Friday, April 3, 2009

The Blue Hymnal in a pew rack near you

A few of you have asked whether I write poetry, and the answer is yes. But most of it is a form of personal therapy and I'm not sure it should ever see the light of day beyond my notebooks. But here is one I will share with you today. May your Friday find you well, and may you discover many blessings in the mysteries of the Holiest of weeks to come.

The Hymnal (blue) 1982

By James RIchardson

O Gracious Light (twenty-five)

to dawn’s early light (seven-hundred-twenty)

You’ll find the block numbers up on the wall

       they change every week.

Then find a blue book in front of you.

So many hands hold it,

       their eyes careening across scratches

              and dots.

       mouths in Os, open, take a breath,

oh please take a breath

So many hands smudge the corners

       afraid to touch above the tiny italic,

       never veering above

              Watts, Proulx or Winkworth.

The book, after all, is silent, always.

       Or is it?

       The tunes leaping from eye to fingers to keyboard

The rest of us faking it a little,

       Or a lot.

       Warbling up and down with the dots and scratches,

              cross hatches become sounds,

              and that is a miracle if ever there was one.

Ever notice the lower corners on the cover of the Hymnal (blue) 1982?

       A little tatered, bent, flattened

specks of brown paper sticking out,

bits of cardboard fraying,

Like my voice.

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