Week 354: The President Sang Amazing Grace, by Zoe Mulford

In the week following yet another all too common event in the United States, the words of this song by Zoe Mulford, written after the Charleston church shootings in 2015, seem to go to the heart of the matter without fuss or frills. The song has been covered by, among others, Joan Baez and can be found on her album ‘Whistle Down The Wind’. The President in this case is Barack Obama, not to be confused with the present incumbent.

The President Sang Amazing Grace

A young man came to a house of prayer
They did not ask what brought him there
He was not friend, he was not kin
But they opened the door and let him in

And for an hour the stranger stayed
He sat with them and seemed to pray
But then the young man drew a gun
And killed nine people, old and young

In Charleston in the month of June
The mourners gathered in a room
The President came to speak some words
And the cameras rolled and the nation heard

But no words could say what must be said
For all the living and the dead
So on that day and in that place
The President sang Amazing Grace
The President sang Amazing Grace

We argued where to lay the blame
On one man’s hate or our nation’s shame
Some sickness of the mind or soul
And how the wounds might be made whole

But no words could say what must be said
For all the living and the dead
So on that day and in that place
The President sang Amazing Grace
My President sang Amazing Grace

Zoe Mulford

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