December 2010

Affection and Respect

Now that the Black Nativity show is finished (we had our last performance on Sunday) and I am no longer singing in the choir every two days or so, I can rest a bit and reflect on what I've learned over the past 6 weeks. I know I'll cherish the experience of singing these amazing gospel songs with a talented African-American choir, and being on stage with a dozen stunning dancers and five extraordinary musicians. But what will remain with me as deep life lessons are remarks made by two of the directors of Black Nativity.

Cameron Penny's poem

If you are lucky in this life,
A window will appear on a battlefield between two armies.
And when the soldiers look into the window
They don’t see their enemies.
They see themselves as children.
And they stop fighting
And go home and go to sleep. When they wake up, the land is well again.

Cameron Penny's If You Are Lucky in This Life was originally published in the November/December 2001 issue of North American Review. Marie Howe reads his poem in the film Voices in Wartime.