Here is a photo of the book I stole:
I was ten years old and due to leave my primary school for secondary school. This was the only thing I couldn’t bear to leave behind (since my friends were all coming to secondary school too). Ironic, don’t you think, that it’s a hymn book? Already feeling a victim of God’s sublime sense of humour, I just noticed, as I was taking this photo, that the Scripture reading is the one the priest chose for my baptism last year.
As you can see in the photo I didn’t choose a pristine copy. This was not a spur-of-the-moment theft, this was pre-meditated larceny. As in “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, the custodian of this book may very well have let me have it if I had asked, seeing my desperate need, but I didn’t ask. I chose the most raggedy copy I could find, reasoning that the school ought to replace it anyway. In this way it didn’t feel like theft. I was doing the school a favour in fact!
And why couldn’t I bear to part with this book? It wasn’t the scripture. It was just that I couldn’t imagine leaving behind the songs. I’ve always had a deep love of music, and I was always trying to learn to play different instruments. As a ten-year-old though, all I had access to was a recorder (which used to be the standard instrument in Welsh schools, as the tin whistle is here in Ireland) and my own voice. Unfortunately, I don’t have a particularly good singing voice and I was also terribly shy. When I played recorder on the school stage I would mime because I was too nervous to play properly. I even mimed in the school choir when we competed in the Urdd Eisteddfod. But that didn’t stop me playing in private. Often when I sang, and later when I played my electronic keyboard, it would move me to tears. It connected me to some higher reality, something I was missing in my life, something which I now suspect was of the heavenly variety.
Two of my favourite Welsh songs are about singing. There’s “Calon Lan” which I’ve featured on my blog before, and there’s what I’ve always called “Canaf yn y bore” (see photo below). My Welsh is incredibly rusty so I’m using Google Translate here. It seems to think the first verse means “I sing in the morning for your care, through the dark walnut. You have seen me.” but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong. 😀 It’s definitely about singing in the morning anyway.
Here’s the tune:
Come let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our saviour. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving; and make a joyful noise to him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his. For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
Come let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us. For he is the Lord our God: and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
(From Psalm 94, Douay-Rheims, that forms part of the Responsorial Psalm for today’s Mass)
I’m feeling a lot better now. Thank you for all your kind comments on my last post. It’s going to take me a while to catch up with you all. I’ve also got quite a few blog posts backed up. I took my daughter to Sally’s for another Easter crafting session yesterday so I want to share some of our egg photos. I also want to share a more serious post about eggs. Before I get serious though I wanted to start on a lighter note. During our crafting session we shared music from our formative years. Sally sang us an Easter song that was huge in the fifties and she found the original Gene Autry version for us on her tablet. Here is a different version that I found that comes with a cute cartoon from the same era:
My contribution had to come from the ’80s. Sally told us that eighties music had completely passed her by. She mentioned seeing George Michael on the telly recently but she doesn’t remember him from the ’80s. I told her about Wham and played “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”. It was a bit embarrassing to share that with my daughter but it’s definitely representative of ’80s. I think I recovered my cool a little when I told her that I’d been to a ton of concerts. However, when I said I’d seen Cher she thought I meant Cher Lloyd. 😉
The most fun part for me was when my daughter made her contribution. She played one thing that I didn’t enjoy much because she had to find a version without profanities and that makes me worry about the inappropriate stuff she’s seeing. The rest were great. Ylvis’s “What Does the Fox Say” is hilarious (I also want to know what the rabbit says btw) but I thought, given my obsession with knotwork, that this would be more appropriate for my blog:
I also enjoyed DSharp’s version of Glad You Came, and there were plenty of other nifty YouTubes that she introduced us to but I can’t remember them all now.
This instrument, invented by Istanbul-based musician Görkem Şen, can be played in a variety of ways. In the hands of it’s inventor it makes complex, evocative sounds. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. The view out of the window is quite nice too. 🙂