for Dale Warland and the singers
on the occasion of their farewell concert, May 30, 2004
I don’t know if we have ever deserved the voices, but they are ours, I don’t know if we ever have known what it means to be able to speak in those tongues, and only in my worst, most useless moments have I tried to imagine our lives without them. Where might we go in the world where they would not reach us? I would never go into the dark without the voices, I have come to rely on how they mend us among the ruins of what we have hoped for. If there were only one branch in the world, the voices would find it. Doubt was never the root of us, doubt winds itself, again and again, around our doing, but it was never the source, joy is the source, foliage of joy in which the singers are hidden, but heard; always the gate, always the garden, always the light, the shadows, always the leaves. From where I stand now, I cannot see every singer, but looking out across the years, listening in ways learned only from them, I can hear all the song.