King of Birds

Another beautiful song from the extremely talented Karine Polwart.  

This comes with a big nod of thanks and respect to the Occupy Movement, especially at St Paul’s in London, for ringing a bell that needs ringing. The king of birds in mythology is The Wren, a motif for Sir Christopher. The song tracks the symbolism of St Paul’s cathedral set against the backdrop of The Great Fire of London, The Blitz and The City of today.

King of Birds

At Ludgate Hill
on the cracked and blackened cobbles of the town
the ashes fall to rest
As the tiny King of Birds he flutters down
to build a citadel
to light glory in the dark
and from hell
to breath hope in every heart

At Ludgate Hill
through the siren screams the heavens burn again
the city holds its breath
as the tiny little king in slumber bed
arises from the dust
to light glory in the dark
and through the frost
to breathe hope in every heart

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Follow the Heron Home

A huge tip-of-the-hat to singer Ed Miller for introducing me to Karine Polwart‘s music. This captivating melody and inexplicably amazing poetry combine in one of the best new additions to the tradition I have ever heard.

The heron is her favourite bird. According to Karine, the song was written after she had been a guest at a Shetland Folk Festival. She had been singing at an outlying island event, and as she was being taken home by sea, in the early morning, a heron rose in front of the boat and flew ahead. In the song the heron represents the return of Spring, light after darkness, hope after grief.

Follow The Heron Home

The back of the winter is broken,
And light lingers long by the door.
And the seeds of the summer have spoken
In gowans that bloom on the shore

By night and day we’ll sport and we’ll play
And delight as the dawn dances over the bay
Sleep blows the breath of the morning away
And we follow the heron home

In darkness we cradled our sorrow
And stoked all our fires with fear
Now these bones that lie empty and hollow
Are ready for gladness to cheer chorus

Long may we sing of the salmon
And the snow-scented sounds of your home
While the north wind delivers its sermon
Of ice, and salt water, and stone chorus x 2