The Inner Cathedral: In The Shadows of Tall Buildings

The Inner Cathedral: In The Shadows of Tall Buildings

Every divinely inspired book, every sacred work of art, every piece of music from the depths, every sanctified building are but the outer symbols of an inner reality. However, not many plumb these depths or even dip their toe in these waters.  The mystic knows the truth of this and not through any article of faith or borrowed belief. Jewish mystics call it the “Inner Torah” or “law of the heart.” Christian mystics call it the “way of the interior.” Sufi mystics call it the “wine of the tavern.” Indian mystics call it ” divine bliss.” Philosophers of the perennial wisdom call it the “ground of being”.

When I first heard this song I will share with you today, I thought to myself, “Magnificent. I’ve found another songwriter whose mine of gems will surely bring an extensive treasure of work.” Once again—as in other journeys—it is often that the Muse strikes once, maybe twice in an artist. Carries them somewhere, channels and imprints a trace of that particular sorrowful joy and joyful sorrow: the lot and condition of all those on the path of love.


Jump, Little Children, later known as Jump, was a band formed in 1991 in the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Known for their unique sound, energetic live performances, and willingness to interact with fans, the band built a strong following over their fourteen years together. They played their final show on December 30, 2005 in their adopted hometown of Charleston, South Carolina.

Jay Clifford was the lead singer and main songwriter for the music group Jump, Little Children. He was born November 21, 1971, the son of a boat builder. He studied classical guitar at the North Carolina School of the Arts along with fellow bandmates Matthew Bivins, Evan Bivins and Ward Williams (band member Jonathan Gray joined the band a few years later).

The name “Jump, Little Children” is taken from a song by blues musicians Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

Jay Clifford, Matthew Bivins, Ward Williams, and Christopher Pollen met and formed Jump, Little Children at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC in 1991. The band played their first show on January 1, 1992 as part of a New Year’s Day festival in downtown Winston-Salem.

On June 16, 2005, the band announced that the 10th annual Dock Street Theatre shows at end of 2005 would mark their split. Their final show was a black tie affair in Charleston on December 30, 2005, and featured material from each of the members’ future projects. The show ended with the band and audience of more than 500 people walking from the theatre to the corner of Church and Market Streets for a busking session typical of the band’s early years. “Jump, Little Children” was the last song played. Had it been my vote, I would have asked for “Cathedrals.”


In the shadows of tall buildings
Of fallen angels on the ceilings
Oily feathers in bronze and concrete
Faded colors, pieces left incomplete
The line moves slowly past the electric fence
Across the borders between continents

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome
There is a feeling that you should just go home
And spend a lifetime finding out just where that is

In the shadows of tall buildings
The architecture is slowly peeling
Marble statues and glass dividers
Someone is watching all of the outsiders
The line moves slowly through the numbered gate
Past the mosaic of the head of state


In the shadows of tall buildings
Of open arches endlessly kneeling
Sonic landscapes echoing vistas
Someone is listening from a safe distance
The line moves slowly into a fading light
A final moment in the dead of night

“Cathedrals” by Jump Little Children

No Comments

Post A Comment