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Wood Hath Hope

This hymn about hope and resurrection was written by American Roman Catholic priest, liturgist, composer and member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) John Foley SJ (b 1939).

It is based on a poem by English Roman Catholic ecclesiastical artist, mystic, popular religious writer and poet Caryll Houselander (901 – 12 October 1954) - which in turn is based on the book of Job 14.7-16.

It was the title-track of his first solo collection, originally published by North American Liturgy Resources (NALR) in 1978.  It does not appear to have been published in any subsequent hymnals, but the guitar accompaniment book for this collection is still available (linked below).

With irregular meter, the tune by Foley has a 4/4 time signature, and a very syncopated rhythm. In the key of Dm, the first few notes are D E F F G_ A A B_ A_ G F_


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Downloads




Examples


Small group - original recording, acapella then guitar accompaniment:



Choir with band - unaccompanied to start with:



Singer, self-accompanied on guitar:



Duet with ukulele:


Lyrics


Original poem by Caryll Houselander

Wood hath hope.
When it's cut, it grows green again,
and its boughs sprout clean again.
Wood hath hope.

Root and stock, although old and withered up,
and all sunk in earth corrupt, will revive.
Leaves return. Water pure brings life to them,
and the tree lives young again.
Wood hath hope.

But ah, strange thought: if we could rise again,
called home to a loving land,
we would have hope.

We would have hope.
Like a tree we'd grow green again,
and our boughs sprout clean again;
we would have hope.

Song by John Foley

Wood hath hope.
When it's cut, it grows green again,
and its boughs sprout clean again.
Wood hath hope.

Root and stock although old and withered up,
and all sunk in earth corrupt, will revive
Leaves return. Water pure brings life to them,
and the tree lives young again.
Wood hath hope.

But for flesh waits death to strip the soul,
and breathe life out, behold: all things end.
Mortal life's like a dried up river bed,
We lay down our heads, to rise no more.

But ah, strange thought, if we could rise again,
Called home to a loving land, we would have hope.

We would have hope
Like a tree we'd grow green again,
and our boughs sprout clean again;
we would have hope.

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KEEP IN CASE ORIGINAL IS REMOVED, BUT DO NOT DISPLAY
Wood hath hope.
When it's cut, it grows green again,
and its boughs sprout clean again.
Wood hath hope.

Root and stock although old and withered up,
and all sunk in earth corrupt, will revive
Leaves return. Water pure brings life to them,
and the tree lives young again.
Wood hath hope.

But for flesh waits death to strip the soul,
and breathe life out, behold: all things end.
Mortal life's like a dried up river bed,
We lay down our heads, to rise no more.

But ah, strange thought, if we could rise again,
Called home to a loving land, we would have hope.

We would have hope
Like a tree we'd grow green again,
and our boughs sprout clean again;
we would have hope.

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