by Lee Underwood
154 pages, retail price $18.00
By turns sensual, simple, complex, romantic, philosophical, and always listening for insight into deeper and higher things, Lee Underwood has put into print the fruit of many years of reflection into the kind of living that penetrates to the heart of life, using his poetry always to clarify, reassure, and inspire, and never merely perform. His poetry testifies to his nature as a genuine Bard and troubadour, making the highest insights always into song, story, elegy, or celebration. - D.J. Sapen – Psychiatrist, author, musician
Lee Underwood's poems have appeared in two published books, entitled Timewinds and Diamondfire, as well as in several journals, including "Light of Consciousness," "ZamBomba," and "In The Grove." His latest work, Into Light, is a series of higher-consciousness poems nearly all of which were written in 2020.
During the late ‘60s and early '70s, Underwood played lead guitar with singer/songwriter Tim Buckley on seven of the nine albums Buckley released while ali ve, including Happy Sad and Starsailor. Underwoodalso appeared on several posthumous Buckley CDs, notably Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 and Works In Progress. He toured America and Europe with Buckley for seven years, and in 2001 published a book entitled Blue Melody: Tim Buckley Remembered (Backbeat; San Francisco).
While living in Los Angeles in the '70s and '80s, Underwood wrote extensively about music and musicians. His articles, interviews and reviews appeared in dozens of periodicals, including Down Beat (West Coast Editor, 1975-1981), L.A. Times, L.A. Weekly, Rolling Stone, Pulse, Jazz Forum, L.A. Free Press, New Realities, Body/Mind/Spirit, New Age Journal, and many others.
He co-authored flutist Paul Horn's autobiography, Inside Paul Horn (HarperCollins; 1990), and in 1991 received the Crystal Award for Music Journalism at the NAM Convention in Hollywood.
Into Light by Lee Underwood
Blue sky silence
In the pines
Blue in moonlight;
Yellow in sun;
August apples Sweet in summer’s heat;
Red-gold sunbeams slanting
Through autumn’s trees–
We do what we can
As well as we can–
Singing, dancing, loving–
Then wave and smile,
And bid a poignant farewell,
Passing the way of all seasons
Even as oceans roar and sigh,
Speak, my heart.
My heart is your heart.
Listen, my heart.
My attention is your attention.
Be with me, beauteous voice,
Drift with me,
I am with you.
Gone but Still Singing
In my Heart-Song
Lighting the Candle
In the darkest night, so difficult to light the candle.
Difficult to ignore winds rattling the shudders.
Difficult to enter within and feel sanity's soft touch.
Difficult to remember who I am, and rise
Above the madness of these days and times.
The hooded one is with us. We dance
With an invisible partner who clutches us,
Twirls us, sashays us around the world's floor,
His hollow-eyed death-skull laughing at our
Frightened eyes, our tears, our flimsy little masks.
The emotional masks we wore as children
To shield our fragile hearts, doubting minds
And secret shames were very different. Now,
In grocery stores, pharmacies, drugstores,
Post offices—the smell of fear is near.
We dance with death, and the dance won't cease.
Fiddles play madly, drums pound mightily,
Guitars wail, saxophones moan, singers screech,
And death smiles gleefully, leading us on and down
Into this deep dark night, and we can't light the candle.
In the face of insanity–our howls, protests,
Cries in the night, smashed walls, shattered windows,
Gnashing teeth, cringing loved ones, our bellowing,
Our desperate yelling at the wind-tossed sea–
There is no way out, no way to blissful clarity.
But when I close my eyes and see your
Radiant beauty shining within without words,
See your grace, hear your music, and remember
Who I truly am—the silent observer of all that is–
I arise clear-eyed and light the candle once again.
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