11/27/2007

Sunday music...The Healing River. (better sound)

Some time ago George Bayley the organist at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Lewes, Delaware asked me for a poem that he might set to music as an anthem. I had nothing that really would work so I wrote "The Healing River."

George has been working on it for a year, tweaking the words a bit, and the choir has been practicing for a month. Today (Sunday, October 21) the choir sang and George played and Malcolm Archer, organist and master of the choristers at Winchester College Chapel, in Winchester, England conducted. It was an amazing performance.

It is wonderful to hear words I wrote sung to such powerful music. Thanks to George and the Choir. And thanks to the Rector of All Lewes for letting me hang out at St. Peter's.

Here is the video in a new improved version...better sound.



The video is also on Google Video.
To get to it there, click HERE.


Here is the poem:

The Healing River

All the world in conflict struggles -
Truth the casualty, and millions are enslaved;
And by the river with rushes on its banks
We look, and in the reeds there lies a child.

Refrain:
We will sing the Lord's song
and we will be sustained;
the path to the true and promised land,
the place of greatest healing, begins at the river.

In the wounded city bombed again,
where children cower against the blasts,
a river runs in Babylon,
flowing through its heart.

Peace is the child at first light
who washes in calm waters at the river's edge,
turns and sees in a vision the city healed,
the leaves of the trees all new and green again.

Refrain:
We will sing the Lord's song
and we will be sustained;
the path to the true and promised land,
the place of greatest healing, begins at the river.

Up from the little river to the old City
the shopkeeper whispers "a salaam."
The monastery rings the hours
and men congregate looking for one more.

Here is no world at ease, no easy peace;
death is in this city above the river,
where we always stone the prophets.

Refrain:
We will sing the Lord's song
and we will be sustained;
the path to the true and promised land,
the place of greatest healing, begins at the river.

Near here the hoped for Child was born,
near here he died.
Not too far from here the Servant of God
sent the people to this place.
Near here the Prophet's dream carried him to God.
(May peace be upon him.)

May peace be upon us all, upon us all.
May we sing in peace the Lord's song
in strange lands and on more familiar ground.

Refrain:
We will sing the Lord's song
and we will be sustained;
the path to the true and promised land,
the place of greatest healing, begins at the river.

11 comments:

  1. Dear Poet Mark, thank you for this beautiful poem, and thanks to George for setting it to music. May we all get ourselves to the river and wade in its healing waters. Poet Sheila

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  2. Natalie Roberts Kerr22/10/07 10:46 AM

    Mark -
    Thank you for sharing your gift of poetry & thanks to George for his gift of music - & our choir, too.
    Hearing this in person, was knock-your-socks-off awesome!
    It sure is nice to be able to share it with others who couldn't be there!

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  3. Lovely, both words and music

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  4. Oh, my. It is simply too much for words.

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  5. I agree with Mother Kaeton, wow!

    That there's a real anthem, like they sing in big cathedrals and print in expensive books. Congratulations to the composer, conductor and choir!

    I can only imagine what the poet was going through listening to it. I hope the congregation applauded at the end. I would have!

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  6. Mark, words and music, both, are beautiful and filled with power.

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  7. Tyler Evans and ECB listened at Atanta Bread on my portable laptop so Uncle Ty could hear it. Lovely!

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  8. What Rev. Elizabeth said!

    Utterly amazing.

    Thank you for this.

    FWIW
    jimB

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  9. Poetry is the best response to nonsense and to violence.

    Bless you.

    Louie

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  10. Mark-
    Man thanks for this. It is lovely.

    Kristi Philip

    ReplyDelete

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