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Posts Tagged ‘singing’

            with gratitude for Dennis McNeil

Every night now as I make dinner in Colorado,

I listen to a tenor sing live from his back porch

in California near the coast.

While I chop onions and chard

and sip on sauvignon blanc,

he belts tunes from Oklahoma

and Phantom of the Opera,

patriotic songs and Frank Sinatra,

and I sing along, my small soprano lifted

by his generous voice that baptizes the room.

This is the world I believe in—

a world ringing with beauty.

A world where people share their gifts

with strangers, knowing our lives

depend on this.

Between songs, he toasts us with gin,

and smiles. I return his toast with wine.

This is the way we carry each other

through difficulties, one song at a time.

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cross-state road trip—

traveling with my daughter

three miles per song

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for Heartbeat

 

 

singing

the same song,

again,

but this time

the melody

finds in me

a closed,

forgotten place

and sings light

into its tightness

until where

there were walls,

now wings

 

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We sat in the pew

furthest back in the church.

My father would hum all the hymns

 

and I’d lean closer to him and hum along,

then lean toward my mother

and sing with her the words—

 

I swayed between them like a metronome,

humming, then singing, then

humming, then singing.

 

How giddy I was, grateful to be the girl

between them. I did not yet know how

difficult it was to be a parent.

 

I only knew how good it felt

to be loved, how safe I felt between them,

how delighted I was to find in myself

 

some part of each of them,

so delighted that even now,

over forty years later

 

and a thousand miles away,

I remember that night

and begin to sway.

 

 

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for seven hours

the whole house smells of apples—

even the song I sing

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we sit in a circle

a hammock of song appears—

it cradles us all night

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singing beside the falls

the sound of the water

drowns out our voices

but that isn’t any reason

to stop singing

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The sound of your breath is the quietest of songs.

—Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

 

 

Maybe on that day

when we think, I forgot

to sing, that’s when we

realize that all day long

we harmonized with the world

in the quietest of songs—

joined in without any effort,

no striving at all,

and maybe that is the day

when we stop trying

to be heard and start

to notice the song

inside every other song,

the song inside every other being,

how perfectly in tune we are,

how easily we join—no conductor,

no notes, no beat, just one perfect

air. Maybe that’s the day we hear

the metronome of our own

steady heart and say to it,

I will trust you, feel the truth

of the song as it slips

from our lips, then

rushes in to fill us again.

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Big Love

 

 

 

singing the same song

again and again—

each time, finding new wings

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Why

 

 

 

There are yet words that come near the unsayable,

and, from crumbling stones, a new music

to make a sacred dwelling in a place we cannot own.

 

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, Part Two X

 

 

Before bed, my daughter asks me

why in school they learn to sing,

I mean, she says, it’s not like that’s

what we’ll do when we grow up.

 

And part of me longs to answer her

with stories of my own—

how the stone of our losses dissolves

into tune, how we become wave,

 

become surge, blur with tone,

how song opens up every door

we might close, how it holds us

when nothing and no one else will.

 

Instead, I tuck the question

under her pillow as she climbs in bed,

hope it finds the trapdoor into her sleep,

hope the unsayable answer will weave itself

 

into her dreams like a river,

like light in a forest, like a breeze

in July, like a song that finds the lips

again and again and each time makes them new.

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