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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

We live the future of our past

Posted by Thomas Nephew on August 7th, 2010

This short, beautiful bit of music — one version of the theme for the PBS history series “American Experience” — has always sounded like a kind of poem to me, one in a language I didn’t know but wanted to understand.

Recently, I got to thinking more about it, and decided it was a hymn, and one I’d try to write some lyrics for. Here they are.

As a growing river flowing fast
as it rolls down to the sea
We live the future of our past
and pray that we grow more free

Over rock and fall
we together all
with our hearts
for our hopes
now
call

One Response to “We live the future of our past”

  1. Thomas Nephew Says:

    I’d add that I see those words as aspirational, and true to my perception of the music and the images. I certainly don’t see them or that music or those images as a sufficient, non-misleading description of the “American experience.” No hymn could be, that’s not what hymns are for.

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