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Keep The Candle Burning

Words by Vicky O’Keefe & Adele Torr
Music by Peter O’Keefe © 1990

So sad how
So sad it seems to end
Regrets are few
You always gave us everything
That you had
You held us in your hands
But only when you’re gone
We see all that you’ve done
More than anyone before

And he said;
Light a candle once for me
And hold me in your memory
Just remember when I’m gone

Chorus:
Keep the Candle Burning when I’m gone
Your need to carry on
Follow your feelings and be strong
Keep the Candle Burning
Keep the wheels turning
Keep the Candle Burning when I’m gone
The tide can seem so strong
Come tomorrow it will all be gone
Time keeps on turning
Bridges keep on burning, burning on

As years go by
It seems like yesterday
You held us in your hands
You never wanted more from life
Than the love you got
From giving all you gave
But everything stood still
The day you lost your will
And there was sadness in the air
I guess you will never know
That we won’t just let you go
You’re a part of our souls
And he said:

Chorus:
Keep the Candle Burning when I’m gone
(It won’t stop burning)
You need to carry on
(I’ll carry on)
Follow your feelings and be strong
Keep the Candle Burning
Keep the wheels turning
Keep the Candle Burning when I’m gone
(It won’t stop burning)
The tide can seem so strong
(It seems so strong)
Come tomorrow it will all be gone
Time keeps on turning
Bridges keep on burning
Burning on.

 
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About JO'K

The panegyric given by Brother Marzorini at John O’Keefe’s funeral

I have been asked to say some words about John O’Keefe who so recently passed from among us.

I knew him as an impish four year old when he first came to school in 1939.

I knew him as a boisterous sparkling irrepressible thirteen year old in the middle forties.

I knew him as the disputing, lovable, unpredictable source of all knowledge. Leaving Certificate student of the early fifties.

I knew him as the brash young man who took the mike from sad vocalists at school dances.

He sold me furniture for my community in the middle fifties.

I once told him, “O’Keefe, some day you’ll lead a revolution”, but I didn’t know what it would be... And then it burst.

He flooded Australia with happiness as he leapt into the world of music and swept towards a revolution that was almost as affecting on our society as the music of Haydn and Beethoven had been on the Europe of another day.

It was their kind of music he had experienced (with some reluctance) in a listening group at the Waverley College of his boyhood years.

And then he swept across the land rocking stadiums and stirring youth to noisy action and sometimes annoying oldies like myself. For John O’Keefe was never a man to do anything by halves.

He was intelligent.
He was ambitious.
He was innovative.
He was talented.
He was flamboyant.
He was honest.
He knew his limitations.
His life was hectic.
He wouldn’t walk if he could run.
In his youth he took some restraining.
He would always be thus – the Wild One.
He had strong likes and dislikes.
He was fiercely loyal, he could be blindly prejudiced.
His sense of humour was sparkling and subtle and infectious.
His life was clouds and sunshine.
Its tragedies you know.
His capacity to come again has become a legend.
Sometimes he was all but overwhelmed by the tides of his misfortune.

We who are his friends have never judged him, for the human will is no simple instrument of black and white but a delicate complexity of volition and compulsion, physical and spiritual, psychological and environmental.

Only God can be his judge.  He knows how well John O’Keefe fulfilled the great command to love his neighbour.  Upon this, like all of us, he will be judged.

He gave to others of his talents, of his time, of his possessions, of his love, as though from an endless supply.

I entered St. Vincent’s Hospital for heart surgery at two o’clock one gloomy afternoon.

John came to see me at twenty past. I would ask you to recall just what he did for you. For me he did a thousand thoughtful things. He had often rung me over the years, to tell me his woes. Now he came often, to listen to mine.

One day when I was recovering in North Queensland, he rang to say he had prayed for me at Mass the previous Sunday. And now he has passed into Eternity, the world is weeping.

We join with Ray and Thelma, and Barry and Anne, and Marianne, and John, and Vicki, and Peter, and Maureen, and all the clan O’Keefe, as they mourn his passing.

I mourn with them for my former pupil and my champion friend whom I loved as a father loves his son.

But our tears are not without hope.

I recall Anzac Day 1950 almost thirty years ago, when in this most Holy place, on this very sanctuary just here below the pulpit where I stand, Cadet Sergeant John O’Keefe, in slouch hat, bedecked with trembling Emu feathers, proudly trumpeted the Last Post, that great symbolic call of the Angels of God summoning man to a merciful judgement.

Then a silence, broken by the joyous peels of hope the Reveille, summoning the dead to Life Eternal.

This was the faith of John Michael O’Keefe.

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