This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Bad Hymns 15

The judges of the Eccles Bad Hymn Award are very pleased to welcome Fr John Glynn, who is going to tell us about his hymn I watch the sunrise.


I watch the sunrise.

E: Good to have you here, John. I see from your website that your hymn has been used in a variety of contexts: radio, TV, films,... why, some people even sing it at weddings and funerals.

JG: Yes, it also makes a great accompaniment to Tom and Jerry cartoons, especially the bit where Jerry is hitting Tom over the head with a hammer: he sings the moving words, I watch the hammer, hitting your head.

E: Well, that's enough free advertising. Let's talk about the hymn itself. There's a lot in it about what you do all day long, but not much about God, really.

JG: I've got a lot of time on my hands these days, Eccles, and I do spend most of the day staring out of the window.

E: So I see. Now, in verse 1 you've got up bright and early to see the sunrise, and you're rambling on about the shadows the sun casts.

JG: Yes, many worshippers don't realise that the sun casts shadows, so I thought I'd point this out.


Evidence that the sun does indeed cast shadows.

E: But of course God is close as well. That's the main message of the hymn - in fact the only one - apart from a detailed description of what you do all day long. I watch the sunrise/sunlight/sunset/moonlight.

JG: Here's a verse we didn't use, Eccles. It was again about watching things, but it has a tragic theme to it.

I watch the toaster warming the bread,
Grilling my toast for tea,  
But, as it pops up into my face,
I feel that pain is near me.
E: It would be good for funerals, maybe, John. Moments of sadness, and all that. Not so good for weddings, maybe,

JG: No, also it does get away slightly from the main theme of the song, which is astronomical observations.

Patrick Moore

I watch the planets, when the sky's clear, bumbling along their ways.

E: I was going to ask about that, actually. What do you do when it's cloudy, and you can't see the sun?

JG: Go down to the pub, usually. I didn't write a verse about that.

rising sun

John Glynn's favourite pub.

E: I still have this problem that I confuse your song with another better-known one:

I see skies of blue,
And clouds of white.
The bright blessed day,
The dark sacred night.
And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world. 

Oh yeah.
wonderful world

What John Glynn was trying to say.

JG: Yes, that does seem to have as much religious content as my own song. It's even got the words "blessed" and "sacred" in it, so we know it's a genuine hymn. And the "Oh yeah" at the end is classic Paul Inwood, if I'm not mistaken.

E: Jealous?

JG: Just a bit. Still, my hymn is in all the hymn books, and that's what counts. Also, the producers of a forthcoming Dracula musical have been thinking of getting the Count to sing a new verse:

Can't see the sunlight, I'm underground,
Lying inside my tomb,
And, as I rest from chasing the girls, 
I feel the earth is near me.
E: You could use that verse at funerals too, couldn't you? John Glynn, thank you for talking to us.

Previous entries for the Eccles Bad Hynm Award:

Lord of the Dance.    Shine, Jesus, shine.    Enemy of apathy.    Walk in the Light.
Kum Ba Yah.    Follow me.    God's Spirit is in my heart.    Imagine.    Alleluia Ch-ch.
It ain't necessarily so.    I, the Lord of sea and sky.    Colours of day.    The red flag.
Go, the Mass is ended.


  1. Right. In all fairness, though: I imagined the hymn to this setting:

    Imagine a CRPG (Christian RPG) credit scene. A priest walks the long journey from the place where the final conflict happened, all the way back to his home parish. Morning passes, afternoon, evening, night. The hymn is either doen only with voices, or with piano, organ and vioces -- but at any rate, it is slow and solemn. Emphasis is given to the latter two lines of the verse (just by adding one harmony line or two), because that time of the day reminds the priest that God is near.

    That is one credits scene we have GOT to see.

    But I will say, right off the bat: I don't know if this works well as a funeral hymn..... >_>

  2. Um, it is true dat sometimes I doesn't fully understand wot de song is reely supposed to be about.

  3. I booked that for my forthcoming funeral! Wedding hymn? Be over in a week!

  4. all the rest you can chuck out and burn ( as will the authored, in hell)

  5. Eccles, I am reeely confused by the reference to RPG, which I remember as a programming language in the 80s and 90s not dissimilar to COBOL.

  6. It stands for rocket-propelled grenade.