I like it when I have eureka moments with hymns I have never sung – those moments when I wonder “where has this song been all my life” or at the very least “wow, did I need this lyric this morning.”
I am sorry to say there was no eureka today. Maybe a moment of “oh, these Asian melodies arranged by I-to Loh, which the hymnal commission used several times, are beautiful and so good to include” but no flat out eureka.
And why is there no eureka? Perhaps it’s because I’m personally a little annoyed with the Transcendentalists right now. Perhaps it’s because while I like Robert Louis Stevenson’s prose, I find his poetry stilted. Perhaps it’s the AAAB pattern that makes me long for a final rhyme. Perhaps…. and this may be most likely…. it’s that some days this daily practice gives me an overdose of themes that I wouldn’t get if I had randomized the singing practice, and I’m ready, if not eager, to move on.
Anyway, here are our lyrics, from Stevenson’s untitled poem:
Let us wander where we will,
something kindred greets us still:
something seen on vale or hill
falls familiar on the heart.
Dew and rain fall everywhere,
harvests ripen, flow’rs are fair,
and the whole round earth is bare
to the sunshine and the sun.
And the live air, fanned with wings,
bright with breeze and sunshine,
brings into contact distant things,
and makes all the countries one.
Anyway. This is again a melody you’ll have to teach a congregation – it may be better for a soloist or small group to start. And I can see it being useful for a particular kind of service.
I’m just not feeling the eureka.
Today I offer a pic of a swallow, as it’s referenced in the first stanza of Stevenson’s poem.