Say Moon, Say Stars, Say Love…

I am writing this blog post as I watch many inaugural events on TV.

So far everything has gone well.

For this I am deeply grateful.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

The song for this blog post, “New Words,” was written by Maury Yeston — a professor at Yale who also created beautiful songs for the Broadway musicals NINE and TITANIC.

I first heard it sung by a woman named Andrea Marcovicci at Town Hall in New York City.

She also recorded it, along with a bunch of other great songs by contemporary songwriters, on a CD called NEW WORDS.

I performed it as part of an evening of SONGS ABOUT PARENTS AND CHILDREN, and again as part of a cycle of songs I shared at my 25th high school reunion.

Then last year this version gracefully jumped out of my archives of past rehearsals with pianist Doug Hammer — and I decided I would wait until after our new president was inaugurated to release it.

After four years of a certain kind of leadership, I have been hungry for a new tone…

A new sense of respect…

A new vision for the future…

And new words…

Another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

Ahhhhh….

Yes.

New words!

I have been told — and sometimes have experienced with my own eyes and ears — that underneath anger and acting out and conspiracy theories and doomsday scenarios and threatening comments and violence and all sorts of drama is simply…

Fear.

And pain.

Pain from past hurts…

Past losses…

Past disrespects…

Past disappointments…

Past abandonments…

Past abuses of trust…

Past unhappiness of all different shapes and sizes and colors and tastes and smells and densities…

Yes.

Pain.

And fear.

I breathe them in.

And then I breathe them out.

Ahhhhh….

Like many of us, I’ve experienced new pains and new fears during this past year.

I don’t need to go into any of the details, which I have so far chosen to keep private.

Suffice to say that some of them involve rites of passage related to families and health and time and aging which all of us inevitably experience in one form or another.

And some of them involve things which have happened locally, nationally, and globally.

I have a sense that our new president — who has himself experienced some of the most profound losses a human being can experience — and our new vice-president — who has experienced life as a child of immigrants, as a woman, as a person of color, as an attorney general, and as a US senator — may be able to offer us some new words of consolation.

And comfort.

And acknowledgement.

And justice.

And inspiration.

And healing.

We shall see…

Yet another deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

As regular readers of my blog already know, in addition to writing postcards to potential voters in swing states and going for long walks in local cemeteries full of trees, I find refuge and inspiration in music.

The song “New Words” reminds me of the Music Together classes I lead each week — which give me much-needed infusions of joy and spontaneity and playfulness and creativity and connectedness and love.

We set aside the worries of the world for 45 precious minutes and are present with each other — having fun clapping and snapping and drumming and waving scarves and shaking rhythm eggs and singing and dancing together — even via Zoom.

Some families have stayed with me for many years — so I experience the happiness of bearing witness to their children’s new movements, new vocabulary, new ideas, new competencies, new stuffed animals, new Lego creations, and, yes, even new siblings!

Part of me is amazed that anyone would dare to bring a child into a world teetering on the brink of so many disasters.

Yet part of me also sees how these precious, blessed beings can awaken a profound sense of responsibility and interconnectedness in their parents.

I hear mothers who are breast-feeding begin to re-think what they are themselves eating — and start to become curious about how and where and by whom our food is grown and processed.

I bear enthusiastic witness to families’ participation in social justice marches, in political activism, in fighting for a more respectful and sustainable future here on planet earth.

And I feel hope.

I feel love.

I do not know if love really IS capable of overcoming systemic racism, economic inequality, environmental degradation, accelerating rates of extinction, ignorant non-mask-wearers, brain-washed insurrectionists, and the myriad other challenges facing us here in the USA.

A very brave man who was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee over 50 years ago once said:

“We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.” (1958)

“We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart.” (1963)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” (1963)

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” (1963)

And “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” (1967)

Yet ANOTHER deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

Ahhhhh….

This song inspires me to stick with love.

Thank you to Maury Yeston for writing it.

Thank you to Doug Hammer for playing such beautiful piano and then helping me to mix and master it via Zoom.

Thank you to the generous photographers at Pixabay for these glorious images.

And thank YOU for reading and listening to another one of my blog posts.

If for some reason you want to listen to this song on Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon or Tidal, you can click here for a link to those digital music platforms.

ps: As I was doing my final proof-reading of this blog post, I received an email from one of my favorite former Music Together parents.

She wrote:

“We have been enjoying your music on Spotify! I started following you, and now new songs of yours come up on my new release playlist that Spotify sends out periodically.

Scarlet (her super-sensitive, fairy-like, delightful daughter) especially loves ‘New Words’ — she stopped what she was doing and came over and gave me a hug when it came up on my playlist. She found it so moving, and she didn’t even know it was yours.”

One more deep breath in.

And deep breath out.

Ahhhhh…

This is why I do what I do.

34 thoughts on “Say Moon, Say Stars, Say Love…

  1. Such a beautiful, hopeful post, Will–you capture much of what I felt on Inauguration Day. I don’t know anyone as optimistic, and willing to believe in the good of others, as you!

    • What a treat to read a lovely comment from you! You must have been awake early on this crisp winter morning. I have been crocheting hats (two blue and one black so far) while watching football games and sometimes I think about all of your family’s beautiful weaving, handiwork, etc. I am now rooting for the Bills (who are not too far from you, right?) I hope all remains functional (after so much challenging recovery work) in your home!

      • Hi, Will–I just saw this. I love the idea of you crocheting in front of the Bills–we’re long-time fans (lived in Buffalo for 25 years!) We’re doing fine–staying healthy and actually enjoying our quiet time.

  2. oh, darling Will…this is a sweet one. I got weepy listening to your voice this morning. Steven sends his love too! Neige

    >

    • Thank you for listening, dear one!!! This song has a gentle, profound power to evoke feelings… I am hoping it can help with the days/weeks/months of grieving/healing that lie ahead for so many of us. I happily glow in your love!!!

  3. A beautiful song, and a lovely post, Will. Thank you! I was watching the inaugural events and also feeling hopeful, too. I read in Heather Cox Richardson’s post this morning that “slept” was trending on Twitter the day after the inauguration because people were finally feeling that they were sleeping better.

  4. Wow Will. This song and your voice moved me deeply. I felt the joy, the pain, and the movement. You also write beautifully from your heart and have a talent for mixing wonderful images to highlight your words. Many of us have been in pain, including those acting in ways we don’t like. May we find more compassion and love to move forward together. Deep bows of respect and gratitude. Thank you for sharing your beautiful voice, words, and heart with us. 🙏

    • Thank YOU for devoting time to reading and listening to another one of my blog posts, Brad. I am so happy that the song touched you! I have always found it to be a very powerful song to perform — it starts out so gently and then when the bridge arrives (“as they twinkle around us playing starry-eyed games, who would think it astounds us, simply naming their names”) it somehow shifts gears and takes on (for me at least) an almost cosmic (in the beginning there was the word…) resonance. Then the final verse about seeing the light in another being’s eyes always moves me to tears, too. Let us move forward together with as much compassion, and empathy, and patience, and justice, and respect as we can muster!

  5. Tuesday morning 26th January, Australia Day. What an absolutely beautiful song, thank you so much for this uplifting song and post, on this controversial day for our indiginous people who were here long long before we invaded their country. “Deep breath in deep breath out.”

    • You are very welcome! One of the many things I love about the WordPress community is what I learn from comments (on my blog and also on other people’s blogs…) I just went and looked up a few articles about Australia Day — which some, I understand, might prefer to call Invasion Day. We have so many centuries-old wounds/issues/feelings/laws/tragedies to continue to acknowledge — and in some way heal/resolve — here on planet earth! I am very curious to see what happens when a First-Nations woman is (hopefully) confirmed here in the USA to oversee our Department Of The Interior… Here’s a link to a short article about that historic development: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/12/18/what-deb-haalands-historic-nomination-as-interior-secretary-means-for-indigenous-peoples/. Yet another deep breath in. And Deep breath out!

      • Thank you for the reply. I shall have a listen to the link and when I find stress I shall use you mantra, deep breath in and deep breath out.

  6. How beautiful this is, Will. The parent who reaches out to you because her child stopped to hear your song…I have always said that the little things are really the big things, and the most important things. I feel hope and love, too. Today I read aloud a children’s book by Maya Angelou. The word in the book was hope. My goodness, it is as important today as it was when she wrote it in 1994. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Children love doing that. Adults can learn a lot from children.

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