Tried and Tested by Bruce Cockburn – The cost of open eyes

You've never seen

(+Notice that there are more than two hands in this picture+)

“Opening” our eyes is not something we do on our own.

Tried and Tested is the “opening” (and an excellent) song from Bruce Cockburn’s 2003 album “You’ve Never Seen Everything.”


Tried and tested
Tried and tested

By the cries of birds
By the lies I’ve heard
By my own loose talk
By the way I walk
By the claws of beasts
By the laws of priests
By the glutton’s feast
By the word police

By the planet’s arc
By the falling dark
By the state of the art
By the beat of my heart
By dark finance
By the marketing dance
By the poverty trance
By the fateful glance

Tried and tested
Tried and tested

By the pressure to rhyme
By the wages of crime
By the drop of a dime
By the ghost of the times
By the spurs of desire
By “What does love require”
By what I waited for
By what showed up at the door

Tried and tested
Tried and tested

By the nation wide
By the tears I’ve cried
By the lure of false pride
By the need to take sides
By the weight of choice
By the still small voice
By things I forget
By what I haven’t met yet

Tried and tested
Tried and tested

Pierced by beauty’s blade and skinned by wind
Begged for more — was given — begged again
I’m still here
I’m still here

Tried and tested
Tried and tested

In his book about Bruce Cockburn called “Kicking at the Darkness,” Brian J. Walsh says this (and much more) about the message of the song:

“A life of attentiveness, a life of having his eyes wide open, has its cost. Whether he is talking about the world around him in all of its political machinations, economic deception, and ecological despoliation or his own compromised and broken life, he has been “tried and tested…This is a life of responsibility, a life that cannot avoid that divine voice whispering through the cacophony.” (P. 186)

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013


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