1. I Can Breathe

The simple, or not-so-simple, act of breathing is something I have focused on in more than one of my songs. Today, as we recover from a pandemic, as we rise to meet the challenges of climate change, and as we strive for social justice and truth, breathing seems to be front and centre yet again.

I have talked with friends about this. One of them, who grew up in the United States, pieced all this together and concluded, "America needs to get off its ventilator."

Then came my long-time friend, Tony Chursky. In an email, he talked about the relief he was feeling after receiving his first Covid vaccination. He said, "It's like I can breath again." Then he said, "Hey, that would be a good theme for a song." And with that, we were off.

I Can Breathe is more about hope and aspiration than it is about the present. There is still much to be done before we can all say we can breathe when it comes to social justice, the climate and the pandemic. With all this in mind, I Can Breathe is our song of hope for the future.

Writing with Tony was a great experience. This is our first full collaboration, and I hope it won't be our last.


I Can Breathe

We all need in this life we’re making
One sweet breath of pure air
That is free from disease and the weight of hatred
Clear as truth filled with care

And I will concede through all my breathing
I took it for granted, strong and hale
Yet here I am now, lost and reeling
As each breath becomes so frail

But I hope to see the day
Indeed, I pray
When I can finally say

I can breathe, I can sigh
And my hope will not die
As with courage we stand

I will breathe, for I’ll know
That our children will grow
And for truth I know they’ll demand

I once believed that words were honest
And they held the truth, they made things right
When that’s not so, I’m still astonished
That we’ve let the darkness steal the light

Still. I hope to see the day
Indeed, I pray
When we can finally say

I can breathe, I can fly
And it seems to me that I
Can finally see past the pain

I can feel, I can dream
And then all of this might mean
I can reach without chains

It’s been too long that I’ve been choking
On this bitter pill laced with hate
I long for the sound of children singing
And I swear it’s not too late

And I hope to see the day
Indeed, I pray
When we can finally say

I can breathe safe and strong
As the world breathes along
Hope will be more than a song

We will breathe on our own
From this air we call home
And as one we will say
I can breathe!

© Tony Chursky & Gary Poole 2021