Last night by a heroic effort of will I avoided playing on the computer all night and instead picked up the hymn book (Singing the Living Tradition, which is excellent) and worked my way through it. I noted Hymn 79, which was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson with music by John Steffy. The title is No Number Tallies Nature Up, and it’s all about the profusion of nature and how it is endlessly recycling things. The really hilarious thing about the song is that the word “satellites” is mentioned TWICE. Now being a poet (which is not always a disadvantage, I must admit) I reviewed the lyrics and started grinning to myself, because the reason he used the word satellites is because planets wouldn’t scan. Then I looked at at the music (which I can’t read) and decided it looked Yucky, so I rewrote it. Then I picked up the phone and called my mother and sang it to her. As I was finishing John wandered through so I sang it again. He liked it. Then I sang him 324, Where my free spirit onward leads (that one is by Alicia Carpenter (with a folk tune arranged by Ralph Vaughn Williams), whose lyrics I really like). The last line is so lovely and so sad, “A human life when truly seen, is briefer than a kiss.” He said, and I agree, that there’s a lot of gold in that hymnbook. I have about ten more minutes and then out the door to work. Sigh.
Almost 5 million people got AIDS last year. How high a price the innocent pay for ignorance.