Don't Doff Your Hat

from by Jon Watts

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lyrics

The scene is calm.
The pastor speaks.
The people sit
in their seats.

The aisles are long.
The church is dark.
It's nearly impossible
to find your spark.

A woman coughs
a baby cries.
The echo is infinite
You close your eyes.
The air is musty
it smells like dust.

You're wondering why
You keep coming back.
I mean, you could be working
or flat on your back,
enjoying the gifts of the creation.

But a matter of law
is a matter of fact.
You pay a tithe to the church.
You pay more than a tax.
You pay in spirit.

Your children are hungry.
The preacher spouts threats
about going to hell
and paying your debts
and you believe him
because he wears that hat.

Then...

In strolls George Fox,
looking like he knows something,
speaking in verse
as if the words weren't rehearsed.
He makes people panic
and they turn away, afraid;
immediately apprehensive
until they heard him say,

"Yo, pastor,
this pulpit is sacred
but so is the shop where I bought my shoes
and these people are sacred
as they're sitting in their pews
they don't know God's love
any less than you."

And sometimes,
when the man is through with his verse
the people rise up
and follow him out of the church
but most times he just gets himself arrested.

He says "powers are vested
in only the few
but God vested his power into you."

It's like this mister Quaker
in your broad brim hat.
You don't doff that hat for nobody.
And if you did doff it,
often its a solemn
little following
of Christ
or the Inner Light.
Whatever you can call it.

In a prison in Exeter
a prisoner got a letter.
He sits in the corner unspoken.
They said he healed people.
Yhey said he might be Christ
with the letter next to him
unopened.

He had written hundreds of pamphlets
to the enemies of Friends.
God was sending him to
listen to the answers,
but one fanciful question
that he had to entertain,
in the same way
as he prayed to understand it.

James Naylor hadn't slept for days.
He might have missed the gameplan
in the following ways
but it also might be true that he was faithful.

He keeps saying the saviors don't favor the few
and that Christ speaks through me too.

It's like this mister Quaker
in your broad brim hat.
You don't doff that hat for nobody.
And if you did doff it
often its a solemn
little following
of Christ
or the Inner Light.
Whatever you can call it.

And is he simple?
Hell yes
that man is simple,
with his simple dress
his simple speech
a simple smile upon his dimple.
When he walks down the street
that street is his temple
cause when you got the right sentiment
every place is sentimental.

And when he sees a noble man
he doesn't call him "you"
because he's talking to one person
not to two.

Because he's kind of a leveller
and he's kind of a ranter
and he's standing with a lantern
trying to show you the light,
cause when the Spirit's on fire
it can burn so bright.

It's like this mister Quaker
in your broad brim hat.
You don't doff that hat for nobody
and if you did doff it
often its a solemn
little following
of Christ
or the Inner Light.
Whatever you can call it.

Okay, so to Mr. George Fox,
Don't doff your hat.

And to James Nayler,
Don't doff your hat.

And out to Margaret Fell,
Don't doff your hat.

And to Solomon Eccles,
Don't doff your hat.

Isaac Penington...
Don't doff your hat.

And to John Woolman,
Don't doff your hat.

I said Lucretia Mott,
Don't doff your hat.

And out to William Penn,
Don't doff your hat.

credits

from Clothe Yourself in Righteousness, released September 23, 2011
Written by Jon Watts
Violin by Marina Vishnyakova
Cello, Mixing and Mastering by Jake Thro

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Jon Watts Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Quaker poet-producer-songsmith in West Philly.

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