The Aurian Haller Band

Aurian Haller
Aurian Haller
The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


I wrote this song for my aunt who watched over my uncle with much grace as he struggled against the disease that eventually exhausted him.  My grandmother had three "good husbands," and said she couldn't complain because how many women can say that!  She cared for each at their bedside until the end.  This is for all the women out there who are their man's last good link to the world.


Sweeter than Thee                                            

will you be my lover

will you disconnect the phone

will you come lie beside me

when I am all alone

will you tell them I am sleeping

when they come for me at night

and if they are too great in number

shut the door and bolt it tight

even the honey

is took from the bee

but no one is sweeter

more giving than thee

I have spent all my ambition

and it’s too late to pay you back

but you’re still here to watch over me

making up for the strength I lack


they say there’s no pain

that’s too great to bear

but I’ve come many miles

and it’s followed me everywhere

I’m hit on the inside

with a wound that won’t heal

and it grows like the springtime

with unholy zeal


The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


This is for the patient man.  The one who waits out the storm.  The one who is there to pick up the pieces when it's over.  He's solid gold, baby.




Lady Be Kind                                               


lady be kind before you let go

of the wild horses that have been driving you so

they’re coming like thunder before a rain

and they’ll roll me under carrying your pain


you wear your reasons like an old gown

cause they’ve held your back and they’ve never let you down

you walk this ground almost every day

there’s nothing here but you come anyway


if you burn all your bridges

I’ll come for you in a boat because

I know what set the fire

and I know you’re tired and can’t see what your anger does           


if I look strong I’m just holding this pose

here stopping a door you don’t want to close

I’m not your target I just get in the way

like all these pigeons made out of clay






lady be kind just for tonight

let the ball drop everything will be all right

let it go in the dark like a stone in the sea

all the way down and take your rest with me



The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


In the winter of 98, I moved Montreal to sit in coffee shops and write a book.  I had heard of Quebec winters and the howling North wind.  That winter, they were selling Christmas trees in the rain outside the metro station.  It seemed Vancouver had followed me East.  Perhaps it was just a meteorological metaphor for the work that seemed unable to begin.






it’s trying to be December

but it’s raining like September

something’s happened to the weather

it just can’t pull itself together and get cold


the geese all seem to stick around

and drag their wings on the muddy ground

St. Viateur rings wedding bells

while St. Joseph sells candles for the dead and gone


you can feel it all on Mont Royale

swinging like a wrecking ball

but it’s just the wind come again

and the cross shakes like a weathervane at night


this is the in-between time

before the driving snow

it seems the whole wide world is waiting

for something big to let go


the cemetery’s crowded

and shining like an oyster bed

our bodies drifting closer

want to be together when the tide rolls in

when the tide rolls in


this is the in-between time

before the driving snow

it seems the whole wide world is waiting

for something big to let go 2X 

The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


I've been lucky enough to have known a few of those people who run the world.  Not the politicians nor the pundits, but the ones who bake birthday cakes, who attend community meetings, and make soup for the old man down the hall.  For one reason or another, they're usually women.  This is their hymn.




Hymn for Those                                            


for those who step up when no one can find their feet

who cut off their hair and give up their seat

for those who leave gifts without ringing the bell

I know they are wishing me well


for those who leave plastic flowers until spring

without them the stones wouldn’t mean anything

they stand and remember when I forget

someone has to show some regret


I’ve drunk your wine and eaten your bread

and have occasionally slept in your bed

it’s too late to say but thanks anyway

it’s too late to say but thanks


for those who listen when there’s nothing to say

they know that I need to be heard from that way

and try to be gentle with my little poses

and drive me home when the bar closes


I’ve drunk your wine and eaten your bread

and have occasionally slept in your bed

it’s too late to say but thanks anyway

it’s too late to say but thanks


bridge (piano solo)


for those who can step outside of their skin

and take the trouble to let me in

we’re saved by the small gestures of beauty

the puddles that lead to the sea


chorus 3X


The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


After September 11th, I moved to Athens, Georgia to find work and see magnolia trees. Turns out most of the streets are named after the flower, which is pretty, but geographically pointless.  It was the same with peaches in Atlanta.  We moved with our two cats to Best Drive in the part of town called, Normal Town.  After the events, the lawns and supersized SUVs were sprouting flags, the local Walmart had a wall where you could leave flowers and pay your respects while you shopped.  People mowed the lawn and barbecued with an almost pathological regularity.  The neighbourhood where we lived was built during World War II and had its own white-picket-fence desperation.  We lost the cats the first day and found them up the chimney, as dark as night.  There is a tree in Athens that grows in the middle of a cobbled street.  In a bid to save the tree, the land on which it grew was deeded to the tree itself.  A small chain fence protects it from wayward bumpers.  Every night, a trumpet player from the navy base down the road ushered in the evening.  This was the canvas.  Creepy, but also hopeful in a odd sort of way.  We gathered pecans that fell on the back deck, learned to love grits and mint juleps.



Normal Town                                            


mailboxes all in a row

good news only

dogs have their own Morse code

across the county

all’s well


so many hospitals

we could all be in bed at the same time

the only fire is a barbecue

and the kids are always singing


yeah we’re gonna settle down

we’re gonna make a little life in Normal Town

yeah we’re gonna settle down

we’re gonna make a little life in Normal Town


they’re selling flags at Walmart

to keep our spirits high

Charley’s got a Christmas tree in the yard

so big it’s being watched by the FBI


we don’t need to go to church

they come pick of your junk on Fridays

and as they drive away

I wonder where the week has gone

and it’s time to mow the lawn




I like to sit under the tree that owns itself

if I could only prove it owned me too

would they build a fence around me

and protect me


(verse one again)



The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


Sometimes it seems like we wait forever for things to change and just when we forget to wait, it happens.  And nothing is ever the same again.



Painfully Blue                                       


It’s been a long time I haven’t kept track

I’ve been praying for rain but the sky won’t turn black

I’m there on the porch like I’m waiting for mail

like a man on the sea always watching his sail

and the sky remains painfully blue


we hold out for something simple and good

just to be found and be understood

and they say good things come to those who will wait

I’ve been willing so long

I’m a wide open gate


there are signs for the hunter and for the prey

but too many words are wasted this way

the odds have been generous as numbers can be

they grow wide as oak trees and give shade for free

and painted me pale as a ghost




bridge (Ooo ooo)


love is like water under the bridge

and sex is a postcard I stuck to the fridge

I just want a light that burns only for me

to lighten my step make me weak in the knees

bring me home without brick or stone



The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


At our last family reunion, there were two relatives that met everyone with a gracious smile, hiding their worry at not recognizing so many people.  I had my guitar and started writing this song about living with Alzheimer's.






what’s the point of learning all your names

when all proper nouns will be reclaimed

and the places I’ve been go anonymous

as soon as I have turned my back I become Columbus


I think I’ve met you once or twice before

shared a meal or held the door

and I’d like to tell you I recall it well

like a boy who conjures up the shore with his shell


and I’m in a fishbowl swimming across the ocean

and every day just drifts away

every wave is another extortion


I’ve heard that ignorance can bless you best

and people will be hired for the rest

while those who know you keep you as you were

when everything around you loses its place and starts to blur






and they say that when an empires falls

it always starts with something small

we’re not looking for a new world just the keys

and everywhere we set out for brings us back to our knees






The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


When I ended up on a hospital bed with my heart hooked up to a barrage of monitors, it was the longest night of my life.  I was trying to slow down my heart rate so they'd let me go.  These are the moments we reach down inside to find the image that distills all we know of peace.






I’ll show you the way to the river

where the hours drift so slowly they seem to last all day

and your blanket is an island

you lie on like a washed up stowaway


follow me up to the mountain

where everything below you is a manageable size

and the people are like lego

you can rearrange and love again oh open your eyes


turn around and count to ten again

you’ll still be standing with the dogs at your back

give them all a bone

give them all a bone


let’s lose our way in the garden

where the narcissus has no idea how it grows

and your sorrows are just scratches

you have gotten groping for the rose




and when rivers run dry

and mountains grow cold

the garden’s full of thistles

they’ll be comfort still


wherever you make your little temple

and learn to leave your shoes at the door

I’ll sit with you in tenderness

where you’ll only find by giving up what you’re looking for



The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


There were a few songs that came out of those years in Georgia.  As much as I was struck by the warmth of the Southerners, the general climate of fear after the twin towers collapsed coloured my experience of living in the US.  Things have changed, but it's no conspiracy theory that people are still benefitting from our worry.



Lightning Bug                                     



there’s nothing up but birds in the air

but you’re still uneasy in your easy chair

nothing new has suddenly gone down

the dirt is chemical blue and the water’s still brown


it seems that every town is counting crows

become the capital of crime or of UFOs

they walk among us in everyday disguise

at the KFC when they serve you your fries


at night you burn the porch light

but it’s still not bright enough to see what’s coming

you take a holiday but never get away

what are you taking with you when you go


there’s a lightning bug inside of you

and it’s shocking what it puts you through


its easy to see where your faith has gone

out planting little flags all across the front lawn

and everything you dream shines a light

waiting for this waiting to end and go bump in the night


paranoia made a profit out of Davy Crocket

making sure the coast to coast was clear

when you fly they check your shoes for a hidden fuse

you never know where they might have been




bridge / chorus


there’s nothing up but birds in the air

but you’re still uneasy in your easy chair 

The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


Almost forty and taking the pulse of my life so far: it's too fast and the satisfactions I have had tend to be forgotten in the rush for the next thing.  Time to take the time.







when the sky is gone gunmetal grey

and the night is longer than the day

I should be saving up for a time of scarcity

like all the busy people around me


they say the cold will take your breath away

and blow it out across the frozen bay

just let me linger on a little here

to give the fog a reason to clear


I will be satisfied (yes I will)

I will be satisfied


all the pennies and the stars will lose their shine

like everything that’s temporarily mine

we keep wishing like an empty well

or tower with its high and lonely bell


and I have no restlessness left in me

this is the way it’s meant to be


solo on verse


fit all the wisdom of the world in a cliché

and it’ll seem a simple thing to say

we spend our time like it was going out of style

I just want it to slow down for a while


I will be satisfied (yes I will)

I will be satisfied  2X

The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


In yoga class we're told that the reason we ache is that we're not in our bodies enough to notice the strain we put ourselves through.  The mind is an adventure, but it takes us away from ourselves.  Yoga brings us back.  But there are other ways to remember...



 Lay Me Down                                                       



when my heart is heavy when I’m dreaming dark

like a diving whale or a question mark

I see you all together in my head

Babylon and Joan of Arc your wonders spread


like an ocean in these sheets

your ships and your harbour pass over me

pass over me


I’ve been good at throwing my voice into the night

to keep from getting lonely we make a little light

it’s good to feed the soul but my body needs you most

your breathing is a hymn and your hair the holy ghost


there’s mercy on your skin

for all of the struggles I couldn’t

I couldn’t win


lay me down

pull your mantle over me

lay me down

to sleep


when I’m alarmed by the sirens in the street

and their urgency trips up my tired feet

your body is the ground I come ashore to kiss

there is no plainer gratitude than this


so I’m grateful to the dark

the flood that floated the ark

that floated the ark




solo on verse (guitar)




chorus 2X

The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


Writing about loss and sorrow seems to come easily.  But love is something else, it resists the ballad, at least from my pen.  This one was for my little brother on his wedding day.



As the Earth Waits for Rain


as the earth waits for the rain

I’ve been holding my cup out

as the wind picks up the dust

and blows it all about


I’ve been carried

across the border

into the wide open

and I won’t be going back again


where the river meets the plain

is always giving ground

letting go into the current

is the surest thing I’ve found


there are things

I’ll never know

and what I know may not be true

but I’ll take a chance with you


cause every place I want to go is already here

like riding a bike with no hands at all to steer

I’m spinning like a satellite ignoring all control

I’m broken to be whole


when you came back from the beach

with the ocean in your eyes

I became a distance swimmer

as far as the gull flies


I can’t find

any words

there’s no metaphor can say

what it’s like to feel this way


chorus / bridge / chorus



The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller


In the end we need to be accompanied, more than we need to be understood.  This is the driving song, for that little tin machine rocketing through time and space with nothing but a dial for company.



Turn Up the Radio                                       



hey stranger have you heard the news

I saw it written on my muddy shoes

the valley’s flooded and the dam is gone

this is a lonely island we’re on


doctor what’ve I got to lose

your face is longer than the words you use

how will I make it through this sleepless night

just tell me everything will be all right


turn up the radio

I want to listen to a song I know

miles go easy when they’re loud

we all sing better in a crowd


sweet sister when you hold my heart

hold it like a purse that’s come apart

I spent it like it was big as the open sea

now it’s too careworn to be carefree


bridge (doo, doo, doo…)


we hold up our end of the conversation

without fishing for information

and the sound we make drifts across the lake

cause we’re the only ones left awake




in the end I need your company

more than I need you to understand me

it’s like a song you heard when you forget the words

but you remember its short melody


chorus 2X

The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller
The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller
The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller
The Aurian Haller Band
Aurian Haller
Aurian Haller