Joe Jencks

How Can I Keep From Singing

Words and Music traditional except third verse lyrics, written by Doris Plenn

These lyrics have spoken truth to me for many years, but the traditional arrangement in 4/4 time has always felt pedantic and out of place.  I was experimenting one night and gave it a syncopated ¾ feel and the natural rhythms of the lyrics seemed to find new life.  I thoroughly enjoy singing it now!

My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentation
I hear that real, through far-off hymn
That hails the new creation
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear that music ringing
It sounds an echo in my soul
How can I keep from singing?

What though the tempest round me roar
I hear the truth it liveth
What though the darkness round me close
Songs in the night it giveth
No storm can shake my inmost calm
While to that rock I'm clinging
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble sick with fear
And hear their death knells ringing
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?
In prison cells and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?
Arrangement © 2004 Joe Jencks, Turtle Bear Music