Bruce Cockburn has
written many brilliant songs, but the one that is on my mind tonight is “Pacing
the Cage” (1996, The Charity of the Night).
He captures humanity’s angst well. Who can’t relate to this song in some
way? We long for something more than this cage in which we find ourselves; we’ve
lived too long and want to escape. I could extemporize for a while about this
song, but Cockburn’s poetry is best read without comment. Meditate upon these words
and see what they say to you.
Pacing the Cage

Sunset is an angel weeping
Holding out a bloody sword
No matter how I squint I cannot
Make out what it’s pointing toward
Sometimes you feel like you’ve lived too long
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage
I’ve proven who I am
so many times
The magnetic strip’s worn thin
And each time I was someone else
And every one was taken in
Hours chatter in high places
Stir up eddies in the dust of rage
Set me to pacing the cage
I never knew what you
all wanted
So I gave you everything
All that I could pillage
All the spells that I could sing
It’s as if the thing were written
In the constitution of the age
Sooner or later you’ll wind up
Pacing the cage
Sometimes the best map
will not guide you
You can’t see what’s round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend
Today these eyes scan bleached-out land
For the coming of the outbound stage
Pacing the cage
Pacing the cage
Songwriter: Bruce
Published by ©
Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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