Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Follow the heron into the springtime

It's a chilly but beautiful sunny morning at Mundi Mansions, and for my multitude of reader, time for another song from the wonderful Karine Polwart, about the end of winter and the coming of spring, with all the usual metaphorical richness relating to relationships, life, the whole business.
And there's a good feeling of acceptance in the last verse: we need the sermons of ice and salt water and stone, but we also need - daffodils. Don't we?

The clip has slightly scratchy sound quality, but don't you love the mud on her boots (festival time) and the nervy immediacy she brings to her singing? Live, indeed. Blessings upon her head, and yours, and mine too - it's SPRING!

Follow The Heron

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


So long may you 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



  1. She's awfully good, GM. Lovely voice and interesting, idiosyncratic phrasing. Not abs my bag if I am to be honest - but who cares about that? The words in themselves are lovely. 'Snow scented sounds'. Ah!

  2. Just the little phrase or image that snags the ear, isn't it? I'm told by those who know, that her phrasing owes much to her paying her dues with traditional Scottish ballads, and a lot of her songs are rooted in the seasons and the natural world, so maybe it's a classic case of the tradition nurturing someone with the talent to make it new with the resonances of the old.

  3. Scottish lilt + seasons + welly boots = honey for the ears and a blanket around the soul. Just lovely. Thanks GM...

  4. My pleasure Nicola, thanks for dropping by. I'll try to look out some more" soul blankets" (I like that!) soon.

  5. Er, really don't know why this old post has popped up here. I am an internet klutz (is that the right American term?)It's not winter turning to spring at present of course, it's summer just wondering about a little touch of autumn in the evenings. Still, it's a lovely song any time of year!