Featured song: Annie The Poet, by Michael Omartian, from his 1976 album, Adam Again.

I grew up during the 1960s, and began to pay attention to the phenomenon of rock & roll music by the middle of the decade. I remember many summer afternoons swimming at the community pool down the street from our home, with the background of current pop music playing over the loudspeakers. When I hear the songs “Sunshine Superman” by Donovan, or “Summer In The City” by The Loving Spoonful, it makes me think of that pool (and also identifies it as the summer of 1966).

This was further brought to my recollection as I listened to The History Of Rock & Roll “rockumentary” recently. Those who identified with the music of the 60s saw a change in the worldview presented as the decade progressed. It started with a focus on love, cars, and fun, and by the end of the decade the music was dealing with more weighty subjects and introspection about the Vietnam war and uncertainty about life itself. There were still “fun” songs, but many were more concerned about the realities of life and the world.

Not only were songwriters paying attention to these issues, but some of them were also thinking about spiritual matters. Beatle George Harrison stated in an interview:

The main thing that I felt from the 60s thing that happened was the realization that all the goodness and all the strength and things that can support life, is all coming out of love. And not just as simple … as one guy saying to a chick “I love you”, you know, as a personal, as an emotional kind of a thing, that is. But the love … just real love which is like unconditional love. [Because] so often we say, “I love you if“, you know; “I love you when“, “I love you but“. And that’s not real love. You know, I don’t want to just hear the word, I want to feel it and see it and be it.

Harrison had the right idea about the selflessness necessary for real love, but he sadly was unaware of the true Source of that love. His former bandmate John Lennon later voiced some of his philosophy in his song Imagine: Imagine there’s no heaven, no hell below, no religion, no possessions. His rejection of True Spirituality caused him to turn his eyes away from those aspects of spiritual reality to what he thought was the truth. In actuality, he also had cut himself away from Truth.

Like these poets of the 60s, many at that time who had no firm spiritual anchor found themselves pulled and pushed by the social and metaphysical tides and storms of the decade. Some found themselves washed ashore with sadness, hopelessness, or worse. And many wondered if there was anything better to look forward to. Pop and rock music was not the cause of this state of mind, but was rather a reflection of it. The music forced many to face the realities of life.

Music affects people on so many levels: emotionally, intellectually, and sometimes physically. For people like me, the greatest effect has been the impact of the lyrics; that’s why on the posts I’ve made on this blog, I’ve wanted very much to illustrate the value of songs through their words. The quality of the music dresses up the words, just as icing on a cake makes it perfect.

Those words can have a profound impact on the heart of an open listener, for better or worse. Searchers for truth in the late 1960s and early 1970s would immediately jump on the words being sung, if it provided a glimpse into that truth. Today’s song relates the desire of the writer, Michael Omartian, to get beyond the superficial things that people say, and dive into the feelings in their hearts. And the “poet” that he was encouraging the listener to hear was, in reality, Annie Herring of the 2nd Chapter Of Acts. Listen to Omartian’s words, and then go and pull out some of songs from Annie’s group to deepen your heart.

I don’t wanna hear about your conquests
Or your casual affairs
Each one a great new story,
But who cares?

I wanna know about your feelings
Or the ache in your heart
The thoughts that make you what you are
That set you apart.
‘Cause maybe I’ve had them, too

I come to where you’re playing often
And you know why I do
‘Cause maybe you will sing about
What I have felt, too

Of things I’ve never told a soul
Because of my pride
And long time fears that keep it hidden
Way down inside
And I’ll know what you mean

And I’ll say, Go hear Annie the poet
She sings of something she’s lost
Mistakes that were made in her childhood
And the price that they’ve cost
Well I have lost that, too

And I’ll say, Go see Annie the poet
She sings of something she’s found
I don’t see that in my own life
When I look around
I want to find that, too
I want to find that, too

The rich man hears the word of truth
And doesn’t care
The poor man sees his prospects
Scattered everywhere

Well I’m a poor man
Looking to get rich upon your words
So lift my heavy spirit
With the truth you’ve heard
And I’ll know what you mean

And I’ll say, Go hear Annie the poet
She sings of something she’s lost
Mistakes that were made in her childhood
And the price that they’ve cost
Well I have lost that, too

And I’ll say, Go see Annie the poet
She sings of something she’s found
I don’t see that in my own life
When I look around
I want to find that, too
I want to find that, too

Adam Again, 1976, Michael Omartian

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One Response to “The Poet”

  1. I’d often wondered if Herring was Omartian’s inspiration for this tune. Maybe his LP liner notes made it clear, but I lost my “Adam Again” LP years ago.

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