Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Before the Shape-Note Sing

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Before the Shape-Note Sing

Article excerpt

Here is where water becomes air,

the small reservoirs of our bodies exhale

streams of sound, a waterfall of drone

and shout, except this waterfall goes up-

up into the deep blue cup of the dome,

past the classical columns, the three-tiered

chandelier, crashing into the tall white

walls, the clear illuminated windows.

It is hot. We will sweat. We will heel

the wooden floor, nod, raise our forearms,

shape loud notes out of the holy wrecks

of ourselves. If ever we will speak in tongues,

it will be here, here where water

turns into air. This is a kind of work-

this is a kind of grace. A voice will rise

above the rest, a fan keep time.

A woman will close her eyes, but her mouth

will not stop. The sound is a river

she has come here to enter. Everyone around her

is singing-singing her up to the altar,

singing her into the river. …

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