Swallow Song

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 …


Swallow Song


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


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