Click Here for ‘I Am Time’ Performed by John Platania and Written by Elwood H. Smith

by Sister Julie Ann on September 1, 2010

While the month of September beckons for more serious study time,  important decisions related to job-related searching or deeper personal questions resulting from life, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity highlight I Am Time written by Elwood H. Smith and performed by John Platania.

About Elwood

Illustrator Elwood H. SmithElwood H. Smith is a Michigan born, Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and Institute of Design at IIT in Chicago educated, most highly recognizable and well respected professional in the field of  illustration. His illustrations have appeared regularly in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal & The New York Times to name just a few editorial clients. He’s worked with many major advertising agencies world wide. His graphic excellence has also led to animation character development,  children’s books and two musicals for children.

Music has been a huge part of Elwood’s life with learning to play guitar when a teenager and writing songs since the early 70s. Collaborating with John Platania on the “Lucky Dog” CD (I Am Time is from that album) was one of his life’s creative highlights. See more.



Comments From Elwood Re: ‘I AM TIME’

Even as a small child, I had a powerful sense of the passing of time. My grandfather, George Herbert Smith, lived with us for a while following his first stroke. He died in our home not long after his second stroke. My father liked to tell stories of his father: Herb, the town fiddler who played in dance bands and of his skills as a hunter, a woodcutter, a photographer and an artist who painted pinstripes on Model-Ts. But I remember him as a stricken, feeble old man and that dichotomy instilled in me a sense of the dreamlike, inexplicable quality of the passing of time. He was one man in the old sepia photos and the stories and another person entirely as he sat partially paralyzed in our living room. How could that be, I wondered?

Many decades have passed since my grandfather died and, while my life has been filled with much joy and happiness, I am acutely aware of the fragile state of life: of my own life and the lives of my loved ones.

My song, I Am Time–so powerfully interpreted by my friend, John Platania–is an attempt to distill my feelings about life’s fragility into a small musical poem.

About John

John PlataniaJohn Platania is one of rock and roots music’s consummate guitar players. And his stellar resume as a player backs that contention: recording and touring with such master singer-songwriters as Van Morrison, Don McLean, Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins and Natalie Merchant,who collaborated with him on the writing and production of Blue Waltzes and The Badland Borders, released on Taylor’s Train Wreck Records. John is also a producer and arranger as well as a composer of music for television and theatrical productions.

A musical journey that began while he was growing up in the Hudson River Valley of New York State studying piano at a Catholic parochial school, John started playing in bands at the age of 15. His deep and broad musical grounding informed many other varied musical ventures e.g.  Emmy-winning revue None For The Road, a 1983 public service production educating teens about the perils of drinking, drugs and driving; scoring theatrical works for Sail Productions including The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman, arranging music forWhoopi Goldberg’s children television show Whoopi’s Littleburg. Read more.

Comments from John RE: I Am Time

When Elwood Smith presented “I Am Time” to me, the song was in a very simple state – voice & guitar. Upon my initial listen through, my focus went to the lyric. I was impressed by the their “anthemic” quality.

And that’s how I approached my arrangement for the song. I tried to insure that I didn’t get musically bombastic as ….. “rock anthems” tend to become. I wanted to insure that the song didn’t come off as “high minded” while still maintaining a reverence for what I felt was Elwood’s “spiritual’ intent.

I think I can speak for Elwood when I say we’re honored that “I Am Time” was chosen to be featured as the song of the month at the ‘Franciscanized World’s website.



Lyrics: ‘I AM TIME’

I am time

I’m the flash before the storm

I am time

I’m the distance from the shore

I’m the dark before the rising

The slate before the stain

I’m the tear no longer falling

The trust before the pain

I am time

I am time

I’m the blade against the grain

I am time

I am gone, but I remain

I’m the sound before disaster

The kiss before goodbye

I’m the now, before and after

The promise and the lie

I am time

© 2001 Elwood H. Smith

14 thoughts on “Click Here for ‘I Am Time’ Performed by John Platania and Written by Elwood H. Smith”

  1. Agreed. I found myself doing a ‘St. Bonaventure study’ of this song: “weighing the writer’s intention and the meaning of the words…mulling over the song with the greatest care”. Lovely and beautiful truly describe the experience. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Malooga says:

    Absolutely lovely and powerful.

  3. Odis7 says:

    Beautiful song, another great collaboration of you and John. You are one sweet artist brother

  4. Agreed. I found myself doing a ‘St. Bonaventure study’ of this song: “weighing the writer’s intention and the meaning of the words…mulling over the song with the greatest care”. Lovely and beautiful truly describe the experience. Thanks for your comment

  5. SCAROLANN says:

    Thia song reminds me of Eccl 3:1-11. God makes everything happen for a reason. God works in the lives of people all the time, even when we do not know it’s happening.

    Great song. very inspiring.

    Sister Carol Ann and the 8th grade at Saint Theresa, Kekaha

  6. Since you are into Scripture texts…'Now is the accepted time, now is the time' to download this great song!

  7. Sister Monica, novice says:

    What a beautiful song! I have experienced the same dichotomy as Elwood while spending time with the older sisters in our infirmary, particularly the ones with various types of dementia. Yet their joy at this stage of their life is contagious, and I am a better person because of them.

    The musical arrangement by John is incredible. I don't know a lot about the composition of music, but I know I like it!

  8. Sjune says:

    The song is very inspiring and the guitar music is wonderful.

  9. Leslie says:

    This song is amazing. I'm not sure how to explain why I like it though.

  10. Sister Mary Ann says:

    Listening to this marvelous piece after my first day of teaching the “Intro to the Old Testament” course at Silver Lake College, immediately brought God, our Creator from the book of Genesis, to mind! God is time, God is before time, God is everything found in time, God's words “Let there be light, creatures, the sea, birds of the air, man, woman…and God found it very good.” Gen. 1:1-31

    Thank you John and Elwood for sharing this inspiring, hope-filled piece!

  11. sisterannemarielom says:

    I found this to be an inspiring, lively, and thought provoking piece. Time is a quantity we cherish, value and for which I am most grateful.

    I also appreciate Sr. Carol Ann's comment of how God works, even when we are unaware. Isn't it great that God doesn't depend on our awareness; God just acts and, hopefully, we cooperate. Greetings to the 8th graders at Saint Theresa, Kekaha!

  12. S. Chiara- Temporary Professed says:

    I like the simple accompaniment to this song. The words are also thought provoking. Thank you for sharing it.

  13. Thanks for your comment. We feel blessed to be able to highlight these gifted artists!

  14. Sister Monica (novice) says:

    I still like listening to this song.

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