Coming for to carry me home

sunrise, passage grave, Loughcrew, Ireland (c) Carole Craig

sunrise, passage grave, Loughcrew, Ireland (c) Carole Craig

 

31st July
Tonight —  five thousand miles away and, in my mind’s eye, juggling fire — the circus are putting some of my mother’s ashes in the river at Orfino, Idaho. She has come full circle.

In Ireland, unable to travel because of a stupid fall over a bad book, I am filled with memories. They are of ‘early’ mother: when she sang Methodist hymns and cowboy songs and Burl Ives songs and Leadbelly songs and “My name it is Sam Hall” on which I was allowed – greatly thrilled — to join in on the chorus of “I hate you one and all/ God damn your eyes.”

It is the hymns that I am hearing now. The night that’s in it, I suppose, and my grandfather the itinerate preacher, and my great grandfather the same, and my firm belief that, bad as she found it, as gleefully as she rejected it, religion can take substantial credit for her formation.

Not the religion of the superficial questions: such as whether there is a god or not; or whether said god is male or female; whether he/she/it is human or elephant; or the vexed argument of how humankind is supposed to engage in worship, if worship is required.

But the more profound religious sense: that to be properly human raises the question of a moral life, of trying to be good, to be just, to leave the place better than you found it. If she were still alive, she’d be marching for Gaza, not, of course, with the expectation that this would solve the problem. But to try again. Fail again. Fail better.

And thank you New Old Time Chautauqua, she enjoyed it very much, I’m sure.

 

Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Well, now I looked over Jordan and what did I see
Comin’ for to carry me home
There was a band of angels a comin’ after me
Comin’ for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home

Well, I’m sometimes up and I’m sometimes down
Comin’ for to carry me home
But I know my soul is heavenly bound
Comin’ for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home

Well, now if you get there before I do
Comin’ for to carry me home
Tell all of my friends that I’m a comin’ too
Comin’ for to carry me home

Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Comin’ for to carry me home
Well, now they’re comin’ for to carry me home

 

Written by Wallas Willis described as both slave and freeman of a Chowtaw Narive American and sung frequently during the struggle for civil rights (my mother would like that)

2 thoughts on “Coming for to carry me home

  1. Hi Carole,

    I love that song!
    Looking forward to reading your blog later today and to seeing you later this month.
    Mad busy till 15th.

    All the very best,
    Liz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s