My friend, Naomi Cochran, poet laureate of the northwoods, wrote the following piece recently about how her mother taught her to read by following the words in the hymnal at the old Lutheran Church in Phipps, Wisconsin.
The words were flowers on my tongue,
God's holy language becoming mine;
Arranged in sweet bouquets, and sung
As death and life and love entwined.
Her fingers slowly traced each path
Where I, her child, would gladly go.
The mysteries of love and wrath
Revealed in song, so long ago.
The ceaseless praise, the stain of sin,
Forgiveness, grace, eternity--
Such tangled words, made smooth through hymns
Safe in my heart, God's treasury.