Centerpoint - Poetry & Music For Christmas

by Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning with Dallas McKennon

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A recording for the Advent season featuring a music score of traditional and original Christmas melodies with poetry written by Keith Patman and read by Dallas McKennon.

Featuring –
Jeff Johnson: Keys & voice
Brian Dunning: Flutes
Dallas McKennon: Reader
Paul Chasman: Acoustic guitar
Roger Hadley: Percussion
Rick Crittenden: Bass

Music Review –

This unique project combines spoken work with emotive music and the results are stirring and breathtaking. Original and traditional compositions are mixed for a feeling of timelessness, but it is Patman's haunting poetry, read by the warm tones of McKennon, that make this more than just another Christmas album. – CCM


released March 15, 1990

Produced, engineered & mixed by Jeff Johnson at The Ark / Tigard, OR
Sound effects recorded by Ark Mobile.

℗ 1990 Ark Records, Inc. / ArkMusic
Original music and arrangements by Jeff Johnson except "Carol Of The Bells" arranged by Jeff Johnson & Paul Chasman.
© 1990 Sola Scriptura Songs (BMI)
Administered by

Poems by Keith Patman © 1980
From the original book of twelve Christmas poems entitled, "Centerpoint."

Cover art by Kathy Hastings © 1990

In memory of William L. Dillinger & Billi Dillinger Pittman.


"Centerpoint" is also available on iTunes.


all rights reserved



Jeff Johnson

ArkMusic recording artist, composer, producer, and Selah worship leader has released numerous solo recordings along with collaborations with Irish flutist, Brian Dunning inspired by Stephen Lawhead's novels and guitarist, Phil Keaggy. View Jeff's complete discography here: ... more

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Track Name: Another Mystery I Pose (Poem)
This Mystery I Pose
By Keith Patman
© 1980

it is mystery enough
this pulsing starlight blazing,
grazing pine tops,
glazing virgin snows.
and yet another mystery I pose:
what pulse is this that beats
beneath a virgin's pulse?
what light from east of earth's end
blazes in this bestial close?
Track Name: The Bondage Of Corruption (Poem)
The Bondage Of Corruption
By Keith Patman
© 1980

The world, upon its axis whirling, groans.
The flitting sparrow flinches, flails, and falls.
An aching hollow howls within the bones
Of bird and beast and man; the death-curse palls
Once-glad creation. Stung with sorrow, pain,
We toil and struggle under leaden skies
And wail like Israel in Pharaoh's reign,
"How long, O Lord, will you ignore our cries?"
God's Holy Spirit bears the troubled prayer
Aloft, with a more deeply uttered groan
Than ever echoed in earth's bitter air,
And lets the burden fall before the throne.
God answers. From a starlit hillside creche
A pain-cry rings as cold air bites new flesh.
Track Name: Snow (Poem)
By Keith Patman
© 1980

Was it a cold awakening Christmas morning
In a wooden trough,
In spite of straw and swaddling clothes and angel songs?
That was not to be the last time
You'd be laid upon the wood
(There were Herods, Judases from the start
Among the stars and shepherds).
And did they smile, those simple folk,
And kiss your tiny hands and weep delight?
They'd touch those hands again someday,
Believing you through cracks and scars.
Then oh! the million Christmas mornings
When you'd lie, a babe again,
Beneath a million million trees
And hear the countless tongues chanting your name.
And oh! the white snow on black shingles
Where icy crystals capture windows
And fires glow and mistletoe is wreathed and strung.
But ah . . . will they remember crimson
Dripping from the iron nails
And will they pray and will they know
A whiter white than
Track Name: Lord Of Green And Red (Poem)
Lord Of Green And Red
By Keith Patman
© 1980

Reminiscence of Eden's budding,
Essence of things which grow,
Green is the tinge of beginnings,
The power asleep in a crocus bulb
Held in winter's tight-clenched fist
Beneath the bleak unwarmth of snow:
Beneath the snow, O Lord, the green.

Staunch in the cold of an innyard,
Juniper! holly! mistletoe!
Green is the wail of a midnight birth,
The color of atomic dance
When sparkling angels celebrate,
Springing Root of Jesse, O
Lord of all that is green!

Glow of a bright flame burning
In the warm heart of a cattle shed,
Red is the hue of deep, deep things:
Rich bone marrow – Word enfleshed;
"A sword shall pierce" – the mother's pain.
Praise be, O Rose of Sharon, Lord of Red!
Praise be for dark wine sparkling
On the table of the broken bread!
Track Name: Judah's Lion (Poem) / Carol Of The Bells
Judah's Lion
By Keith Patman
© 1980

Where does the lion, Judah's golden lion walk?
Stealthy under star by winter night his soft paws stalk.
Out on lonely hills a cold wind howls and darkness scowls;
Shepherds shiver – danger in the dark! – some wild beast prowls.
Suddenly up springs a light; a voice rings like a bell:
"Joy, O men of Judah! Come and see! Noel! Noel!"
Where lies Judah's longed-for lion? "Come and see the sight!
Fear not – your golden one is couched among the lambs tonight."
Track Name: Inversion (Poem)
By Keith Patman
© 1980

winter: groundwater, earth, snow, sky . . .
four strata transpierced by the black trees,
empty branches upraised.

Creator Spirit, creature man . . .
an inverted tree spans these,
branches earthward, roots in eternity.
white almond flower fleshes fair:
mother, behold your son; man and cattle,
witness the small body's bloom.
this blossom's end, death, is for rich fruit,
cull of creation's stratum.
eating almonds, we watch the white petals fall skyward . . .
we shall die heavenward too!
Track Name: The Heavens Declare (Poem) / Wexford Carol
The Heavens Declare
By Keith Patman
© 1980

The snow has drifted deep against the door
And smoke is flung, a truce flag to the sky.
Long shadows stalk the hills. The fox's cry
Is carried, lonely, with the north wind's roar.
Across the meadow's shadow-marbled floor
The hoof prints of the racing roe deer lie,
And high above the pines which sway and sigh
A silver sickle sails and two stars soar.
All doors are barred and fires made to blaze –
Upon the hills no human voice is heard –
Yet sickle-sharp, the songs of glory reach
Across a million miles in perfect praise;
The moon, in wordless tribute to the Word,
Night unto winter night uttereth speech.