, unfortunately) and the lyrics below.

Let me know what songs inspire you. What do you watch on YouTube? What do you listen to over and over?

People Have the Power
I was dreaming in my dreaming
of an aspect bright and fair
and my sleeping it was broken
but my dream it lingered near
in the form of shining valleys
where the pure air recognized
and my senses newly opened
I awakened to the cry
that the people / have the power
to redeem / the work of fools
upon the meek / the graces shower
it’s decreed / the people rule

The people have the power
The people have the power
The people have the power
The people have the power

Vengeful aspects became suspect
and bending low as if to hear
and the armies ceased advancing
because the people had their ear
and the shepherds and the soldiers
lay beneath the stars
exchanging visions
and laying arms
to waste / in the dust
in the form of / shining valleys
where the pure air / recognized
and my senses / newly opened
I awakened / to the cry

Refrain

Where there were deserts
I saw fountains
like cream the waters rise
and we strolled there together
with none to laugh or criticize
and the leopard
and the lamb
lay together truly bound
I was hoping in my hoping
to recall what I had found
I was dreaming in my dreaming
god knows / a purer view
as I surrender to my sleeping
I commit my dream to you

Refrain

The power to dream / to rule
to wrestle the world from fools
it’s decreed the people rule
it’s decreed the people rule
LISTEN
I believe everything we dream
can come to pass through our union
we can turn the world around
we can turn the earth’s revolution
we have the power
People have the power …

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