I posted here a couple of weeks ago about the Holmfirth Arts Festival, which runs from 14-17 June. That post mentioned that I, among others, had contributed words that were being set to music by composer Barry Russell for Sing Holmfirth, a choral event with musical accompaniment, in celebration of the Holme Valley.
So I thought I’d share the lyrics of a song I’ve written for Barry that will feature in the concert. This is a novel experience for me – I’ve written many songs in the past but always written the music myself, and often asked someone else to write the lyrics. I think this is the first time I’ve written lyrics for someone else’s music. The icon (and to some extent, the theme) of the festival is a swallow, so I thought I’d write about a swallow that has returned to the Holme Valley from its winter migration. Here goes …
This was my birthplace, long ago
but do not ask me how I know;
no sooner had my life begun
than I flew south to seek the sun.
I lived well and grew fast and strong,
forgetting where I once belonged.
Somehow I knew I could not stay
I felt an urge to fly away.
And so I left the southern lands
I crossed the burning desert sands
the unforgiving endless sea
the waves I thought must swallow me.
At last the shore brought me release
I put down in a place of peace
and plenty. I felt something more:
a sense of being here before.
A voice held deep in memory
had come to life, was calling me
and now new purpose filled my wings
to make new life, to soar, to sing.
I saw this moor, these fields, this stone
the voice inside said ‘this is home’.
Six thousand miles and more I flew
to find this place and sing for you.
Anyway, I hope that’s helped whet your appetite for the Sing Holmfirth concert (3pm on Sunday 17 June in Victoria Park, Holmfirth – free entry!). And by the way, I’ll be co-leading a creative writing workshop in Holmfirth Library at 3 o’clock on Saturday the 16th.
swallow pic: (c) Sannse 2004