the poems on our album

the poems below are the ones we have used on the album. i am inspired by words and the words themselves are what suggest the melody, style of accompaniment and general feel. Sometimes they come together fast and other times they take months to take shape. I know I have a good melody line when I can't stop singing it to myself for days... it becomes an annoying earworm!

I have always loved poetry and the evocotive nature of precisely the right word for a situation. Prose is great but poetry sums up big ideas in small packages and even my favourite prose writers have an element of sparseness and lyricism about them. For example Tove Jannson (Moomin books) and Ursula K Le Guin.

For the next project we are working with sligo poet Mary Branley, whom we have worked with in the past and also some other bits and pieces that are ongoing projects and never made it to the first album.


1 If I had Two Little Wings: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

If I had but two little wings
And were a little feathery bird,
To you I'd fly, my dear!
But thoughts like these are idle things
And I stay here.

But in my sleep to you I fly:
I'm always with you in my sleep!
The world is all one's own.
But then one wakes, and where am I?
All, all alone.

Sleep stays not, though a monarch bids:
So I love to wake ere break of day:
For though my sleep be gone,
Yet while 'tis dark, one shuts one's lids,
And still dreams on.

2 Ophelia: William Shakespeare

How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff
And his sandal shoon

What imports this song?

He is dead and gone, Lady
He is dead and gone
At his head the grass-green turf
At his heels a stone

White his shroud as the mountain snow—

Larded all with sweet flowers,
Which bewept to the ground did not go
With true-love showers.

3 A Widow Bird sat mourning for her Love: Percy Bysse Shelly

A widow bird sate mourning for her Love
Upon a wintry bough;
The frozen wind crept on above,
The freezing stream below.

There was no leaf upon the forest bare,
No flower upon the ground,
And little motion in the air
Except the mill-wheel's sound.

4 If Death is Kind: Sara Teasdale

Perhaps if Death is kind, and there can be returning,
We will come back to earth some fragrant night,
And take these lanes to find the sea, and bending
Breathe the same honeysuckle, low and white.

We will come down at night to these resounding beaches
And the long gentle thunder of the sea,
Here for a single hour in the wide starlight
We shall be happy, for the dead are free.

5 The End of the world: Miroslav Holub

The bird had come to the very end of its song
and the tree was dissolving under its claws.

And in the sky the clouds were twisting
and darkness flowed through all the cracks
into the sinking vessel of the landscape.

Only in the telegraph wires
a message still

C-.-o- -m- e. h...o- -m- e.
y-.- o- -u..- h...a.-v...-e.
a.-s...o- -n-

6 Daughter of Eve: Christina Rossetti

fool I was to sleep at noon,
And wake when night is chilly
Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

My garden-plot I have not kept;
Faded and all-forsaken,
I weep as I have never wept:
Oh it was summer when I slept,
It's winter now I waken.

Talk what you please of future spring
And sun-warmed sweet to-morrow: -
Stripped bare of hope and everything,
No more to laugh, no more to sing,
I sit alone with sorrow

Birthday: Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree
Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea;
My heart is gladder than all these,
Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
Work it in gold and silver grapes,
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
Because the birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me

8 Look on The Heart: Victor Hugo

poem taken from The Hunchback of Notre Dame and it is a song Quaismodo sings to himself as he laments the fact that he is so ugly and Esmerelda will never love him.

9 Rough and Rocky: Flatt and Scruggs

old time amercana classic written by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs

10 NightPiece to Julia: Robert Herrick/Richard Monkton

Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee;
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o'-th'-Wisp mislight thee,
Nor snake or slow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there's none to affright thee.

Let not the dark thee cumber:
What though the moon does slumber?
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light
Like tapers clear without number.

Then, Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me;
And when I shall meet
Thy silv'ry feet
My soul I'll pour into thee.

Lady Moon: Richard Monckton

Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?
"Over the sea."
Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?
"All that love me."

Are you not tired with rolling, and never
Resting to sleep?
Why look so pale and sad, as forever
Wishing to weep?

"Ask me not this, little child, if you love me;
You are too bold:
I must obey my dear Father above me,
And do as I'm told."

Lady Moon, Lady Moon, where are you roving?
"Over the sea."
Lady Moon, Lady Moon, whom are you loving?
"All that love me."

11 Sleep Little Sheep Sleep: Cliodhna Quinlan


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