Tuesday, May 24, 2016

She Sang Let There Be Peace on Earth--By Marianne Szlyk--United States

She Sang Let There Be Peace on Earth

My mother used to sing hymns
in her kitchen with gingham curtains.

A New England soprano, she aimed
for and hit all the notes

at daily Mass when the priest
strode in already off key,

his green cassock flapping,
sleeves beating time

or on Sunday when
a whistle soprano led us

higher and higher, faster and faster,
until our voices cracked.   

At church these days, the hymns
are accompanied by organ or piano.

Some even sound like Sondheim.

But when I listen to the hymns
we used to sing,

I cry,
hearing my mother’s voice.

Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... Recently, she published her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, with Flutter Press. Her first, Listening to Electric Cambodia, Looking Up at Trees of Heaven, was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. Her poems have appeared in Long Exposure, Of/with, bird's thumb, Solar Nation, Quill and Parchment, Silver Birch Press' series, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocaine, Poppy Road Review, and other online and print venues including Kind of a Hurricane Press' anthologies.


  1. Marianne,
    A beautiful way to remember your mother. She is probably smiling down on you from Heaven.
    Your friend,
    David Fox

    1. Thank you, David. :) I certainly hope so! I wish I had been going to church when she was herself.

  2. What a lovely way to remember her--singing "Let there be Peace on Earth." Thank you for sharing that, Marianne.

  3. Very poignant piece. Music, like poetry, is a powerful thing. It can make you happy sometimes and sad other times, and bring back heartfelt memories. Beautifully written!

    1. Thank you, Poppy. :) I appreciate your comments.

  4. Yes Marianne, "Let There Be Peace!" What a beautiful poem that I dearly enjoyed. Thank you for sharing and continued blessings!

    -MJ (www.tgbtgpublictions.com)

    1. Thank you so much, Maurice :) Best of luck with your projects!