Great Trees


play mp3 sample: Great Trees

SATB/piano- words by Wendell Berry, music by Mary Alice Amidon – arr. Peter Amidon

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      Great Trees - Peter & Mary Alice Amidon

In the Amidons’ book and CD ‘‘Twenty-five Anthems for Interfaith & Community Choirs. Sung here by Friends-of-the-Amidons-Singers. The text is from the poem “Slowly, slowly they return” from SABBATHS by Wendell Berry. Hallowell, southeastern Vermont’s hospice singing group, was thrilled to get to sing this for Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai who started the Green Belt Movement, planting millions of trees in Kenya. Peter composed the piano part for Mary Alice’s solo performance on the Amidons’ Hymns & Ballads CD.  This can also be done a cappella, listen to the Youtube link below.


Great Trees
words: “Slowly, slowly, they return” from SABBATHS by
Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1987 by Wendell Berry.  
Used by arrangement with North Point Press,
a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. All rights reserved

Slowly, slowy, they return
To the small woodland let alone:
Great trees, outspreading and upright,
apostles of the living light.

Patient as stars, they build in air
Tier after tier a timbered choir,
Stout beams upholding weightless grace
of song, a blessing on this place.

They stand in waiting all around,
Uprisings of their native ground,
Downcomings of the distant light
They are the advent they await.

Receiving sun and giving shade,
Their life’s a benefaction made,
And is a benediction said
Over the living and the dead.

In fall their brightened leaves, released,
Fly down the wind and we are pleased
To walk on radiance, amazed.
Oh light come down to earth, be praised!