Impermanent Things by Peter Himmelman

by Sister Julie Ann on February 1, 2009

peter.JPGPresently ‘live streaming’ the musical variety show Furious World and performing here Impermanent Things, a song that pleads for seeing life with new eyes, Peter Himmelman, multi-faceted musician and Emmy nominated film and television composer, is the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s featured February artist of the month.Peter Himmelman’s work has consistently earned critical accolades. J.D. Considine, in the Rolling Stone Album Guide, called 1989’s Synethesia ” a delight”, awarding it with four stars. Time Magazine heralded Himmelman as one of “the New Troubadours” upon the release of his epic debut From Strength to Strength, asserting that he writes “songs with the emphatic edge and aesthetic urgency that impelled the Lost Generation to write novels.” In its Unstoppable Forces review, No Depression marveled how “Himmelman strips his music to its essence, tapping into a primal inspiration, investing melodies that have the sing-song simplicity of Buddy Holly or the Beatles with the yearning of a spiritual quest.”

himmel_closeup_lowhres.jpgDuring the ’90s, Himmelman, (now living in Los Angeles, married with four children) expanded his musical horizons to scoring a number of television shows and films, including the Disney series Bug Juice, NBC’s American Embassy and the Touchstone film Crossing the Bridge. In 2002, he earned an Emmy nomination for his work on Judging Amy, a show he has scored since 1999. He is currently scoring the show Bones on Fox and the new ABS hit, Men in Trees. Exploring different musical opportunities has long intrigued Himmelman. While living in New York in the early ’80’s, he wrote music Swatch watches, Jordache jeans, and runaway music for top fashion designer Issey Miyake. He’s also done national PSAs for drug awareness and written a series of song for a teddy bear that’s currently being used to aid autistic children and rape victims.

Children’s music is another field that Himmelman has delved into with considerable success. He has made three children’s albums: My Best Friend Is A Salamander (1997), My Fabulous Plum (2000) and My Lemonade Stand (2004), with both Plum and Salamander being recognized with a Parents’ Choice Award and the Family Channel Seal Of Quality. Himmelman finds children’s music “a vast and liberating universe of possibility,” although noting that his kid’s songs and his rock songs “come from very distinct places.” 

Do something that makes you cry, that makes you weep with awe. There is a state of humility where you can feel something coming from a dimension outside oneself. That recognition, that sense of awe, is what I use to make things.

-Peter Himmelman


Impermanent Things
From the album From Strength to Strength (1991)

All these impermanent things
Oh how they fool me
Dominate and rule me
They keep me waiting here forever
All these impermanent things
Well their beauty’s never aging
But their worthlessness’s enraging
You know we all stand alone when we’re together

Why keep hanging on
To things that never stay
Things that just keep stringin’ us along
From day to day

All these impermanent things
Present yet elusive
Passive yet abusive
Tearing out the heart in utter silence
All these impermanent things
Well they point in all directions
Like secondhand reflections
And they’re leading us to subtle shades of violence

Why keep hanging on
To things that never stay
Things that just keep stringin’ us along
From day to day

All these impermanent things
Well they’re trying to convince me
Baptize my soul and rinse me
Purge my mind of honesty and fire
All these impermanent things
Well they all add up to zero
They make-believe that they’re my hero
Then they fill my mind with doubt and false desires

Why keep hanging on
To things that never stay
Things that just keep stringin’ us along
From day to day


62 thoughts on “Impermanent Things by Peter Himmelman”

  1. Kristen says:

    Nothing is permanent, the world around us is changing each and everyday. We need to take it as it comes though and deal with the issues the best we know how to. God can help us with these issues and guide us in making the best choices possible:)

  2. Jordan says:

    Kind of reminds me to live my life to the fullest each day and to forget about all of our useless worldly possessions.

  3. Lisa says:

    Trying to become one, and embracing on another to work together should be our constant goal. To live fully for God and in God and remember what really matters in life. Put things into perspective.

  4. Fr. Tom says:

    The song serves as a warning bell against grasping anything or any idea as ultimate. Only God and love, pure love without concern for self serve to bring you peace.

  5. Joe says:

    There are many things in our lives but there are a few that truly mean something, faith, love, God. These things never grow old. They are what life is really about. They are not the things that one can forget because they are not ‘Impermanent Things’ they are ‘life- giving things’.

  6. Thanks so much for all your comments. Your words call us to go deeper in our lives. Every choice of buying and using ‘things’ should come from our purpose of being.

  7. JesseSH says:

    I liked the song, it had a good tune and lyrics. I enyoyed listening to it.

  8. bridgetr. says:

    This song made me realize that we focus so much on material things in place of things that really matter. Instead of hoping that material tings will make us happy, we need to go out and do good things; that will make us truely happy.

  9. I do believe that your generation is becoming more aware of how reaching out to others touches the core of our being; which is where true happiness is found! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Bridget!

  10. Colin B says:

    I thought that the song was sort of inspiring and it made me think about the deeper meaning of life and how I can make myself one with God.

  11. Colin, thanks for digging deeper into our website to find this song.

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