(photo by Mary McLean-Browne)
for Dale Warland and the singers
on the occasion of their farewell concert,
May 30, 2004
I don’t know if we have ever deserved
the voices, but they are ours,
I don’t know if we ever have known
what it means to be able to speak
in those tongues, and only
in my worst, most useless moments
have I tried to imagine
our lives without them.
Where might we go in the world
where they would not reach us?
I would never go into the dark
without the voices,
I have come to rely on how they mend us
among the ruins
of what we have hoped for.
If there were only one branch in the world,
the voices would find it.
Doubt was never the root of us,
doubt winds itself, again and again,
around our doing,
but it was never the source,
joy is the source,
foliage of joy in which the singers are hidden, but heard;
always the gate, always the garden,
always the light, the shadows,
always the leaves.
From where I stand now,
I cannot see every singer,
but looking out across the years,
listening in ways learned
only from them,
I can hear all the song.
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