Tuesday, May 26, 2020

I Know A Green Cathedral

I still know the first few phrases of the first vocal solo I ever sang for a music festival. It was "The Green Cathedral." It was my 7th grade year at Skyline Schools, and I remember standing by the piano in the music room with Mr. Bob White, practicing over and over again, trying to perfect the performance before the music festival.

These days, I sometimes can't remember why I walked from one room to the other without retracing my steps and trying again. But the words to that long-ago solo were among the first I remembered as Randy and I stepped into the light and shadows of an abandoned farmstead.
"I know a green cathedral, 
a shadowed forest shrine.
Where leaves in love join hands above 
and arch your prayer and mine."

It might not be a forest in the middle of the Kansas plains. But the Dame's rocket flowers were a siren call stretching far into the shelterbelt and dotting the blanket of green underfoot and overhead with a splash of lavender.

That day, we had been driving by at 55 MPH on our way back home. But the splash of purple at the side of the road had me asking Randy to turn around.
We've been to this spot on other springtime afternoons. But never do I remember the flowers being so prolific and magical.
True confessions: I didn't remember all the words to the song without Googling them. (And, by the way, isn't that reference tool a major upgrade from the old card catalog? After all, it was probably 50 years ago or so.)

So, "The Green Cathedral" has joined the never-ending sound track of my mind.

"Memories, light the corner of my mind. Misty, water-colored memories
Of the way we were."

Oops ... wrong song.

"The Green Cathedral" 
Verse by Gordon Johnstone

I know a green cathedral, a shadowed forest shrine,
 Where leaves in love join hands above
 and arch your prayer and mine;
Within its cool depths sacred, the priestly cedar sighs,
 And the fir and pine lift arms divine unto the pure blue skies
In my dear green cathedral there is a flowered seat,
Birdhouse at Sterling golf course, photo taken the same day.
 And choir loft in branched croft, 
 where songs of bird hymns sweet;
 And I like to dream at evening, 
when the stars its arches light,
That my Lord and God treads its hallowed sod, 
In the cool calm peace of night.


  1. How absolutely beautiful, both flowers and verse!

    1. Thanks, Helen. The photos don't do it justice.

    2. Daphne,tdjlpgb@gmail.com July 3,2021
      Thank you for the lovely photographs. They illustrate the words to the song, beautifully.I also had this "Green Cathedral" song in the seventh grade, 1952.
      I am so happy to read these words once again! Thank you
      Daphne, tdjlpgb@gmail.com

  2. Thank you for the beautiful photographs. They illustrate this song so well.

    I sang this song also, in the seventh grade, 1952!
    I am thankful for having the words to this lovely Melody,
    once again.