Songs for Today

A day is vast
Until noon.
Then it’s over.

 ~ Jane Hirshfield

Yesterday’s glories are past and tomorrow is yet to come. Today is the moment – for books to be read, poems to be written, songs to be sung, grace words to be said, hands to be held. Today, may you rise above the trivial and the ephemeral, for “that unmistakable pounding, when you feel the mist on your mouth” as the poet Mary Oliver puts it. Here are four poems (one doubles as a song) to remind us of the precious gift of each and every day.

This Day (Jimmy Baca)

Those silly robins –
In their mindless, fluttering about
filled with nonsense,
they tell me how
they love the Great Spirit,
scold me not to be self-pitying,
to open my life and make this day
a bough on a tree,
leaning over eternity,
where eternity floats forward
and with day, the river runs
carrying all that falls in it.

From the poem, “This Day” by Jimmy Santiago Baca (b 1952)


If you Were a Day

If you
were a day
I’d find a way
to live
through you.


-Ben Kopel (b 1983)


Wild Wind #2 (Mary Oliver)

When you hear, a mile away
and still out of sight,

the churn of the water
as it begins to swirl and roil,

fretting around the sharp rocks –
when you hear that unmistakable pounding,
when you feel the mist on your mouth
and sense ahead the embattlement,

the long falls plunging and steaming –
then row,
row for your life toward it.

From the poem Wild Wind #2 by Mary Oliver (1935-2019)


Today (A song by John Denver)

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine – today.

I’ll be a dandy, and I’ll be a rover
You’ll know who I am by the songs that I sing
I’ll feast at your table, I’ll sleep in your clover
Who cares what the morrow shall bring
.

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I’ll taste your strawberries, I’ll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘Ere I forget all the joy that is mine – today.

I can’t be contented with yesterday’s glory
I can’t live on promises winter to spring
Today is my moment, now is my story
I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll sing.

~ John Denver (1943 – 1997)


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