Posts Tagged ‘singing’



cross-state road trip—

traveling with my daughter

three miles per song

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for Heartbeat




the same song,


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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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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Walking on the muddy path, I try

to convince myself it would be easy

to be happy. I’m not hurt, my family is well,

and the sun is almost out. I tell myself,

look, look how the ice from last night’s storm

clings to the tips of the branches

and, as it melts, see how the whole world

seems to gather in a drop. But there is a snarl

deep within that is snagged in the thorns,

trapped in the ice, intent on locking itself

out of heaven. It scowls at the wind,

at the sound of the traffic, it grimaces

at the story of itself and retells the same

sad story. It is hours later I notice

how easy it is to fall in love with the world—

how it takes no effort, no convincing at all

to weep at the beauty of hundreds of people

singing together, oh the deep melting,

how the whole world gathers in a drop.




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