Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

15 June 2010

'The Lone Wild Bird'

The lone, wild bird in lofty flight
is still with thee, nor leaves thy sight.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me.

The ends of earth are in they hand,
the sea's dark deep and far-off land.
And I am thine! I rest in thee.
Great spirit come and rest in me.

text: H. R. MacFayden, music from William Walker's Southern Harmony

I should have know that this might be from Southern Harmony, such beautiful stuff from there, always. This is just lovely all around.

Found out today that our car needs an entire new engine, which is far from cheap. Somehow, we're still counting our blessings: that we have the money (originally for the gutter clean up and water-damaged wall repair, and a loan), and that it didn't happen at a more awkward time. Still the world seems a gift today, and I'm grateful to be an optimist. Grateful for the not so small blessings of friends and music and love and good food and wine.

14 June 2010

'The Sun At High Noon'

The sun at high noon, the stars in dark space,
The light of the moon on each upturned face,
The high clouds, the rain clouds, the larksong on high:
We gaze up in wonder above to the sky.

The green grassy blade, the grasshopper's sound,
The creatures of shade that live in the ground,
The dark soil, the moist soil, where plants spring to birth:
We look down at wonder below in the earth.

The glad joys that heal the tears in our eyes,
The longings we feel, the light of surprise,
Our night dreams, our day dreams, our thoughts ranging wide:
We live with a whole world of wonder inside.

text: Sydney Henry Knight, music by Thomas Benajmin

A beautiful sweeping waltz, very nice.

Thinking a lot about my failing brain, and watching it as best I can from the dubious perspective of within. I hope against hope that my inability to find words, to order them correctly, to speak as I mean to--I hope that all of this is somehow temporary. When I get enough sleep, when my schedule isn't so crazy, when I finally complete menopause, when my daughter goes to college, surely at some point my brain will feel like it used to, surely? Whenever I see my 93 year old grandmother I marvel at how quick she still is, only brief paused to line up the synapses, perhaps. I can't imagine that I will make it another 50 years, or even 20, and be able to do the same. And certainly not to say it. Still hoping, though.


08 June 2010

"Songs of Spirit"Not

Songs of spirit, like a prayer breathing in the ancient air.
Singing in the morning light, in the radiance of the day,
in the twilight shadows gray, in the brooding hush of night.
Dark or light, or storm, or fair--singing, singing, everywhere.

In the burgeoning of spring, in the summer's scented bloom,
in the autumn's mellow glow, in the winter's ice and snow.
Shade, or shine, or joy, or gloom, as the seasons come and go,
bleak and bare, or blossoming--still the songs that sing and sing!

Singing, singing everywhere, at the heart of everything.
In my soul I hear them sing. Mystic music of the spheres.
Songs that, with my utmost art, I can only catch in part.
Broken echoes, cold and bare, of the songs my spirit hears.

text by Marion Franklin Ham, music by Thomas Oboe Lee

Not your grandmother's hymn, for sure. No key signature, accidentals all over, not so predictable, and it doesn't rhyme: nice.

I've been missing music lately, and not for lack of doing it at all, but not doing it enough of late. I'll be performing this Sunday in a piece that my husband has composed (http://zenglop.typepad.com/zenglop/) and I need to work on it, even though no one will actually hear what I'm singing or playing on this one. Still, the singing must be beautiful as the song is beautiful.

I'm missing playing mandolin, since my banjo-playing friend is deserting me for South Africa: who will explore the magical world of bluegrass with me now? More importantly, I will not play so often without a musical date on my calendar. I did schedule my first mandolin lesson (birthday gift from my daughter), so in theory this will inspire me. I am also taking the mandolin on vacation--it turns out that a guitar or smaller can be one's carry on when you fly.

I did get to drum on my birthday, and my doumbek playing was not a total disaster, which pleases me.

07 June 2010

"O Life That Maketh All Things New"

O Life that maketh all things new,
the blooming earth, our thoughts within,
our pilgrim feet, wet with dew,
in gladness hither turn again.

From hand to hand the greeting flows,
from eye to eye the signals run,
from heart to heart the bright hope glows.
The seekers of the light are one.

One in the freedom of the truth,
one in the joy of paths untrod,
one in the soul's perennial youth,
one in the larger thought of God.

The freer step, the fuller breath,
the wide horizon's grander view,
the sense of life that knows no death,
the Life that maketh all things new.

text: Samuel Longfellow (younger brother of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and a Unitarian minister), music by Thomas Williams

Today is one of the days where I'm relatively sure that I am dying. It feels as if a plug has been pulled out of my belly and down the drain goes all my energy. I checked my blood pressure at the grocery store and it was fine, but that machine can't tell me if I'm dying.

I probably don't appear to be dying. Last night over dinner I was talking about how anxious I often feel, and my friends said that I don't appear to be very anxious at all. This is good to know, because that kind of neediness is not what I'm after. I have things to do. No time for being anxious, or for dying, I need to keep moving.

04 June 2010

"O God of Stars and Sunlight"

O God of stars and sunlight, whose wind lifts up a bird,
In marching wave and leaffall we hear they patient word.
The color of thy seasons goes gold across the land:
By green upon the treetops we know thy moving hand.

O God of cloud and mountain, whose rain on rock is art,
Thy plan and care and meaning renew the head and heart.
They word and color spoken, they summer noons and showers--
By these and by thy dayshine, we know thy world is ours.

O God of root and shading of boughs above our head,
We breathe in thy long breathing, our spirit spirited.
We walk beneath thy blessing, they seasons, and thy way,
O God of stars and sunlight, O God of night and day.

text by John Holmes, music by Johann Christian Störl

Ironic, this song, since part of what attracts me about the Unitarians is the lack of necessary belief in a deity. But I can still sing out without qualm about a god of nature, which encompasses my Agnostic Pagan nature quite well.

For the last couple of years I have not been studying voice, and mostly my singing has been limited to what I have done with the singing group at my daughter's school. With my daughter's graduation, this commitment, after six years, is at an end. My voice feels rusty from disuse this morning, and the attention to breath and shape of mouth feels new again. I feel impatient to sing more of what satisfies me.


03 June 2010

"Immortal Love"

Immortal love, forever full, forever flowing free,
Forever shared, forever whole, a never ending sea!

Our outward lips confess the name all other names above.
But love alone knows whence it came and comprehendeth love.

Blow, winds of love, awake and blow the mists of hate away.
Sing out, O Truth divine, and tell how wide and far we stray.

The letter fails, the systems fall, and every symbol wanes.
The Spirit overseeing all, Eternal Love, remains.

text by John Greenleaf Whitier, tune: traditional Irish

My birthday is this Saturday, and although I'd certainly love to be showered with all sorts of gifts (my wishlist is on Amazon), the things that I want the most are more simple and more complex to obtain. I want time to do the top twenty or so things that I want to be doing every day (dance-drum-sing-sew-knit-run-yoga-write-learn-learn-learn). And there isn't time for it all, though I make my valiant effort.

I've planned a birthday weekend for myself that includes three days of lovely things: pedicure, lunch with friend, picnic dinner with more friends, canoeing with my daughter, potluck party with even more friends, yard saling, symphony, dinner again with friends. And I again make the pledge to try to do one of my list-items a day, at least; to not despair for the lack of time, but to do what I can in the interests of my own dreams.

Last weekend, very fully in this spirit, I went to church on Sunday to hear my friend, Julie, sing and play with her band. I love our nearby Unitarian church, especially since I've discovered that I can sit still when I have handwork to keep my fingers busy. As in the church of my youth I love the singing. Love these songs so very much, and all the more for having words that I can wholeheartedly sign on to. When Julie and the band sang 'What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding' I cried and cried, tears falling soundlessly into my yarn filled hands.

02 January 2008

"No Longer Forward or Behind"

No longer forward or behind I look in hope or fear;
but grateful, take the good I find, the best of now and hear.
I break my pilgrim staff, I lay aside the toiling oar;
the angel sought so far away I welcome at my door.

For all the jarring noise of life seems blending in a psalm,
and all the angles of its strife slow rounding into calm.
And so the shadows fall apart, and so the west winds play;
and all the windows of my heart I open to the day.

text by John Greenleaf Whittier

This is my new-again-and again-and again goal: to be Here Now. To live in the present. To be open to the beauty and goodness in my world. 'Cause I'm not at all thinking about how my good friend doesn't want to speak to me, not about how he hasn't spoken to me in a year, not about how I, today, told him that I would no longer keep my door open to him--oh, unlocked, but not open--all in an attempt to keep my boundaries clear, to ease the pain on my heart, O no, I am not thinking about that at all.

I am thinking about snow, and red wine, and hot sex, and fluffy knitting. Not all together.

Site Meter