Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Three songs of stars and fire

The first song:

There's a song in the air, there's a star in the sky.
There's a mother's soft prayer and a baby's low cry.
And the stars rain their fire while the Beautiful sing,
For the manger of Bethlehem cradles a King.

My mother used to sing this lullaby to me. Despite some research, I have no idea who composed it. Now that I have the words, I can sing it to Lucia without having to fill in the blanks with "da da dahs."

The second song:

The love of El Shaddai within the womb of fertile earth,
Created flesh and bone to form this child of holy birth
I wonder at his silky hair, I touch his tiny hands,
And think, "Behold the Lord of stars, the seas,
      the grains of sand."

I wrote the words to this song in 1993. A friend of mine wrote the music, and we won the song-writing contest. Our Mennonite college choir sang it in four-part harmony. Have you ever attended a gathering where Mennonites sing a capella? If not, now you have something new to which to look forward.

The third song:

Pavane for the Nursery, by William Jay Smith

Now touch the air softly, step gently, one, two ...
I'll love you 'til roses are robin's egg blue;
I'll love you 'til gravel is eaten for bread,
And lemons are orange, and lavender's red.

Now touch the air softly, swing gently the broom.
I'll love you 'til windows are all of a room;
And the table is laid, And the table is bare,
And the ceiling reposes on bottomless air.

I'll love you 'til heaven rips the stars from his coat,
And the moon rows away in a glass-bottomed boat;
And Orion steps down like a diver below,
And earth is ablaze, and oceans aglow.

So touch the air softly, and swing the broom high.
We will dust the grey mountains, and sweep the blue sky:
And I'll love you as long as the furrow the plough,
As however is ever, and ever is now.

Lucy and Carly Simon set a number of children's songs to music. I have a tape recording of the out-of-print record, and hope someday that the music will find its way to compact disc. Friends of mine (Mennonites again!) sang this song at my wedding, and now I sing it to Lucia. If I had the technology, I'd post passable audio files so that you could have the tunes. As it is, you have my blessings to make up your own tunes (the song I co-wrote is in D minor, if that helps at all.) Just give credit where credit is due.


galetea said...

Four part harmony singing is what I miss most about being around Mennonites. :)

Saints and Spinners said...

Me too! It's funny, though, I sing more now than I did when I attended the Mennonite church. My daughter blows me out of the water, though.