Loons Forever:  Writings on Nature and Nature Conservation

Home Nature Fables Nature-isms Thor. MacDonald Nature Poems Nature Essays Nature Songs Nature Plays Nature Stories Nature Art Links Contact

                         

 

Nature Songs

Click on songs below:

Scary Scarecrow  I know the changing seasons by the pathway of the sun / ...

The Great Auk Cycle  vocalises / melodies without words / ...

Two Old White Horses Nellie had worked all her life in a mine /...

 

Scary Scarecrow

 

This scary scarecrow was placed in a corn field to scare the crows and other seed-eating birds from eating the corn seed when planted, and the seed in the corn cobs when mature.  It represents our cultural heritage of farming, including the songs, stories and art born on the farm.

Scary Scarecrow is the name of  both the scarecrow and the song it sings.  The refrain to the song was written and composed as a lively dance for both children and adults.

Scary Scarecrow sings and dances in a corn field beside Highway 400, about halfway between Toronto and Barrie, Ontario, Canada.  In year 2009, it is located in a corn field about 2 kilometres north of the junction of Highway 400 and Simcoe Road 88, on the east side.

The Scary Scarecrow song was composed with lyrics by Paul Aird of Inglewood, Ontario, and music composed by Luke Mercier of Toronto, Ontario.  Mary Lambert, a family entertainer and Juno Award Nominee from Kingston, Ontario, sings the song on her compact disc titled Swinging on a Star.  Contact Mary at her web site http://marylambertmusic.com

Both children and adults love to sing and dance with Scary Scarecrow.  Here are the lyrics, and a recording of the first stanza and refrain of the song.

Click to hear Scary Scarecrow.   The first time you hear this song, it may stop and start repeatedly, until it is transferred to your computer.  The next playing of Scary Scarecrow should be perfect.  It's a delightful song.

 

                    Scary Scarecrow

I know the changing seasons by the pathway of the sun

I know the moon's the reason why the planting has begun

I know the winds can skip and run - but best of all I know

How to dance the corn jig - and how to scare a crow

[REFRAIN]  Scare a crow - tap your feet

                     Scare a crow - tilt your arms

                     Scare a crow - twirl around - and tip your hat!

                     Scare a crow - tap your feet

                     Scare a crow - tilt your arms

                     Scare a crow - twirl around - and tip your hat!

 

I know my corn is happy in a gentle summer rain

I know my corn is happy when the sun comes out again

I know the winds can sing in tune - but best of all I know

How to dance the corn jig - and how to scare a crow

[REFRAIN]

 

I know my friendly shadow leaves no mark upon the ground

I know my friendly shadow likes to follow me around

I know the winds can whistle too - but best of all I know

How to dance the corn jig - and how to scare a crow

[REFRAIN]

Scary Scary Scary Scary

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

The Great Auk Cycle

 

vocalises 

melodies without words

  composed and sung

  by women

  to eulogize

the last female

of a flightless species

killed by hunters

collecting sea birds

to display 

in museums

 

The Great Auk  

Pinguinus impennis

silenced

1844

 

Auk

Prelude to The Great Auk Cycle:  Vocalise (nown, rhymes with legalese) is a vocal composition consisting of a melody without words.  Vocalises are often used as a vocal exercise.  The Great Auk Cycle is imagined as a collection of vocalises sung by different women to commemorate the life of the last female of the Great Auk species.  Each vocalise to be included in the cycle will be sung by its composer, unaccompanied by other sounds.  The author of this prelude would be delighted to hear the vocalises created in response to his poem ¾ contact kite_hill@hotmail.com.  Some of these vocalises may be reproduced on this web site titled www.loonsforever.com, but only with the permission of the copyright holder.  Note that the Great Auk once lived on islands off Massachusetts, Maine, Québec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Greenland, Iceland, Scotland and Ireland.  The name "Auk" may have been derived from the Great Auk's song, which was silenced before its voice could be recorded.

 

 

Two Old White Horses – The Story of the Song

Music: Marie-Lynn Hammond
Lyrics: Paul Aird & Marie-Lynn Hammond


Photograph by Paul Aird, 1973

When Paul was about five years old, Nellie was one of three working horses on his family’s farm in Hudson Heights by the Ottawa River, Quebec.  She had become blind while working deep in a mine and her owner had given his favourite horse to Paul’s father to work on the farm for the rest of her days.  Paul has always remembered that when she was put out to pasture, her teammate would always lead her so she could drink from a safe place at the stream, avoid walking into the barbed wire fence, and enjoy shade beneath an elm tree.
A decade later, Winston was delivering bread from house to house for a large bakery in Montreal, Quebec.  He developed a slight limp so the bakery searched for a good home where Winston could work on soft soil instead of hard pavement.  The company gave Winston, his harness and an old bread wagon to Paul’s father.  Soon after arriving on the farm, Winston stopped limping and became a fine work horse.

One day in 1973, Paul took a backcountry ski trip from the top of Rigaud Mountain to his home on the farm.  By chance, he skied through a maple woodlot where he found two white horses standing beside a maple sugar shack, and took the photograph above.

This photograph stimulated Paul to write a poem about Nellie and Winston.  Even though Nellie had died before Winston arrived on the farm, Paul used poetic licence to harness them together in the poem where they became "a well-matched team."  When completed, the poem was tossed into a drawer to join Paul’s other occasional poems.

Thirty years after writing this poem, Paul heard a song on CBC Radio by singer-songwriter-playwright Marie-Lynn Hammond about a naughty chestnut mare.  He wrote Marie-Lynn, saying, “Chestnut Mare is a wonderful song!  In return, I’ve attached the lyrics to a someday song titled Nellie and Winston.  I want to share our love for horses.”

Marie-Lynn loved the poem and asked Paul's permission to make some changes, such as writing a chorus and a coda for it, so she could turn it into a song.  Paul readily agreed.  The song was then recorded by Tom Leighton at Beechwood House and aired on Shelagh Rogers’ CBC Radio program Sounds Like Canada.  Dozens of people wrote in to say how much they had been moved by it.  Some of these listeners had themselves rescued old horses at auction.  One woman wrote that she was crying so hard by the end of the first chorus she had to pull her truck over to the side of the road since she couldn't see to drive.  And they all wanted to buy copies.

Since the song existed at that point only on one CD-R, Marie-Lynn decided to create a mini-CD with four other of her horse songs on it – Chestnut Mare, Pegasus, The Canadian (P’tit cheval de fer), Emily Flies. If interested, email Marie-Lynn at mlh@marielynnhammond.com for price and ordering information.

Two Old White Horses

Marie-Lynn Hammond (SOCAN),  music
Paul Aird (SOCAN) and Marie-Lynn Hammond,  lyrics
Marie-Lynn Hammond,  lead vocal, guitar
Nancy White,  harmony vocals
Tom Leighton,  keyboard, accordion, bouzouki
Tom Leighton and Chris Smith,  sound engineers
Recorded at Beechwood House, Toronto
Paul Aird,  photography
Paul Aird, Peter Barsevskis & Karyn Gorra,  jacket design
Marie-Lynn Hammond and R.L. Hess,  graphics/design
R.L. Hess,  mastering
© 2007  Vignettes Media

                                                  Two Old White Horses
Nellie had worked all her life in a mine / pulling the carts down in shaft number nine
day after day she leaned into her load / hauling the coal on a black iron road
and never a pasture nor sky did she see / only darkness or headlights and never let free
so many years later old Nellie they find / was still willing to work even though she’d gone blind

Winston had worked all his life in a town / pulling the bread wagons up hill and down
day after day he leaned into his load / hauling those carts on a cobblestone road
and never a pasture nor brook did he see / only pavement and steep hills and never let free
so many years later the cobbles they blame / old Winston was stumbling because he’d gone lame

       Chorus:  Two old white horses tied up by a gate / nervously sniffing the air
       two old white horses awaiting their fate / in a place where the motto is buyer beware
       Oh buyer beware

Nellie and Winston came into the pen / while the auctioneer started his chanting again
bidders were few only butchers by trade / the horses stood still then the male turned and neighed
and the mare answered back with her head proud and high / and although I was never intending to buy
as the gavel descended I threw up my arm / and took Nellie and Winston back home to the farm

       Chorus:

Now sometimes I’ll harness them up for the day / to haul a few logs or a few bales of hay
and Nellie’s so steady on any terrain / that Winston moves just like he’s sound once again
and although we pass mud holes and sharp jutting rock / he leads the way so she’s safe trot or walk
Nellie helps him to stand and he helps her to see / they’re as perfectly matched as a good team can be

       Chorus:

       Coda:  Two old white horses now amble and graze / in the warmth of the late summer sun
        two old white horses will live out their days / in a way that befits all the labour they’ve done
        all the labour they’ve done
 
© 2007 Paul Aird and Marie-Lynn Hammond

 

________________
December 12, 2007

Top of page

 

Copyright © 2009 Paul Aird, Inglewood, Ontario.  All rights reserved.