Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Hush Little Baby

There's a lullaby I sing Bertie, you'll know it:

Hush little baby, don't say a word;
Mama's going to buy you a Mockingbird,
and if that mockingbird won't sing
Mama's going to buy you a diamond ring...

It's all very commercial and about possessions being the thing that will calm your baby. But, it is sweet and the tune is addictive.

Then I found an American version by Sylvia Long. She changes all the bought items for things you can find in nature, or things you might do with your child. I use her board book to sing this to Baby B all the time, and think it very beautiful to sing about the natural world. It begins....

Hush little baby don't say a word,
Mama's going to show you a humming bird.
And if that hummingbird should fly,
Mama's going to show you the evening sky.
As the night time shadows fall,
Mama's going to hear the crickets call.
As their song comes from afar
Mama's going to search for a shooting star.......
Now, my husband says that these lyrics are lovely, but too American, and maybe I should compose new ones that reflect the view from our window and the things we do together.

Hush little baby don't say a word,
Mummy's going to show you a small blackbird.
And if that black bird flies away,
Daddy's going to show you an oak tree sway.
If that oak tree falls to the floor,
Mummy's going to show you a red kite soar.

If that kite goes out of sight,
Daddy's going to show you the firelight.
As the fire embers burn,
We will hear the rooks return.
As they settle to their nest,
we will count ourselves as blessed.
Robin, he will come to play
at our house at break of day.
Hush little baby don't you cry.
Mummy's going to sing you a lullaby.
And in the morning when you wake
A new adventure we will take.

I keep changing it, looking at all the things we see each day. It has become my infinitely adaptable lullaby. I long to draw the pictures to match the different versions composed for each day. Maybe one day I will.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

Oh...so beautiful, so tender and loving... Thank you for writing this for the rest of us.