All the little birds

In springtime a girl’s thoughts
Turn lightly to her swain
And all of the little birds
Sing their sweet refrain

Toor-a-lie-lay
Toor-a-lie-lee
Fly away up
To the top of the tree

In summer a woman takes
A lover to her bower
And all of the little birds
Sing of secret flowers

Toor-a-lie-lay
Toor-a-lie-lee
Fly away up
To the top of the tree

In autumn a mother rocks
Her little babe to sleep
And all of the little birds
Sing of promises to keep

Toor-a-lie-lay
Toor-a-lie-lee
Fly away up
To the top of the tree

In winter the grey lady
Forbids the birds to sing
So all of the little birds
Hide their heads ‘neath their wings

Toor-a-lie-lee
Toor-a-lie-lay
Close your tired eyes now
And dream of the day

Oh Jacob

Jacob wrassled with an angel
He threw him to the ground
Said “Tell God I’m gonna get him
Next time he comes to town
I got a bone to pick
I got a few complaints
When he comes he better bring
His toughest troop of saints”

Oh Jacob, oh Jacob
I understand why
It’s hard to bear
To see a loved one die

Now Jacob was a big man
Swung a twenty-pound maul
Worked on the roads round Louisville
From summer into fall
He wed his childhood sweetheart
The love of his life
Then God came down and took his
Newborn baby and his wife

Oh Jacob, oh Jacob
See that tear in your eye
It’s hard to bear
To see a loved one die

Now Jacob he searched high
And Jacob he searched low
Jacob he search fast
And Jacob he searched slow
He searched all through Kentucky
And down to Tennessee
He said “When I find God
I’m gonna hang him from a tree”

Oh Jacob, oh Jacob
Your hammer’s gonna fly
I know it’s hard to bear
To watch a loved one die

One Sunday down in Knoxville
God was standing by a church
Jacob said “Now listen God
You’re in a world of hurt.”
God said, “You’ll see your loved ones”
And to Jacob’s surprise
God pulled out a .44
Shot him right between the eyes

Oh Jacob, oh Jacob
Is that you on the rise?
Going to meet your loved ones
In that mansion in the sky

Oh people, oh people
God don’t mess around
You come looking for God
He gonna shoot you down

walking down these city streets without you

I am walking down these city streets without you
Just walking down these city streets without you
And I haven’t got a clue
Where I am going to
Just walking down these city streets without you

I am lying in this lonely bed without you
Just lying in this lonely bed without you
There’s only one pillow
Where once there was two
Just lying on this lonely bed without you

I feel like I’m losing my mind
If you look close you just might find
Without the you
In you and me
There is simply nothing left to see

I am living an empty life without you
Just living an empty life without you
And my red beating heart’s
Turned a cold shade of blue
Just living an empty life without you

And I’m walking these city streets without you
Just walking these city streets without you
And I haven’t got a clue where I am going to
No I haven’t got a clue where I am going to
I really haven’t got a clue where I am going to

Still the World is Blessèd in My Sight

Grey-drawn and grim the early morning light
The oiled egg spits and curses in the pan
But still the world is blessèd in my sight

Where blackbird sings to set the garden right
Honeysuckle drips on rusted watering can
Grey-drawn and grim in early morning light

Coffee black and bitter as a lonely night
While soft egg yolks trace golden where they ran
And still the world is blessèd in my sight

Rain patters, blurring colours almost bright
But ticking clock dictates the workday plan
Grey-drawn and grim in early morning light

Key turns in lock, then turns back to lock tight
I see on distant hills the soft rain fan
And  still the world is blessèd in my sight

I linger, one calm breath before the fight
Recall a kiss back when this day began
Grey-drawn and grim the early morning light
And still the world is blessèd in my sight

2 for Halloween – part 2, “The Ghost’s Lament for His Former Home”

I think it’s been three hundred year
This house has almost fallen down
No one I knew back then is here
Where once was field, now there is town

Once children came and broke the glass
Spooking them helped pass the time
Then there was that lover and his lass
See, scrawleded upon the wall – his rhyme

What will I do when those beams give
How can I haunt a pile of wood
It won’t be fit for a ghost to live
I may have to go – this time for good

One day I’ll wake to heaven instead of dawn
I hope the spiders miss me when I’m gone

2 for Halloween – part 1, “In the Dark”

In the Dark

You never saw me, did you, there, in the dark room?

I was standing right there, by the window, watching you as you came in and sat on the bed. You looked – how shall I put it? – a little lost.

You took off your jumper and threw it on the floor. I almost went over, to pick it up, tidy it away, but stopped myself. What would have been the use, anyway?

You buried your face in your hands for a long minute. Were you crying? I took a step, the smallest, tiniest of steps, but then you suddenly stood up, and I froze.

You came to the window to look out over the back garden. A distant street lamp shining through the trees cast a complex illumination across your face.

I held my breath, then let it out when you turned away. You never saw me and I was only six inches away. If I had put my hand out and touched your face, would you have felt something?

You fell into bed with your clothes on, tossed and turned for a few minutes, then became still – so still. Until I saw your hand twitch, I wondered.

Now, asleep, I can sit on the bed next to you, and here in the dark, softly, soft as a memory, caress your fine hair with the tips of my fingers.

Deirdre’s Lament

Do you remember how I dreamed of this?
On the shores of Loch Ness, in the days of our bliss
I dreamed of a dove with mead in its mouth
Pursued by a hawk, red with blood from the south
And now you lie beautiful down in your grave
Between your two brothers, whom you couldn’t save

Naoise, oh Naoise my husband, my love
With soft spoken words and the eyes of a dove
Men will remember your sword of bright steel
But your wife will remember how you made her feel
On the shores of Loch Ness, in the days of our bliss
Before that dark night when I first dreamed of this

I was a fair maiden, the world was unknown
When first I espied you, your raven hair shone
And flew like the pennant when men go to war
To meet their sad fate on death’s lonely black shore
Your rode with your brothers, so gallant and brave
Now the three of you, lovely, lie down in one grave

Our story is strange, our story is long
A poet might tell it one day in a song
Might tell of my father, a harper they say
Who foresaw my sad fate and then sent me away
He foresaw how the dove with the mead in its mouth
Would be killed by the bloody red hawk from the south

He foresaw how my laughter and bonny bright smile
Would one day the King of all Ulster beguile
And Conor would send many men to their graves
That a kiss from these ruby red lips he might have
For my smile did the brave men of Ulster make war
And meet their sad fates on death’s lonely black shore

You were my fate, my fairest of fair
The finest of Ireland with raven black hair
You were my fate, and I was your weird
And this bloody black day is the day my Da feared
When the finest of Ireland is laid in his grave
Between his two brothers whom he couldn’t save

But you tried to save them, and that was your doom
Now you lie close between them, and yet there is room
I’ll fall down beside you and cross to the Isle
Where the dead men of Ulster may yet see me smile
And there I will find you and there we will kiss
As we kissed at Loch Ness in the days of our bliss

When Skylarks Sing in Spring (song)

When skylarks sing in spring, my love
My heart flies home to you
It rises joyous to the sun
Flies high above us everyone
And vanishes into the blue
When skylarks sing in spring, my love

My thoughts turn to our home, my love,
When wolves howl all around
I think of cakes and cups of tea
And how you touched me tenderly
All in our bed, without a sound
I think about our home, my love

My thoughts turn to your face, my love
When the rain pours down
I see both joy and sadness there
I run my fingers through your hair
And kiss away your lonely frown
I think about your face, my love

Now I have gone away, my love
As punishment for crime
I am my own worst enemy
There is no other remedy
No reprieve, I’ll do my time
Now I have gone away, my love

Look for me in the spring, my love
When skylarks take the air
A wandering beggar at your door
Will ask for just a little more
And suddenly you’ll see me there
Look for me in the spring, my love

When skylarks sing in spring, my love
My heart flies home to you
It rises joyous to the sun
Flies high above us, everyone
And vanishes into the blue
When skylarks sing in spring,
Look for me in the spring,
When skylarks sing in spring
My love

The Running of the Deer (song)

Come live with me and be my love, in the springtime of the year
Dance joyous with the honeybee, and with the running deer

May your heart always be happy and your singing always clear
May you run forever fair and free, with the running of the deer

Come and light the Beltane fires that promise fertile crops
Pull flowers from the woodland, and from the mountain tops

Drive the cattle through the flames, and leap the raging fires
Look into my loving eyes and see my heart’s desires

May your heart always be happy and your singing always clear
May you run forever fair and free, with the running of the deer

By hare and hound and trout and wren, by land and sky and sea
But the mighty lord of stags and the dancing honeybee

By the spin of moon and stars, and the cooing turtle dove
In the springtime of the year, come and be my love

May your heart always be happy and your singing always clear
May you run forever fair and free, with the running of the deer

 

Water of Life (Just give)

Hello friends,

I’m taking part in the Marie Curie cancer care charity 2013 Skinny Dip, on 2nd of June, in the chilly waters of the Firth of Forth! Marie Curie provides care for people suffering from cancer and can use all our support.

If you want to support my mad adventure, please visit my JustGiving page and give what you can:

http://www.justgiving.com/Paul-Milne-skinnydip2013

To learn more:

http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/en-GB/events/Skinny-Dip/

In grateful humility, I offer a poem of thanks:

Water of Life

Dark water floods my dreams
Erasing familiar things of life
Nothing now is what it seems
No more gentleness, or strife

I wade into the water, bare
Feel it compass me entire
Nothing hidden, all is there
And even submerged, the fire

Cannot be extinguished
A lesson I’ve yet to learn
The ordinary, the distinguished
All seek to join, and yearn

Yearn for the connection that the darkness brings
Where the waters soothe, and the mermaid sings

 

A Perfect Moon

A perfect crescent moon in the frozen western sky
The Goddess smiling over the rugby pitch
A laughing moon, a moon to make you cry
A moon to make you spread your wings and fly

All this moon lacks is a wicked, wicked witch
Dangling a shapely leg among the stars
Or a  wolf running through the woods to find his bitch
And pausing to howl, unearthly, eldritch

A frozen puddle beside a hulking car
Glitters, frost etched like a poem in runes
A jewel that even floodlights cannot mar
And more eloquent than this poem by far

The sound of children laughing, ancient tune
Running up the pitch to score a hard-earned try
A moment like an oasis beside an arid dune
Children laughing, playing beneath a perfect moon

Poem dreamed on 20 April 2008

Your eyes are like night-blooming flowers
That blossom in the light of the moon
Only to fade at break of day

My love is like a beautiful moth
Who seeks out your scent in the night breeze
And drinks your sweet nectar in the moonlight
But who only lives until the dawn

Melrose Crematorium Blues

Slightly tongue in cheek recording, I think Tim would approve the “live audience” :)

It was on the 8th of February
On a cold grey winter’s day
We said goodbye to Tim E. Riley
And his body went to flames

Down at Melrose Crematorium
There was only room to stand
The babies were crying in their buggies
As we sang “All Things Must Pass”

God wasn’t in the building
Tim didn’t want those prayers
The lady told Tim’s short life story
And we all laughed through our tears

Melanie led the kids out at the end
We put money in the cancer box
There was food for family and for friends
But I just got back on the bus

It was on the 8th of February
On a cold grey winter’s day
We took our memories of Tim Riley
And left his body for the flames

Blue Little World

Just a simple little song, nothing too dramatic, have a listen and enjoy …

Dear little world where we live
I’m sorry for what we’ve done to you
After all the precious gifts you give
I’m afraid we’ve made you just a little blue

You are the place my children call home
As their mortal coil unwinds
And all their children and others to come
All those hearts, all those minds

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking
We don’t love you – but we do
Though we have a funny way
Of showing it, it’s true

Dear little world I can’t promise a lot
I can only do so much for you
But what I’ve got to give, you’ve got
To keep you green, and not feel quite so blue

Low Sun Blinding My Winter Eyes

Low sun blinding my winter eyes
Blind me away sun, blind me away
Low sun struggling at a cold sunrise
Blind my winter eyes

One more day without my love
One more day on planet earth
The grass below and the sky above
One more death and one more birth

Little bird singing her morning song
Sing me away bird, sing me away
Little bird singing out loud and long
Sing your morning song

One more death and one more birth
The grass below and the sky above
One more day on planet earth
One more day without my love

Fire burning on a cold hearthstone
Burn me away, fire, burn me away
My hands are warm but my heart is alone
Fire burn this stone

Note:

I wrote this song for the FAWM (February Album Writing Month) songwriting challenge.

Reflection on a brief flurry of snow

Snow falls, and melts on touching ground
In a moment the air is clear and bright again
In a moment I’ve lost what I had found
It will come again, but when?

Elsewhere the snow lies crisp and deep
Elsewhere the icicles hang hard
I don’t know which clothes to cast, which to keep
What to rejoice in, what discard

Only looking back can choices be confirmed
Too close, too close now to know for sure
In the grave can consequences be unwormed
But til then our ignorance is pure

Pure as the snow or the wind’s scouring sound
Pure as a muddy footprint in frozen ground