Joe Henry

Joe Henry. You may not know Joe Henry, but you’ve heard his words in song for years. He was a lyric collaborator with the late and great John Denver. Joe is an unassuming shy soul whose grace with lyrics is equaled by few.
I once sat with Joe on the lawn outside the music tent in Aspen. We were having lunch. It was a break in the Windstar Symposium; an annual event hosted by John Denver. Joe deflected praises for his lyrics and said John’s music and voice is what makes them great. I believe John made them greater, but they were already great, if not profound.
My friend John St. Augustine posted one of John Denver’s songs on Facebook the other day. It was “The Wings That Fly Us Home.” The words are Joe Henrys’ and they are very spiritual. You should read them before you enjoy the magnificent voice and melody of JD.
There are many ways of being in this circle we call life
A wise man seeks an answer, burns his candle through the night
Is a jewel just a pebble that found a way to shine
Is a hero’s blood more righteous than a hobo’s sip of wine

Did I speak to you one morning on some distant world away
Did you save me from an arrow, did you lay me in a grave
Were we brothers on a journey, did you teach me how to run
Were we broken by the waters, did I lie you in the sun

I dreamed you were a prophet in a meadow
I dreamed I was a mountain in the wind
I dreamed you knelt and touched me with a flower
I awoke with this: a flower in my hand

I know that love is seeing all the infinite in one
In the brotherhood of creatures; who the father, who the son
The vision of your goodness will sustain me through the cold
Take my hand now to remember when you find yourself alone

And the spirit fills the darkness of the heavens
It fills the endless yearning of the soul
It lives within a star too far to dream of
It lives within each part and is the whole
It’s the fire and the wings that fly us home
Fly us home, fly us home


4 thoughts on “Joe Henry”

  1. One of the best songs I know.
    The lyrics are just great and in combination with the voice of John Denver it makes "goose pimples all over".

  2. Joe Henry’s wisdom is unparalleled in contemporary societies writing.

    I just wish he had the same belief in himself that others have in him.

    He is an amazing conduit of the wonderful truth within nature and I adore what he writes 🙂

  3. When perusing a list of my favorite Denver songs, it seems that most that weren’t written by John, himself, were written by Joe. They made an amazing team, and I was often surprised to find that certain songs were not actually done by John, himself….that is the level of artistic cohesion that existed between the two men. Joe was almost like a creative extension of John,….the imagery from the natural world that both employed in their lyrics was incredibly beautiful. They enjoyed a rare degree of synchronicity. Suffice it to say, I could not make a complete list of my favorites without including a fair number that found their origin with Joe Henry.

    1. Dear Gregory,

      I agree. I am now reflecting on this and realize the spiritual awaking happening to me now was seeded by John and Joe Henry’s collaboration. Love your post.

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