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The Forest and the Trees (feat. Munit Mesfin)

by Bill Crandall

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Song 4 of 10, title track The Forest and the Trees. The series takes various approaches to imagining our climate-changed future and our place in it. This song envisions a former Zen warrior in Japan, now retired to his gardening and sumi-e landscape painting. One night a mystical being appears, warning of environmental catastrophe and that he is needed once again. Of course the call is really for all of us. (Please forgive my creative liberties with the Japanese language)

Featuring Ethiopian singer Munit Mesfin as the nature-guardian :).



dragon veins
brush strokes fade away
mind’s eye brew
hillside view to follow
a tiger school

scrape the ground
see what wants to be found
scrape the sky
feel but don’t try to find
the other side

still stone pool
plastic infused
the birch song veil
and the stick bird’s wail
the forest and the trees

faint reward
souvenir from the war
the swordsman’s name
lamplight sumi-e pain
haiku noon attitude

under a new moon white
on the mountain shade side
a world in a grain
call the ocean by name
in the garden night breeze
she comes but not for me
to whisper a scream
across the faded canopy:

hakai keiro (“path of destruction”)

she said:

“a better way
find it in the feeling
won’t you hear my song
find that words are healing
if you sing along”


released June 24, 2021
Music, words, and art by Bill Crandall
Additional vocals by Munit Mesfin


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Bill Crandall Takoma Park, Maryland

Bill Crandall is an American singer-songwriter and photographer.

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