Some Kind Of Ecstasy Got A Hold On Me

I’ve been relistening (if it isn’t, it should be a word) to my collection of Bruce Cockburn’s songs, a singer I first cited in an October 10, 2001 blog entry about land mines and have mentioned in connection with several other political issues since.

I discovered him when a Portland station, KINK, started playing:

WONDERING WHERE THE LIONS ARE

Sun's up, uh huh, looks okay
World survives into another day
And I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Had another dream about lions at the door
They weren't half as frightening as they were before
But I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Walls windows trees, waves coming through
You be in me and I'll be in you
Together in eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

Up among the firs where it smells so sweet
Or down in the valley where the river used to be
I got my mind on eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are...
Wondering where the lions are...

Huge orange flying boat rises off a lake
Thousand-year-old petroglyphs doing a double take
Pointing a finger at eternity
I'm sitting in the middle of this ecstasy

Young men marching, helmets shining in the sun,
Polished as precise like the brain behind the gun
(Should be!) they got me thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are...
I'm wondering where the lions are...

Freighters on the nod on the surface of the bay
One of these days we're going to sail away,
going to sail into eternity
some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

And I'm wondering where the lions are...
I'm wondering where the lions are...

While I’m sure it was the music that first got my attention, and still is a major appeal, it’s the lyrics that have kept me coming back to his music.

The question of whether one can justify seeking personal happiness in a world mired in suffering and injustice is not easily resolved. In fact, I’ve previously discussed this theme in reference to Cockburn’s “Lovers in a Dangerous Time.”

Cockburn Project notes that this song was written by Cockburn while visiting Sproat Island on Vancouver Island. It’s a feeling I experience while walking and, more often, hiking in the mountains. Far removed from TV images of American troops fighting in Iraq or people starving in Darfur, too tired to think, immersed in nature’s beauty, it’s easy to “feel like some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me,” which is precisely why I spend so much time outdoors.

It’s probably not entirely coincidental that my old hiking partner and I would often end up in a spiritual discussion while eating or resting on top of a mountain. It’s easy to see why the Romans imagined their gods living on the top of Mt Olympus.

3 thoughts on “Some Kind Of Ecstasy Got A Hold On Me

  1. Love Bruce Cockburn. I first heard Wondering Where the Lions Are in the early ’80s I think. I only have a handful of his many albums – possible favorite is Dinner in New Orleans, Breakfast in Timbuktu. I don’t know anyone who makes music that sounds like his. I’ve seen him in concert a couple of times. Wonderful.

  2. Bruce Cockburn is the singer I find myself going back to time after time. I don’t know if it’s a recentering thing, sort of a musical stillpoint, or just that I like his music. Or that there are several Bruce Cockburns – the early theological Bruce, the 80s angry Bruce (think “If I Had A Rocket Launcher”), or the later activist works. I just know I like Bruce Cockburn, and I find myself listening to one of his CDs often.

What do you think?