April 25, 2013

Simple Gifts

My mom phoned me to tell me that she had a song running through her head that she thought would be nice to share on my blog. From past experience I know that it is a good idea to listen to motherly wisdom, so I checked the song lyrics out.

Of course, mom was right, and here is the beautiful song she shared with me by singing a long distance rendition of the original verse. It turns out that other verses exist and they are also good.

"Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph while at a Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. These are the lyrics to his one-verse song:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

Two additional, later non-Shaker verses exist for the song, as follows:

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.[9]

Tis the gift to be loving, tis the best gift of all
Like a quiet rain it blesses where it falls
And with it we will truly believe
Tis better to give than it is to receive

And an additional alternative:

The Earth is our mother and the fullness thereof,
Her streets, her slums, as well as stars above.
Salvation is here where we laugh, where we cry,
Where we seek and love, where we live and die.
When true liberty is found,
By fear and by hate we will no more be bound.
In love and in light we will find our new birth
And in peace and freedom, redeem the Earth.

Another alternate verse:

'tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be fair
'tis a gift to wake and breathe the morning air
and each day we walk on the path that we choose
'tis a gift we pray we never shall lose

- source

Thanks, mom.


  1. Anonymous4/25/2013

    I have at least 4 versions of this song in my music library. Pete Seeger does a nice rendition. Obviously one of my favorites.

    Have you heard "My Old Brown Earth" by Pete Seeger?

    1. Well I guess it makes sense that not only would you be familiar with the song, but also have multiple versions of it.

      We love Pete Seeger, and will be looking his version up to enjoy over a hot beverage tomorrow morning.

      Will also look up your other suggestion. Thank you, Miss Marla.

    2. Anonymous4/26/2013

      Apparently I completely fabricated the Pete Seeger version in my head because I couldn't find it anywhere. Sorry about that. He does sing 'To My Old Brown Earth" however.

  2. Leave it to moms to come up with something beautiful

    1. Well, she did have me after all :)

      My mom has always encouraged my simple living ways. She's great!


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