The Awakening

by Dudley Benson

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Whyte Rushan
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Whyte Rushan I once wished for an earthquake, in the Christchurch Central Police Station, in a repco suicide watch blanket, I got what I wished for, and the building is gone, was designed for a magnitude 9, on Hereford and Montreal, by the river Avon Favorite track: The Awakening.
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1.
On a fine day If Mum says “Okay” I go walking out on the hills where I can play Singing favourite songs My friends wait for me They are white quadrupeds eating lucerne leaves And here is where I’m going to stay This is where I’ll lay my head to rest I’ll go to sleep on the shoulders of the Earth This is where you’ll find me if you came looking
2.
Audrey H. 03:04
You want to have something solid and structured And you want to have someone You can boss around Never mind learning or getting hands dirty I’m leaning on someone who’s shaky at best! You cried a tear Then I cried sixty-four-and-a-half Isn’t that always the way? I’m a drama queen (Baby, you know it) So be my audience here for a while But why does time never give me my medicine? Why does hindsight never teach me my lesson? Just as you are crossing the water I wonder if I’m crossing the line Permission from you once was a privilege Now it’s a luxury I can’t respect So be my audience here for the last time
3.
Willow 03:52
Forage through the oldest things Sleeping in the third drawer down Wake them gently with your hands Nurse them back to fullest health Etienne Francois came here on a boat With his wife, with willow in a potato Justine Rose, she planted the trees On the banks of the Avon – They are still there! Oh, you willow, how dost thou grow? Lifted from Napoleon’s grave And into the earth beneath our feet... Bon voyage!
4.
Asthma 03:44
In the winter sun of August ‘83 On the golden hills that cradle Canterbury Runs Jasmine my wonderful retriever I cut Jess’ hair but this I do not remember And happiness like this you don’t find easily My lungs were small and weak With all the drugs (As I fell under the asthma spell) And swimming in the hospital pool Did not help much (Bunking P.E. when I’m feeling bit wheezy) Ventolinhaler, Flixotide, Dr. Beco and his nebuliser Medication like this you can get easily Though it isn’t always clear I had to get my asthma from somewhere
5.
Finally, I am home! The horizon line is my bed Years of me have led up to this and I never knew Padding toward the shore The sun is my only companion Breathing deeply, slowly, now calm You minimal waves, tease my toes Forward flow Naked in the water now I truly admire The embrace of the tide Brush the ocean aside I’m out quite far now My limbs so sore Fear tries to take me but...still Lavender fills me through A soldier in black boots Sun in a field of shoots And finally, I am home!
6.
A lighthouse A graveyard Our Lady of Fatima I don’t want to meet Minnie Dean At the end of my life If I were to meet her I’d keep her hatbox in sight The fault that runs across the South Island Supports the Banks Peninsula And the Akaroa Harbour
7.
Rapaki 04:46
Do not tarry by night Heed my warning with care From the path do not stray Though the beauty of Rapaki is infinite In the dark it’s estranged “I was here before you, I’ll still be when you’re gone,” Chants the crater in prayer: “They had stolen my fish So I took back their lives!” Do you feel them still here? Settlers scoured for their bodies And found none Until the remains of a boy were found Deep in a valley where a pillar now stands A guardian employed “Would you tell me how long ‘Til we get to the top?” Asked David of Archie as light Showered down from the stars And the southerly wind Sent Shock running mad in the night “Would you mind if I held onto your hand?” Asked David of Archie As they thought about home, warmth, bed And the pressure of imminent rain “Would you sing to me Archie? I’m falling asleep...” Asked David as white as his bones “I’ll sing you something my mother sings me When the two of us are alone: “Time is a rascally burglar And oh, he likes to take If you were ever stolen from me The heart in these ribs would surely break.” So don’t go putting yourself away And don’t go fishing today
8.
Antigone, I miss you Keeper of Memory walk with me Across these hills Over these old, old hills It’s strange to see you now No different than before While I, like the plains below grow slow With years gone by I grow with years gone by I remember your hands deep in the earth Your life pushed into the soil To grow us a native tree Our garden on Huntsbury And I recall you waking us on a night in spring To bring us guests to the birth Of a beautiful family A kid to hold gently I still can smell the pine on wind and history I feel them like past generations Dictating the life I lead In a pattern, cartography The blood cells I am, each fibre that I am Was passed through you into me To lock us magically In genealogy So, please Antigone, hear me and hear my psalms Designed to lift those golden years And let them finally pass Give me rest at last, and gather no more dust Don’t wash out the brains, the nerves, the veins We’re not dust and we’re not clay These bones I found in a cave, the Fates to save The remains of my age The wool they spun was run too young And it’s done In chance we have but one And though the coin’s been tossed And river crossed I am the eldest son
9.
I Don't Mind 03:03
No one has called me recently With their problems Except for my dad who calls me very often I don’t mind – he’s my friend I don’t mind – I’m his friend I like to be helpful and to be a good listener If anyone should need to talk, well I like to be the one they talk to I don’t mind – you’re my friend So make sure that you call me Anytime that you need to I’ll be your listener and you can be the talker I don’t mind
10.
Lingeress 07:49
The mirror on the facing wall It shows me what isn’t there A shape will move, a light will form In the strange, broken still You are the Lingeress Of the words I missed in conversation They keep me from sleep The hand I feel upon my back Is the hand that fed me, it haunts me You are the Lingeress Of the words I missed in conversation They keep me from sleep They prop me up like sugar in blood And I can’t get back to sleep When this house isn’t empty at all (This house is not) The bag that hung upon my door It looked like an old man These are the stories I’ve been saving They follow me around I wish I’d kept all of the shoes that I’ve worn throughout my life They show the places that I’ve been to And just how far I’ve come To take a life as you took yours It was so fast – I couldn’t laugh These are the ghosts that I’m a part of They follow me around

about

Dudley Benson's 2008 debut full-length album.

'A revelation'
★★★★★ Album of the Month, Real Groove Magazine
'Marvellous beyond belief'
★★★★ Sunday Star Times
'Utterly beguiling'
★★★★1/2 Dominion Post

credits

released March 10, 2008

Written, arranged & produced by Dudley
Recorded, engineered & mixed by Adrian Hollay
Mastered by Mandy Parnell at Electric Mastering
Golden Retriever Records, GRR005D

Piano, harpsichord, celeste & organ – Dudley
Choir – Rachel Alexander & Anna McGregor (soprano),
Chelsea Dolman, Elisha Fai & Jessica Lightfoot (alto),
Pene Pati & Amitai Pati (tenor),
Nicholas Forbes & Nicholas Sutcliffe (bass)
Choir conducted by Dudley
String Quartet – Jessica Lightfoot (1st violin), Caitlyn Westbrooke
(2nd violin), Claire Lebouteiller (viola), Andrea Mundy (cello)
Recorder Quartet – Ryan Chao (soprano), Peter Ou (alto),
James Daniell (tenor), Thomas Warren (bass)
Karanga manu performed by Richard Nunns – karanga weka, tua roria, harakeke, poi awhiowhio, porotiti
Harp – Yi Jin
Oggie’s Story – Ric Mann
Guitar & ukulele – Steve Abel

Cover photograph by Warren Dawson – Sunnyside Mental Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand, now demolished

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Dudley Benson Dunedin, New Zealand

I'm a queer independent artist based in Dunedin, New Zealand. I make music about nature and nationhood. Thanks for listening!

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