Slowly, Slowly the Evening Falls

(from the 2020 collection, Lake of Mercy: Songs for Healing)

Slowly, Slowly the Evening Falls

1. Slowly, slowly the evening falls Till the stars appear.
Slowly, slowly my thoughts unwind; Clouds within me clear.
Slowly, slowly the silence grows Like a snowfall piling deep.
Slowly, slowly the darkness calls me to sleep.

Praise the God of the evening, Mother of the fertile dark.
Praise the God of the silence in the void between the stars.
Send your holy shadows. Cover us, O God of might.
Make us whole and keep us in the womb of the night.

2. Softly, softly a graceful cat tiptoes o’er the ground.
Softly, softly a tiny bat flies without a sound.
Softly, softly the aspen leaves tremble in the midnight wind.
Softly, softly moves my breath in and out again.

3. Gently, gently the heavens turn. Galaxies recede.
Gently, gently a tender root reaches down in need.
Gently, gently the sweethearts play in the shadows of love.
Gently, gently the dew descends from the blackness above.

4. Sweetly, sweetly sings the moon from the eastern sky.
Sweetly, sweetly sleep comes and I close my eyes.
Sweetly, sweetly I walk in dreams, going where no feet have trod.
Sweetly, sweetly I rest my soul in the arms of God.

Words and music by Bret Hesla. Tune based in part on Norwegian American folk tune, Kan du glemme gamle Norge. © 1992 Bret Hesla.  All rights reserved. Use with permission, please.
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Back in 1994, I wrote of this song, “We need to stop demonizing the dark. In too many of our songs and language we use the worn-out metaphors of ‘day is good and night is bad’, or  ‘God is light, evil is dark’ etc.”

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s still so true.  I wrote this song to celebrate the sacred goodness of the dark, and the healing this that happen in the night. For the tune, I have blended some original melody lines with a heavy dose of fragments from a Norwegian-American folk tune which was one of my grandma’s favorites.


Note: For full keyboard accompaniment, see the songbook, “Global Songs, Local Voices.

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