Carol of the Birds
I am strangely attracted to a Christmas carol rarely sung -
treasure of music, words with sweet mystery,
quiet, wondering melody
Questioning feathered twitters.
“Whence comes this rush of wings afar,
Following straight the Noel star?
Birds from the woods in wondrous flight,
Bethlehem seek this Holy Night.
Tell us, ye birds, why come ye here,
Into this stable, poor and drear?
Hastening we seek the newborn King
And all our sweetest music bring.”
Stirring some ancient warmth within me
I play the notes and sing each verse,
decorate a small Christmas tree
with vines, berries, woodland birds.
Greenfinch, Philomel sing
Re, mi, fa, sol in accents sweet
from woodland edges, farmland hedges
Noel, Christ on earth with man to dwell
Someone singing this tune for 400 years,
before that, once an older one now lost?
Could it be I am pulled by what I cannot remember?
Song and my great grandmother both born in southern France
She died when I was a baby.
Did she sing it, rocking me
in the old wooden rocker in which I rock my own grandchild?