Words For When

life happens

Song: No Miracle

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I wrote “No Miracle” at least five years ago after a particularly hard day at work as a hospital chaplain. I needed words for the frustration but also wonder of life out beyond whether “miracles can really happen” or not. The chorus was inspired by a greeting card I found and sent to a friend. The image on it looked like an image from Alice in Wonderland — a girl surrounded by emptied tea cups with the words, “The human heart is insatiable, and I didn’t know! I didn’t know!” I sent it to a friend, and now have no idea how to credit the creator of the greeting card. You can hear me singing it here, with the inimitable Russell Weeks, who arranged the song, accompanying on guitar. Lyrics are below.

I have only tears to baptize,
only fumbling hands to bless.
One little fish and a handful of crumbs,
I am waiting here … no miracle comes.

Your body is tired, my spirit is weak.
You ask me to pray, I ask your forgiveness.
If Heaven proves false I promise that we
will rival that feast in my kitchen.

We’ll fry bitter onions in the fat of the land.
We’ll toast the strange brew of time and neglect
turning to wine our own water and weeds
and hide in the truth of the vigil.

Chorus:
Oh the human heart insatiable is, and I didn’t know…
NNNNNNNNoh I didn’t know…
The human heart insatiable is, and I didn’t know…
NNNNNNNNoh I didn’t know!

Did I lead you where you would never have gone?
Did I find you where you already were?
Like Hansel and Gretel we are hungry and lost,
for we squander our bread on the journey.

But then you flash me green irises, sweet as a wink.
Mine swim in their own salty brine.
We are just babies beneath all the years,
so fat with such empty bellies.

Chorus:
Oh the human heart insatiable is, and I didn’t know…
NNNNNNNNoh I didn’t know…
The human heart insatiable is, and I didn’t know…
NNNNNNNNoh I didn’t know!

I have only tears to baptize,
only fumbling hands to bless.
One little fish and a handful of crumbs,
I am waiting here for a miracle … come.

NNNNoriginal song by Susan Gascho-Cooke, arr. by Russell Weeks

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Beautiful, Susan.

  2. Avatar

    Edith Wharton

    • wordsforwhen

      I’m intrigued by the Edith Wharton comment … can you say more?

    • wordsforwhen

      I googled the “the human heart is insatiable” along with “edith wharton” and found the quote to which you’re referring. Thank you! I’m grateful to know where the quote on the card must have come from. Back when I wrote the song and tried to search the phrase, I didn’t find the connection to Edith Wharton. Now I know.

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