Refocusing on Simplicity

Blogger’s note: Didn’t I start out to write about simplicity here?  Lately, I’ve been too much distracted by the noisy turmoil of political and economic change.  It occurs to me that politics and economics do not seem to lead to peace and simplicity.  Certain songs lead back to simplicity.

“How Can I Keep From Singing” is often identified as a Quaker hymn. However, the music was written by a Baptist minister, Robert Lowry, and first published in 1868, according to Wikipedia. The words are attributed to “Pauline T.”

Almost makes me forget anxiety and worry.

How Can I Keep From Singing

My life goes on in endless song:

Above earth’s lamentation,
I catch the sweet, tho’ far-off hymn

That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife

I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul–

How can I keep from singing?
What tho’ my joys and comfort die?

The Lord my Saviour liveth;
What tho’ the darkness gather round?

Songs in the night he giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,

While to that refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,

How can I keep from singing?
I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;

I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,

Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,

A fountain ever springing;
All things are mine since I am his–

How can I keep from singing?

Mary Travers, 72 — Her Folk Songs Forever Blowin’ In The Wind

Peter, Paul and Mary's first record album, 1961, Warner Bros. High Fidelity Monophonic. Album cover photograph at The Bitter End, NYC.

Peter, Paul and Mary's first record album, 1961, Warner Bros. High Fidelity Monophonic. Album cover photograph at The Bitter End, NYC.

Folk singer Mary Travers passed away Wednesday. She was 72 and had suffered from leukemia.

Mary Travers, Peter Yarrow, and Noel “Paul” Stookey — Peter, Paul and Mary — came together in 1961 in Greenwich Village, and were advocates for peace, justice and equality for nearly half a century.

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Mary once said, “We may have marched with Martin Luther King and sung “Blowin’ In The Wind” on the 1963 march on Washington — but we also sang it with Archbishop Tutu and in a political prison in El Salvador. We sang it over the grave of Andrew Goodman, one of the civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi in 1964 — and we sang it when an 8-year-old boy was killed by the Contras in Nicaragua.”

Noel "Paul" Stookey (left), Mary Travers, and Peter Yarrow.

Noel "Paul" Stookey (left), Mary Travers, and Peter Yarrow.

For more about Mary Travers’ life, and statements by Peter Yarrow and Noel “Paul” Stookey, click on www.peterpaulandmary.com.

Noel and Peter will carry on the work and the music, I believe.

Those of us who can remember the peace movement and the civil rights movement of the 1960s will have to put away the notion that we’re forever young, but Puff (The Mighty Dragon) will continue to roar.