Singing Lessons


If you want to learn to sing,
learn to breathe below the neck;
let the air fill your belly,
do not tense the throat and chest.

When you let loose the sound,
if it buzzes only in your head
it will sound small and strained;
if you do not feel the vibrations

through your toes, it is not singing.
Before you exhale through your open mouth,
remember, once your jaw is dropped
your Eustachian tubes will crimp;

so be sure to listen long and hard
first – do not rush into the first note.
Leave aside your theatrics and gesticulations!
There is time later for that circus.

To sing is not to entertain, but to fill.
Believe in the song, do not choose lightly;
for singing is sustained speech,
and the overtones will echo long after

you pause for breath.
Do not try to own the song;
just let it carry you.
Do not try to add anything

just try not to take too much away.
Now: inhale deeply and begin.

31 MAR 2013

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Praying for the Living


Everything that draws breath will some day stop;
No eternal life past the here and now
will cause anything to live forever.
Each new day brings another to an end.

The sun is not infinitely shining;
like us, it too requires a fuel supply.
There is no take without returning give,
though some fight against this equal exchange –

saying, they were gone too soon (or rather,
they did not get to take nearly enough);
some think they deserve much more than others
(though their payment is the same, maybe less).
If you want to live, seek for balance now;
but remember, no one has exact change.

31 MAR 2003

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