STLT#173, In the Branches of the Forest

This is our happy, light Hymn.


A short post today, as I am traveling and typing this on my phone.

I will say that the tune was deceptively harder than I expected – the intervals didn’t flow gracefully for me, and were at times discordant.

Maybe that’s the point.

This lyric is clearly not meant to cheer but to make the point that if we don’t do our duty as stewards of the earth, we’re failing. Yet it feels manipulative – and I am not sure that given this is an unfamiliar tune that congregants singing it would pay attention – until they got to the word “cankerworm” – I’m sure that stops everyone in their tracks.

In the branches of the forest, in the petals of the marigold,
on the shoulder of the mountain, in the vastness of the sea,
you will find a brooding sadness over all the ancient watershed.
You will see it written plainly on the wind and in the sand.

There’s a blight upon the mountain, there’s a sickness in the evening sky,
and we ask the age-old question: can we purge us of this sin?
Can we save the little nestling from the venom of the cankerworm?
Can we clear the look of anguish from the soft eyes of the doe?

In the thunder new commandments sound a warning through the wilderness,
let the forest be untainted, let the streams be undefiled,
let the waters of the river as they flow down to the ocean
be as sweet as in the old days when the mountain stood alone.

The song is not wrong.  And in the right hands, it certainly makes a good point. I also think it is just a helluva thing to turn to after the energetic strength of yesterday’s South African call for justice.

So… there it is.

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