SONGS:
-- Waiting For A Miracle --
January 1986. Managua, Nicaragua.


Found on:

Waiting For A Miracle, Singles 1970-1987 (1987) [compilation album]

Anything Anytime Anywhere, Singles 1979-2002 (2002) [compilation album]
Lyrics:

Look at them working in the hot sun
The pilloried saints and the fallen ones
Working and waiting for the night to come
And waiting for a miracle

Somewhere out there is a place that's cool
Where peace and balance are the rule
Working toward a future like some kind of mystic jewel
And waiting for a miracle

You rub your palm
On the grimy pane
In the hope that you can see
You stand up proud
You pretend you're strong
In the hope that you can be
Like the ones who've cried
Like the ones who've died
Trying to set the angel in us free
While they're waiting for a miracle

Struggle for a dollar, scuffle for a dime
Step out from the past and try to hold the line
So how come history takes such a long, long time
When you're waiting for a miracle

You rub your palm
On the grimy pane
In the hope that you can see
You stand up proud
You pretend you're strong
In the hope that you can be
Like the ones who've cried
Like the ones who've died
Trying to set the angel in us free
While they're waiting for a miracle



Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • 1990 -

    "The second trip to Nicaragua produced this song. Three years of low intensity conflict since my first visit - the revolution was getting tired, not over all, not hopeless, but tired."

    - from "Rumours of Glory 1980-1990" (songbook), edited by Arthur McGregor, OFC Publications, Ottawa, 1990. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.


  • 20 April 1997 -

    "That song [Waiting for a Miracle] was written in Nicaragua, but it fits a few places. The last place where I've been where it might be said to be true was Mozambique where I was about a year and a half ago. Mozambique had a war not unlike the one in Nicaragua actually, only instead of the U.S. supporting the contras it was South Africa supporting a group called RENAMO. Their job was pretty much the same, fuck everything up as much as you can for as long as you can. They were more successful, I think, in Mozambique than in Nicaragua and it was bad enough, of course, there. In Mozambique they were pretty much totally successful, so what you see now in place of a country is some lines on a map, some people in uniform...a flag or two, that's about it. There is no infrastructure of any kind, however this is information from a year and a half ago, things may have improved. One thing that definitely did improve was that after 25 years or so of warfare a peace accord was signed and elections were held and it's one of the few examples of that kind of thing going on in recent times that has held. But people, in the process of trying to reconstruct or construct a country out of the ruins that are left are faced with many problems.

    Some of the obvious ones, the same ones we are familiar with from watching war movies from anywhere. There's all kinds of self-interest and corruption and exploitation by whoever's got the money. There are some noble attempts being made but those noble attempts are hampered at pretty much every turn by the presence of large numbers of land mines, which cause a problem if you're trying to grow food because you're liable to hit one with your hoe, if you're trying to gather firewood or fruit from the forest because the kids that you send out to do that might step one. If you succeed in growing food you can't get your stuff to market because the trucks have to drive over roads that may be mined, and so it goes...I'll spare you my speech on landmines, if there's anything that any of you can do to further the cause of a global ban on those things, please do it, because you'll be helping hundreds of thousands of people. This is called The Mines of Mozambique."

    - direct quote from a tape of a concert on 20 April 1997, at The Egg, Albany, NY, USA. Anonymous submission.

  • 2 July 2005 -

    "These are some songs . . . I'm going to sing some songs that I wrote as a result of my first few encounters with what we think of as the 'Third World' quite a few years ago now. Although sometimes the first impressions they don't go deep, they are intense -- and those are the things that make songs. But I just wanted to make an observation about a phrase like 'Third World.' We can say 'Third World' and we form a picture in our mind of whatever that means to us. But what a lot of us don't include in that picture is that the 'Third World' is made up of people, of human beings just like us -- in the same boat as us, with the same kinds of dreams and hopes and wishes for a happy life. Their dreams may be a little scaled down from some of ours. They may be hoping that their kids will live to see the age of five. You know, most of us can assume that's going to happen, but in a lot of the world they don't. But you know, these are people with human faces, with lives, with individual talents and characteristics . . ." [plays If I Had A Rocket Launcher and Call It Democracy]

    "Sometimes you'll hear the professional cynics in the media telling you that all of this is bullshit, that we're not really accomplishing anything here because the countries in question are ruled by corrupt leaders who are just going to take the money and do something with it that we don't approve of. And you will hear that said. But what you don't hear said at the same time, and it should be, is that these corrupt leaders have been historically propped up in the positions they're in by the same governments, the eight countries we're addressing today. So now is the time to make oneself hear. If the G8 pulled their support for these leaders, they would topple."
    [begins strumming Miracle]

    "I wrote this song for all the people who put their lives on the line working to accomplish some of the same things that we're trying to accomplish today. But there's a whole lot of people who never get attention (and maybe they don't really want it either) who are out there working for charitable agencies, working for all sorts of different organizations with the people in the countries in question. They are the true heroes of this day and of every effort to change things for the better."

    - Transcribed by Glen Philip Hansman from a videotape of the 2 July 2005 Live 8 Concert.

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.