Introduction Site Map Site Search TullSongs TullAlbums TullScapes
TullBooks TullUnreleased TullClips TullLinks TullResources About & Awards
Holly Herald (Instr.)
A Winter Snowscape (Instr.)
Got a birthday card at Christmas: it made me think of Jesus Christ. It said, “I love you” in small letters. I simply had to read it twice. Wood smoke curled from blackened chimneys. The smell of frost was in the air. Pole star hovered in the blackness. I looked again: it wasn’t there. People have showered me with presents. While their minds were fixed on other things. Sleigh bells, bearded red suit uncles. Pointy trees and angel wings. I am the shadow in your Christmas. I am the corner of your smile. Perfunctory in celebration. You offer content but no style. That little baby Jesus: he got a birthday card or three. Gold trinkets and cheap frankincense. Some penny baubles for his tree. Have some time off for good behaviour. Forty days, give or take a few. Hey there, sweet baby Jesus: Let’s share a birthday card with you.
Once in Royal David’s City stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby. You’d do well to remember the things He later said. When you’re stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties, you’ll laugh when I tell you to take a running jump. You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making; that Christmas spirit is not what you drink. So how can you laugh when your own mother’s hungry and how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong? And if I messed up your thoughtless pleasures, remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas song. Hey, Santa: pass us that bottle, will you?
Hope everybody’s ringing on their own bell, this fine morning. Hope everyone’s connected to that long distance phone. Old man, he’s a mountain. Old man, he’s an island. Old man, he’s awaking – says, “ I’m going to call, call all my children home.” Hope everybody’s dancing to their own drum this fine morning – the beat of distant Africa or a Polish factory town. Old man, he’s calling for his supper. He’s calling for his whisky. Calling for his sons and daughters, yeah – calling, calling all his children round. Sharp ears are tuned in to the drones and chanters warming. Mist blowing round some headland, somewhere in your memory. Everyone is from somewhere – even if you’ve never been there. So take a minute to remember the part of you that might be the old man calling me. How many wars you fighting out there, this winter’s morning? Maybe it’s always time for another Christmas song. Old man he’s asleep now. Got appointments to keep now. Dreaming of his sons and daughters and proving , proving that the blood is strong.
Through long December nights we talk in words of rain or snow while you, through chattering teeth, reply and curse as you go. Why not spare a thought this day for those who have no flame to warm their bones at Christmas time? Say Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow. Now, as the last broad oak leaf falls, we beg, consider this: there’s some who have no coin to save for turkey, wine or gifts. No children’s laughter round the fire, no family left to know. So lend a warm and helping hand – say Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow. As holly pricks and ivy clings, your fate is none too clear. The Lord may find you wanting, let your good fortune disappear. All homely comforts blown away and all that’s left to show is to share your joy at Christmas time with Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow.
Sister Bridget by the stair: a glass of wine and she’s almost there. Cousin Jimmy at the door: another beer and he’s on the floor. Friends and neighbours come around, waste no time we’re heaven-bound. But not before we raise a glass to good camaraderie. Stinky Joe from down the street fell right over his own three feet. He’s doubled up in the outside loo, to taste again the devil’s brew. Friends and neighbours come around, waste no time we’re heaven-bound. But not before we raise a glass to good camaraderie. So make yourselves jolly under mistletoe, holly and ivy. Get to it – and be in good cheer. And when it’s all over: pigs gone to clover – Will the last man at the party wish me a happy New Year. The house is jumping, suppers up. Curried goat in a paper cup. Forks of plastic, knives of tin: who cares what state the goat is in. Someone with the gift of song has brought his pal to sing along. Now they’re turning up old Frank Sinatra on the stereo.
Good morning Weathercock. How did you fare last night? Did the cold wind bite you, did you face up to the fright when the leaves spin from October and whip around your tail? Did you shake from the blast, did you shiver through the gale? Give us direction; the best of goodwill. Put us in touch with your fair winds. Sing to us softly. Hum evening’s song. Tell us what the blacksmith has done for you. Do you simply reflect changes in the patterns of the sky? Or is it true to say the weather heeds the twinkle in your eye? Do you fight the rush of winter; and hold snowflakes at bay? Do you lift the dawn sun from the fields and help him on his way? Good morning Weathercock. Make this day bright. Put us in touch with your fair winds. Sing to us softly. Hum evening’s song. Point the way to better days we can share with you.
I flew in on the evening plane. Is it such a good idea that I am here again? And I could cut my cold breath with a knife. And taste the winter of another life. A yellow cab from JFK, the long way round. I didn’t mind: gave me thinking time before I ran aground on rocky memories and choking tears. I believe it only rained round here in thirty years. Now, it’s the first snow on Brooklyn and my cold feet are drumming. You don’t see me in the shadows from your cozy window frame. And last night, who was in your parlour wrapping presents in the late hour to place upon your pillow as the morning came? Thin wind stings my face: pull collar up. I could murder coffee in a grande cup. No welcome deli; there’s no Starbucks here. A dime for a quick phone call could cost me dear. And the first snow on Brooklyn paints a Christmas card upon the pavement. The cab leaves a disappearing trace and then it’s gone. And the snow covers my footprints, deep regrets and heavy heartbeats. When you wake you’ll never see the spot that I was standing on. Some things are best forgotten: some are better half-remembered. I just thought that I might be there on your, on your Christmas night. And the first snow on Brooklyn makes a lonely road to travel – cold crunch steps that echo as the blizzard bites.
I believe in fires at midnight when the dogs have all been fed. A golden toddy on the mantle – a broken gun beneath the bed. Silken mist outside the window. Frogs and newts slip in the dark. too much hurry ruins a body. I’ll sit easy, fan the spark kindled by the dying embers of another working day. Go upstairs: take off your makeup – fold your clothes neatly away. Me, I’ll sit and write this love song as I all too seldom do – build a little fire this midnight. It’s good to be back home with you.
Now is the solstice of the year. winter is the glad song that you hear. Seven maids move in seven time. Have the lads up ready in a line. Ring out these bells. Ring out, ring solstice bells. Ring solstice bells. Join together ‘neath the mistletoe, by the holy oak whereon it grows. Seven druids dance in seven time. Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming. Ring out these bells. Ring out, ring solstice bells. Ring solstice bells. Praise be to the distant sister sun, joyful as the silver planets run. Seven maids move in seven time. Sing the song the bells call, loudly chiming. Ring out these bells. Ring out, ring solstice bells. Ring solstice bells. Ring on, ring out. Ring on, ring out.
Lyrics: © Fuel2003/Roadrunner/Papillon Records, 2003 - All
Previous album: Rupi's Dance
Next album: nothing is easy