John Gorka : Semper Fi

There are no ordinary lives.

Take the time to attend to an ordinary life and you will find; dramas and disasters, triumphs and terrors, hope and horror and stories more fantastical than Dostoevsky ever imagined.

Solar systems of fascinating and moving stories.

Stories just like yours.

Stories entirely different to yours.

Stories which will make you laugh and cry and shake your head at the wonder of it all.

The wonder of it all.

Sometimes you’ll hear a story and think – well, that’s a story I can identify with even though  it never happened to me.

That’s a story that needed to be told.

And, stories that need to be told need attentive listeners.

John Gorka is a songwriter who ponders stories in his heart so that the songs that emerge carry an enormously powerful emotional charge.

Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why

Semper fi fe fo fum
Look out peacetime here we come
*
*

A Family story.

One man’s Father and a story he carried within him for silent decades.

My father joined the leathernecks
To stay out of the mines

The new marine was just fifteen
In 1939

A story of a nation and its leaders.

My father met Eleanor Roosevelt
In 1945
The war at last was over then
And they were still alive
*
Her husband was the President
Till he ran out of time
Her Franklin D. was history
And they’d put him on the dime
*

A story of a War which left a bloody trail all over the world.

There were medals and malaria
The south pacific war
Through jungles that were paradise
And were paradise no more

A story that excavates buried torments

Some of the men who did survive
Were not the lucky ones
My father lay recovering
The hurt was all inside

Sometimes the wounds that never heal
Are easiest to hide
*
A story that tells you hard truths.
*
Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why
War is only good for those
Who make and sell the guns
*
A story that reminds us that in the midst of terror and chaos what saves us is kindness and love.
*
When Eleanor came bearing gifts
To San Francisco Bay
She gave my dad a blanket
In the hospital that day
*
That blanket meant alot to him
My mother has it still

*
Some forget the kindnesses
That others never will

A story that’s a nightmare and a hard won blessing.
*
Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why
Semper fi fe fo fum
Look out peacetime here we come
*
 
Soldiers fight and soldiers die
Soldiers live to wonder why
Semper fi fe fo fum
Look out peacetime here we come
*
*
In the interviews I have seen with John Gorka he appears charmingly modest and hesitant.
*
But playing live, having pondered the story he is about to tell, when his fingers encounter the guitar and he sings a voice emerges which is deep, rich and resonant.
*
In Semper FI  John has been faithful to the lived experience of his father.
A 15 year old boy who grew up during a dark depression only to travel thousands of miles to grow up faster than anyone ever should among shot and shell and death.
*
John Gorka has also been faithful and done honour to the craft of song writing.
*
Semper Fi.
*
Semper Fi.
*

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