Once we sang the blustery tunes

of a people bloated on happy promises.

Now, we wait, the words long forgotten

of songs happier still but too faint

to make any difference.


Once we told tales of kings and giants,

maidens and madmen, serpents and swords

walls that crumbled and glories won.

Now, we inhale the night stars of a brittle,

unfamiliar sky into lungs long dry,

heaving for the breath of Heaven.


Once we sang in dulcet tones

with brothers strong, and sisters proud

the songs, full-throated of Yahweh’s arm,

God’s nurturing wings of holy enchantment.

Now, entombed in raspy voices, we sing,

unpracticed in liberating sounds.

We have lost more than a note or two,

suspended as we are

between the music of here and there,

once and again,

Gehenna and Gabriel,

ranting and ruach.


Once we sang a single song.

Now, too many disparate notes vie

for heart and hearth and the demands of presence,

too dim to matter, too far to see, too good to hope for.


Joseph’s bones still cry out from Egypt,

the one with onions, olives and overflowing fullnesses,

not the one the skinny prophets told us to avoid.

Broken reeds too weak to hold up heads

too bored, too forgotten to feel shame.

Even that would be better than

these furrowed grey skies, frowning in apathetic non-wonder.


Lately, we’ve heard rumors of a man

and his pregnant mistress.

Some girl from who knows where

who talks with angels.

The following two tabs change content below.

Robert Alan Rife

Robert Rife, M.A., minister of worship and music for Yakima Covenant Church (formerly Westminster Presbyterian) in Yakima, Washington, is a self-proclaimed book-nerd-word-herder, multi-instrumentalist (including Highland Bagpipes!), singer-songwriter, studio musician, choral director, poet, and liturgist. He maintains two personal blogs: Innerwoven and Robslitbits. He also blogs at Conversations Journal. Robert describes his vocation as exploring those places where life, liturgy, theology, and the arts intersect with and promote spiritual formation.

Latest posts by Robert Alan Rife (see all)