Monday, July 25, 2005

Song I like

I recently bought a UU Hymnal and it feels really special to have it. It's fairly rare that I will buy such a frivolous thing like that (no reason for it or anything - I just wanted it!)

Anyway, I found a song that I didn't remember singing before. It's possible that I did sing it, especially since the melody is familiar.

Here are the words:

When windows that are black and cold
Are lit anew with fires of gold;
When dusk in quiet shall descend
And darkness come once more a friend;

When wings pursue their proper flight
And bring not terror but delight;
When clouds are innocent again
And hide no storms of deadly rain;

And when the sky is swept of wars
And keeps but gentle moon and stars,
That peaceful sky, that harmless air,
How sweet, how sweet, the darkness there.

The last verse is my favorite. The melody is so haunting and sweet - it makes it easy to express the emotion of the words. If anyone who knows me in real life wishes for me to sing this for them, just ask. I am working on memorizing the words.

One interesting thing about UU Hymns is that many of them have similar melodies to Protestant Hymns. I originally thought this was because the UUs just ripped off the melodies and applied their own words. But in fact, I was completely wrong. Some time ago (I believe in the late 19th century), the various denominations had various melodies distributed to them from a central source, and it was up to each to make up their own words. I was fascinated to learn this. UU philosophy seems so relevant to modern life; it's amazing to learn that some of this stuff was written over a century ago.

OTOH, the song above was probably written later. I don't know exactly when, but I'm pretty sure it was after WWII, if not after the Vietnam war. On the other hand, it was definitely written *before* September 11th. The second verse seems like it was taken from that experience! But I suppose it's a relatively generic description of modern warfare.


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