There’s a lyric buzzing round my head these days and I can’t shake it off. It comes from a song by the brilliant Bruce Cockburn and expresses the fragile wonder that comes from living on the edge – something Cockburn returns to again and again. In this case he muses about the fragile vulnerability of human existence – life that could be snuffed out in a second because we are all mortal – and introduces a violent and striking image. In the last verse of Lovers in a dangerous time (originally on the Stealing Fire album of 1984) he sings:

stealingfireWhen you’re lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime —
But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight —
Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

I think it’s buzzing round my head because of some of the other stuff buzzing round the ether in the last few days.

How, for instance, do we react to the sheer lies and shameless disinformation about the propagated about the NHS on the other side of the Atlantic – and revealed today to be backed by a number of Tory MPs? Should we simply let it go on the grounds that ‘truth will out’ eventually? Or should we just offer David Cameron sympathy for having been unfortunate enough to end up leading the Tories in the first place and get off his back?

In the starkly arresting image introduced by the pacifist Cockburn in this song written in the context of 1980s Central America (remember the Contras and all that?), we are exhorted not to lie back and think of our own comfort, but to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight. It’s a tough and uncomfortable image. But it is also what the Old Testament prophets did and it’s what ultimately got Jesus nailed to a cross.

So, I guess there’s no way out. Where injustice rules or mortality (and its consequences) are ignored, we have no option but to keep kicking until the daylight seeps out.

A different take on a similar theme would, of course, be Michelangelo’s famous block of stone. He looked at it and saw an angel waiting to emerge from it. Unfortunately, it took an awful lot of sweat and angst to chip away at the stone till the angel ’emerged’.

On a more trivial matter, we might as well stop kicking at Chelsea. The new Premier League football season finished yesterday where it left off in May with Chelsea being given enough extra time to score their lucky winning goal. Do they use voodoo or something else to get these favours? (But, at least Everton’s 1-6 defeat to Arsenal was indisputable… and I am writing this before Liverpool kick off their season against Spurs, just in case…)

Anyway, here’s a live version of Lovers in a dangerous time, sung with Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies at a 9/11 benefit concert.