3 min.
2009

In the winter of 2009, longtime friends composer, Peter de Mets and poet, Mark A. Boyle met James McCullough at the National ACDA Conference in Oklahoma City. For some reason, this Harvard trained composer, who had studied with the likes of Daniel Pinkham and Undine Smith Moore, decided to spend time with Peter and Mark. He shared stories of a life well lived in music. A new friendship was born. When it was time to part and go separate ways, James said, “my father always said, ‘Look for Blessings every day.’ Today, you two are my blessings.” James’s sentiment touched Peter and Mark very deeply. On the plane ride back to Pennsylvania, Peter said to Mark, “I want to do something special for James but I don’t want you to steal my idea.” Having known Peter for almost 20 years, Mark replied, “I know you want to write him a piece.Why don’t you let me write the poem?” Somewhere over the middle of the United States, the poem Blessings came to be. Peter set it rather quickly and the finished piece was sent to James as a gift. Each choir that performs the work takes away something different, however there seems to be a unifying effect – we can find blessings everywhere.

Text

My Papa said,
“Look”
“Look”
On the streets,
In the churches,
In the synagogues,
In the mosques,
In the heart of human-kind

My Papa said,
“Look”
“Look for blessings”
In the valleys,
On the mountaintops,
In the profane,
In the divine,
In the hearts of young and old

My Papa said,
“Look”
“Look for blessings every-day”
In your rising,
In your living,
In your breathing,
In your going down,
In your heart of soul and flesh

My Papa said,
“Look”
“Look”

My Papa said,
“Look for blessings everyday”
You,

In this brief moment,
A shared shared sigh,
Laughter,
Worldly tears,
And sacred joy…You are my blessings.

Mark A. Boyle, February, 2009

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