The Buzz of Hymn Singing

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The Gate Swings Wide

was the background sound of my childhood.

“the old rugged Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame”

accompanied dish washing and ironing.

If Grandma or Mama were feeling cheerful “What A Friend  we have in Jesus”
might be splashed in with the Palmolive or Tide.

If Daddy had to work too many overnight shift and Mama was feeling blue
the clothes would be pinned on the line with

“I come to the Garden alone while the dew is still on the roses…”

Those sweet words
seemed to be the top tune of Mama’s Gospel Chart
They accompanied everything
from pickle making to floor waxing,
I am still convinced that floors won’t shine as bright
without the buzz of a hymn.

Housework was all my mothers knew
My mother the child of the depression.
My grandmother a true pioneer woman.
she lived in a sod house
road from Colorado
to Arkansas in a covered wagon.

They didn’t need to go to church that often
their own voices provided the

 “blessed assurance”

of love and comfort
” where “gates swing wide”  while
dew is still on the roses” and every garden had

Fifty Miles of Elbow Room

When the gates swing wide on the other side,
Just beyond the sunset sea.
There’ll be room to spare as we enter there.
There’ll be room for you and room for me.
For the gates are wide on the other side,
Where the fairest flowers bloom.
On the right hand and on the left hand,
Fifty miles of elbow room.

Traditional Hymn

Carol Carlisle 4/20/14

NaPoWriMo prompt: Today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of a member of your family. I instated wrote about the voices of my family.

Happy Easter and Sunday Writing


12 thoughts

  1. Happy Easter my friend. I too grew up with family who sang hymns while going about very mundane tasks. It keep spirits high and us all focused on our true purpose in life. Those melodies guide me to this day…. Blessings to you


    1. Easter seemed a good day to resurrect these precious tunes. I believe you are from the South…I grew up in Oklahoma places known for simple life and connection to everyday spiritually .
      Happy Easter
      Keep Singing


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