Thursday, April 13, 2017

NPM 2017 Day Thirteen: The Gift to Sing

For National Poetry Month this year I am sharing poetry that celebrates my late sister-in-law and what it means to be human. These daily posts focus on traits that Pam exuded—empathy, kindness, caring, friendship, gentleness and love.

Pam and I shared a love for a number of things. One was our love for song. On visits to Pam I could hear her singing in the kitchen as she prepared meals and later cleaned up.

The Gift to Sing
by James Weldon Johnson

Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
      I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
       And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
       And I can sing.

I'll leave you today with this parting shot.
Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. ― Plato
Thank you for reading. I hope to see you here again tomorrow.


  1. I love this poem so much. So, so much. Last week I did a little experiment with my depression -- after our octet rehearsal, I counted how many days until the buzz wore off... honestly if I hadn't read about the shooting in SoCal, it might have lasted longer, so it wasn't really a fair test, but it works - music lightens and lifts me, and I know I have to make it a daily part of my life.

    No nights are dark, no days are long, while in my mind there swells a song... and I can sing.

  2. The uplift I feel after singing is real. It's why I don't miss rehearsal or my cantor duties. It buoys me for days. I even go to church extra early now on Sunday mornings so I can sing in that beautiful new church before folks arrive. The acoustics are amazing and singing in that space gives me goosebumps.