SING FOR YOUR LIFE - Music for Health and Well-Being

April is National Poetry Month and singers are invited to share poems they love during class.  Following are poems shared during April 2017 classes.  Would you like to add one of your own?  E-mail it to

Singing clears the mind-
Rejuvenates the soul.
Makes one kind-
Makes one whole.
Marilyn C. Ramirez, 
Lynnwood Singing Friend

Prayer in Gratitude for the RIght Song Arriving at the Right Time, for Example Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" or Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising",  or  Chet Baker's 
"She Was Too Good to Me"
~Brian Doyle~

Because you know and I know that a song can save your life.  We know that and we don't say it much, but it's true.  When you are dark and despairing a song comes and makes you weep as you think yes yes yes.  When you are joyous a song comes to top off the moment and make you think the top of your head will fly off from sheer fizzing happy.  A song makes you sob with sadness for such pain and loss as throbs inside the bars of the song.  A song roars that we will not be defeated by murder but we will stand together and rise again, brothers and sisters!  A song makes your heart stagger that you found someone to love with such an ache and a pang.  A song comes-- how amazing and sweet and glorious that is.  And this is not even to get into how amazing and miraculous music itself is, the greatest of all arts.  But this evening, haunted by a song that slid out of the radio and lit up your heart, we pray in thanks that there are such fraught wild holy moments as this one.  And so:  amen.

Change of Life~ Judith Collas

Her life was okay.  Sometimes she wished she
       were sleeping with the right man instead of her dog,
but she never felt she was sleeping with the wrong dog.
                                                             Shared by Karen Bachelder

 The force that through the green fuse drives the flower 
                                                                ~   Dylan Thomas

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower Drives my green age;  that blasts the roots of trees Is my destroyer.  And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.

The force that drives the water through the rocks Drives my red blood;  that dries the mouthing streams Turns mine to wax.  And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool Stirs the quicksand;  that ropes the
blowing wind Hauls my shroud sail.  And I am dumb to tell the hanging man How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;  Love drips and gathers, but the fallen  blood Shall calm her sores.  And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind How time has  my sheet goes the same crooked worm.
                                                                                        Shared by Leah Vetter

Sonnet 29 ~  William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee-- and then my state,
Like to a lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
                                              Shared by Lillian Buchanan

Dirge Without Music  ~  Edna St. Vincent Millay
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and lovely.  Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go;  but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, -- but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,-- They are gone.  
They are gone to feed the roses.  
Elegant and curled Is the blossom.  
Fragrant is the blossom.  I know.  
But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down, into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know.  But I do not approve.  And I am not resigned.
                                                              Shared by mpg

The Wind and the Leaves  ~ George Cooper

"Come, little leaves,"  said the wind one day,
"Come over the meadows with me and play,
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
For summer is gone, and days grow cold."

Soon as the leaves heard the wind's loud call,
Down they came fluttering, one and all.
O'er the brown field then they danced and flew
Singing the soft little songs they knew.  

Dancing and whirling, the little leaves went,
Winter had called them, and they were content,
Soon, fast asleep on their earthy beds,
The snow laid a coverlet over their heads.
                                                                       Shared by Phyllis Becker

The Trouble with Poetry  ~ Billy Collins

The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along a beach one night-
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky-

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry.
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits 
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly 
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti-
to be perfectly honest for a moment-

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

God Says Yes To Me ~ Kaylin Haught

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes.
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is.
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to.
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph my letters?
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is Yes  Yes  Yes.
                                                                         Shared by Meredith Regal

The Cat ~ Ogden Nash

You get a wife, you get a house,
Eventually you get a mouse.
You get some words regarding mice,
You get a kitty in a trice.
By two a.m. or thereabout,
The mouse is in, the cat is out.
It dawns upon you, in your cot,
The mouse is silent, the cat is not.
Instead of Pussy, says your spouse,
You should have bought another mouse.

The Summer Day  ~ Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean- 
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

                                                                         Shared by Meredith Regal

When I Am Among the Trees ~ Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness,
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."

                                                Shared by Mary Pat Graham