STLT#360, Here We Have Gathered

Now this is an entrance song. Welcoming in all kinds of ways, with nothing for us to …wait…nothing for us to be upset… oh … Dammit.

It’s not as good as I’d hoped. “We of all ages, women, children, men, infants and sages, sharing what we can” reads the second verse. It uses binary language for gender. (And it’s repetitive.) So of course I sat here for a time trying to rewrite this one couplet of an otherwise good song by Alicia Carpenter (set to Old 124th).

But then I realized that I don’t have to rhyme anything with ‘men’ because ‘men’ doesn’t rhyme with ‘can’ anyway. IT DOESN’T RHYME. Sure, there’s an internal rhyme, but that can be taken care of with a less awkward phrase than “infants and sages” too. (See, y’all made fun of me about my rhyming rule, but you see how handy it can be?)

Not that I know what the replacement couplet is, of course. I am, indeed coming to you with half a thing.

But here are the lyrics – maybe they’ll inspire you:

Here we have gathered, gathered side by side;
circle of kinship, come and step inside!
May all who seek here find a kindly word;
may all who speak here feel they have been heard.
Sing now together this, our hearts’ own song.

Here we have gathered, called to celebrate
days of our lifetime, matters small and great:
we of all ages, women, children, men,
infants and sages, sharing what we can.
Sing now together this, our hearts’ own song.

Life has its battles, sorrows, and regret:
but in the shadows, let us not forget:
we who now gather know each other’s pain;
kindness can heal us: as we give, we gain.
Sing now in friendship this, our hearts’ own song.

And seriously – if you come up with a replacement couplet, let me know. I want to use this in an upcoming service and I’d like to not exclude people I love from being welcomed.

Update January 16, 2018:

Jason Shelton just texted me this possible replacement couplet:

We of all ages, living out our span
Infants and sages, sharing what we can

I like it a lot. Plus, it rhymes better. Thanks, Jason.



11 responses to “STLT#360, Here We Have Gathered”

  1. This melody is one of those simple tunes that can be so so pretty when people sing the 4-part harmony. I remember one time, the pianist realized that what the congregation was singing was so beautiful, she simply stopped playing and the congregation continued, a capella. It was a beautiful moment (and a lesson to me, also a pianist, that sometimes less is more).

  2. When we use this, we just sing V 1 and 3.

  3. we of all ages, colors, genders, thought,
    innocents and sages, sharing what we can.

    Not really happy with the “thought” – it really needs at least a half-rhyme

  4. we of all ages, family, friends, fools and sages

  5. We of all ages, child, adult and youth,
    Infant and elder, holding each one’s truth.

    1. P.S. I’m not entirely content with this, but I hope it’s a step in the right direction. Making it even more about all ages, and dropping the gender binary, gets that job done, and replacing the slant rhyme got me farther than ignoring the line endings altogether (and I feel even slant rhymes count for something).

      It’s the sense of the second line that has me stuck. I’m not sure these words even mean anything, but I’m not coming up with anything better, or any other alternate rhymes.

      Maybe “Sharing each one’s truth”? “Sharing all our truths”?

      whiskey and vermouth
      dentist drilled my tooth
      DiMaggio and Ruth
      payment at the booth
      screw is going loose

      Meh.

  6. I like this:
    “We of all ages, siblings, partners, friends,
    Infants and sages, sharing what we can…”

  7. Where I’m from, South Jersey, “can” is pronounced “ken.”
    So “men” and “can” DOES rhyme.
    The new phrasing, “span” and “can” does NOT rhyme.

    …But youz ken say it how you want!

  8. Hi Kim, Please let me know if Alicia Carpenter approves the change. I like it so much, and we are leaving out that second verse when we sing it tomorrow.

  9. Since I currently serve a congregation names “All Souls,” I changed that second verse to:

    Here we have gathered, called to celebrate
    days of our lifetime, matters small and great:
    we of all ages, families, spirits, hearts;
    serving all souls and seeking love’s true arts.
    Sing now together this, our hearts’ own song.

  10. We of all ages, joining heart and hand
    Infants and sages, sharing what we can

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