I’m not sure I have much to say about this one – partly because I’m jetlagged and got too little sleep thanks to a trip to Phoenix. Yay.
What I know is that the lyrics are fine – another praise for spring. Yay. This set is from the Renaissance, so it’s historical. Yay.
And I know that the tune is lovely – almost as lovely as the man who wrote it, Tom Benjamin. I met Tom at UU Musicians Network conferences, and he was sweet and kind to me.
The year we were in St. Paul, I organized a series of lunchtime salons, where various musicians could perform a piece – sometimes on instruments they don’t normally play, sometimes music they can’t use in worship, sometimes putting together ad hoc combos. I hosted each day’s offerings, knowing that I would close the whole series with Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye” because I’m a huge fan of the American Songbook. I put out a call to get some musicians to play with me, and I was blessed to have Vicki Gordon on piano, Matt Meyer on drums, Dana Decker on bass.
The one that surprised me though, was a meek request from Tom, who asked if he could play clarinet. Now understand: I had been a fan of his for a while, and I was just some random chick who didn’t play an instrument and didn’t compose music, so who the hell was I? And here he is, asking permission to play with me! Well of course I said yes, and we worked out an arrangement where he got to shine. It was amazing. I loved the alchemy of the group, even for that one song. And more, I loved how real, and gentle, and insanely talented Tom is. As a result, I love singing hymns that he wrote – especially when we can use the Yaddo tune while in Saratoga Springs, NY, because Tom wrote it when visiting Yaddo, which is about a mile down the road from our congregation.
So – yeah. Sometimes our spiritual practice doesn’t go the way we expect. Sometimes it takes us to a memory that gives us joy and comfort.
Anyway, here are the lyrics. Yay.
Spring has now unwrapped the flowers, day is fast reviving,
life in all her growing powers toward the light is striving.
Gone the iron touch of cold, winter time and frost time,
seedlings working through the mold now make up for lost time.
Herb and plant that, winter long, slumbered at their leisure,
now bestirring green and strong, find in growth their pleasure.
All the world with beauty fills, gold the green enhancing;
flowers make glee among the hills, set the meadows dancing.
[…] not my favorite melody (as much as I love Tom Benjamin and have waxed poetic about him before). But if we don’t sing a paean to the prophet souls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when […]
[…] What I love about the lyrics is the acknowledgement that this work is hard, and it’s always been good. Something I’m not entirely certain I noticed until now, as many times as I have sung this. (Another favorite of my former minister’s, plus another great tune by Tom Benjamin). […]