hymns for hard times


I want my life to by an infinite hymn—

A song of laughter and moonlight,

Of prayer and rainfall.

To stand firm in the earthquake and shout

“I am here! I cannot be shaken!”

If I sing off-key, so be it!

It is better to sing my song badly 

Than someone else’s perfectly.


Some voices are delicate and melancholy;

Others are cracked and bitter;

I have heard voices like sunsets 

And voices like avalanches.

I have sounded like a combination of these,

In my best and worst and moments,

And asked myself,

“Is that really what I sound like?”


Teach me to be gentle,

Even in my screams. 

Teach me to be bold,

Even in my whispers.

Every muscle aches for kindness.

My throat is raw from howling like a madman,

But it keeps me sane.


I am the lungs and you are the air,

The sweet breath of dawn and stillness.

Let the wind carry these refrains through the desert and forest,

the cracks in the sidewalk

and silence between thought and action.

To know that there is no such thing as nothing, 

That every atom and particle

possesses an invisible soul—

And to hear and be heard 

By that elusive roommate 

Who shares our home

And walks beside us at all times—

That is reason enough to sing.

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