Hills of the North, Rejoice

* This poem was inspired by the original Charles E. Oakley song, his lyrics are below the poem

And I played in never rehearsed intimacy of the keys
But in my hands a steering wheel not a set of ivories
I felt the music from the piano reach beyond the moon
To see my fingers keep pace as if familiar with the tune

The road ahead split in half by strips of painted white
Guard rails reflected silver hues to my left and right
Everywhere I looked ebony and ivories of every kind
God truths reached out into the darkness of my mind

Blood synchronized the veins at the top of my hands
Fingers pumped to graces melody of imaginary strands
As the song retreated, I too back to normal wingspan
Scattered thoughts reminded me I am a tone-deaf man

How many times I wished for far more than listening
Yet I played in a song of rivers and mountain springs
Wide awake on this far north hill so long cold and gray
Rejoicing with Christ as I journey His great highway

I now know why God let me play, as I could not before
My wish was granted so I could grasp so much more
To see that His Son shines even behind the hills north
Where even cold hearts can beat when love burst forth



I was driving home from an evening meeting listening to a new CD of old Christian songs by Rick Wakeman, keyboardist from the rock group YES.  The veins leading towards my fingers began to pump blood in synchrony to a specific song. My fingers just seemed to play this imaginary keyboard attached to my steering wheel.  Understand that I am tone deaf and there is pretty much no way I can ever play a piano although I have frequently wished I could.  When the song ended I knew when I got home I had to find the words.  God had again found a way to make me think.  Back in the recesses of my mind, hidden away on the north side from the warmth of the sun lay my limits.  Yes, I may indeed be tone deaf but the sun shone on the other side of this same mountain.  What a remarkable metaphor for my friends and neighbors that maybe have not felt the Son; I can help bring them the Sonshine.
For further reflection: Psalm 65

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So you don’t have to look it up, here are the original lyrics to “Hills of the North, Rejoice” which was first published in 1870 by Charles E. Oakley

Hills of the North Rejoice

River and mountain spring,
Hark to the advent voice;
Valley and lowland, sing;
Though absent long, your Lord is nigh;
He judgment brings and victory.
Isles of the southern seas,
Deep in your coral caves
Pent be each warring breeze,
Lulled be your restless waves:
He comes to reign with boundless sway,
And makes your wastes His great highway.
Lands of the East, awake,
Soon shall your sons be free;
The sleep of ages break,
And rise to liberty.
On your far hills, long cold and gray,
Has dawned the everlasting day
Shores of the utmost West,
Ye that have waited long,
Unvisited, unblest,
Break forth to swelling song;
High raise the note, that Jesus died,
Yet lives and reigns, the Crucified.
Shout, while ye journey home;
Songs be in every mouth;
Lo, from the North we come,
From East, and West, and South.
City of God, the bond are free,
We come to live and reign in thee!