Natalie Merchant/ Leave Your Sleep: The Man In The Wilderness

Absolutely beautiful: The title of Natalie Merchant‘s new album Leave Your Sleep is taken from a Mother Goose rhyme:

“Girls and boys, come out to play,
The moon doth shine as bright as day;
Leave your supper, and leave your sleep,
and come with your playfellows into the street.”

In the booklet that introduces the two-disk album, she writes,

“This collection of songs represents parts of a long conversation I’ve had with my daughter during the first six years of her life. It documents our word-of-mouth tradition in the poems, stories, and songs that I found to delight and teach her. I pulled these obscure and eccentric poems off their flat, yellowed pages and brought them to life for her. I willed into being this parade of witches and fearless girls, blind men and elephants, giants and sailors and gypsies, floating churches, dancing bears, circus ponies, a Chinese princess and a janitor’s boy, and so many others. I tried to show her that speech could be the most delightful toy in her possession and that her mother tongue is rich with musical rhythms and rhymes. I gave her parables with lessons in human nature and bits of nonsense to challenge the natural order of things and sharpen her wit.”

Thank you to my dear colleague Sarah Gough for bringing Natalie Merchant to my attention, via her performance at TED, which includes an interactive transcript of all songs performed.

The Man in the Wilderness
Mother Goose

The man in the wilderness asked of me,
“How many strawberries grow in the salt sea?”
I answered him, as I thought good,
As many a ship as sails in the wood.

The man in the wilderness asked me why
His hen could swim and his pig could fly.
I answered him as I thought best,
“They were both born in a cuckoo’s nest.”

The man in the wilderness asked me to tell
All the sands in the sea and I counted them well.
He said he with a grin, “And not one more?”
I answered him, “Now you go make sure.”

song of the week 🙂 englisch lernen mit liedern

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Trainer/ coach from Washington, D.C. based in Berlin. Enthusiastic gardener, sailor, reader.

2 thoughts on “Natalie Merchant/ Leave Your Sleep: The Man In The Wilderness”

  1. Thanks again, Anne,
    I like her but I really, really like the back-up music, beautiful guitar work and the cello (?), excellent, I want to get up and play!
    Gentle and quiet on an approaching summer day.

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