Darkness into light

Sometimes around this time of year, we need a little hope to carry us through to brighter days. Here are some bits of song and verse that I’ve posted before, but I thought they’d go well together all in one place.

First, my favorite bit of my favorite Vienna Teng song, “The Atheist Christmas Carol” (YouTube):

It’s the season of bowing our heads in the wind

And knowing we are not alone in fear,

Not alone in the dark.

There’s a Si Kahn song that I almost love: “When the Shore Is Out of Sight” (YouTube). But there’s a line in the chorus that never quite sat right with me. Not long ago, the song came up in my iTunes rotation, and I realized I could tweak the lyrics to something I liked better, so here’s my slightly altered version. I'm not entirely satisfied with it—I lost some parallelism—but I think I like it better, for now, than the original.

From this love, the space to grow in;

From this peace, the path to light;

From these friends, the strength to journey

When the shore is out of sight.

Speaking of Si Kahn, here’s a bit from his and Pete Seeger’s and Jane Sapp’s rendition of Gil Turner’s “Carry It On” (YouTube). Their version of the last verse, lightly modified:

When you can't go on any longer,

Take the hands of your sisters and brothers.

Every victory [brings] another.

Carry it on; carry it on.

Here's the chorus from Shaggy’s song “Hope” (YouTube):

She said, “Son there’ll be times when the tides are high

And the boat may be rocky; you can cry,

Just never give up.

You can never give up.”

Here’s a bit from Charlie Murphy’s “Light Is Returning

Light is returning,

Even though this is the darkest hour;

No one can hold back the dawn.

Here’s a piece from Wendell Berry’s 1998 poem “The Country of Marriage,” a bit which (as I noted when I posted this before) I think applies as well to unmarried life as to married:

Sometimes our life reminds me

of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing

and in that opening a house,

an orchard and garden,

comfortable shades, and flowers

red and yellow in the sun, a pattern

made in the light for the light to return to.

The forest is mostly dark, its ways

to be made anew day after day, the dark

richer than the light and more blessed,

provided we stay brave

enough to keep on going in.

My first introduction to Gordon Bok’s music was when Ed B (the other Ed B) quoted me the chorus of “Turning Toward the Morning” (YouTube):

Oh, my Joanie, don’t you know

That the stars are swinging slow,

And the seas are rolling easy

As they did so long ago?

If I had a thing to give you,

I would tell you one more time

That the world is always turning toward the morning.

I’ll close with the last verse of John McCutcheon’s “Wish You Goodnight” (YouTube):

So gather ’round, all you friends and lovers;

Let the darkness come, for the fire is bright.

Though the road is long, love makes us stronger,

And I wish you good dreams, good morrow, and I wish you good night.

(Updated in June 2020 to add some YouTube links and to fix some broken iTunes links.)

Join the Conversation