Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A few of the songs I have written since Nov.,

Leaving the Monkey House

Lorcan Otway all rights reserved.

Taking Leave of the monkey house
Going out on my own
As miles pass the bus window
I'm not so sure I'm grown
Was warm in the monkey house
tumble of kids in my hair
lucky littlest monkey you'll
be the last to leave there

Working for rent now
in the big city
dole out the coffee while
I dream of family
warm little monkey house
in pictures from home
slow down little monkeys now
don't rush to be grown

Christmas is coming now
and a quick visit home
so hard to go back again
now I'm feeling so grown
warm little monkey house
if I go - I may stay
but I have to be grown up now
drop in and go away

Dear little monkey house
red clay's a part of me
too wet or to dry to farm
all that easily
warm little monkey house
so hard to feed us all
but you were so good to me
when I was so small

Brunswick Brumerboy

Come all ye reinactors, who follow fife and drum
A story I will tell ye, so pass me up the rum
It's all about the adventures of me mother's pride and joy
She ner, thought that I'd become the Brunswick drummerboy

When I was a wee girl, still chewing on me thumb
I was captivated truly by the rolling of the drum
The fifes they did twitter this I really did enjoy,
but the fighting 69th made me the Brunswick drummer boy

The sergeant was a scout leader, a gruff and cheerless man
He oft times would gaze at me, as the drum head I would fan
His orders he would bark, till he saw me standing by
The Brunswick drummer boy would make that burly sergeant sigh

We camped in the field and we camped in the glen
and I pitched me tent with oh so many men
But I never had to chop wood, or fill me own canteen
for the sergeant he would wait on me, The drummer boy colleen

In the heat of the battle, I'd throw him a sly wink
and laugh to myself as I'd see his spirit's sink
For he never knew my secret, and his sense it did destroy
when he thought he fell in love with, the brunswick drummerboy

He resigned his scout troop, he shaved his poor old head
and I really was afraid that he'd resort to eating lead
but, he joined act up and ILGO, he proposed to me so coy
and told me that he loved, his Brunswick drummerboy

I invited him to my flat, just to let him down,
and I met the sergeant there, in my favorite evening gown
I took him by the hand, and I told him I was a maid
But I really couldn't love you, poor sergeant I'm afraid

Now this tale is over, and I hope that you'll not complain
And give me a little time, while another dram I'll drain
and if you go a soldiering, and music you enjoy
Here's health to you fine fellows from the Brunswick drummerboy

Màili dhonn

Seisd: Chorus:
Màili dhonn, bhòidheah dhonn,
Màili dhonn,
thill i dhachaidh
Gruagach òg a chùil duinn,
Dh' eireadh m'intinn air t'fhaicinn.

Mary’s Sean fished a trawler,
And he named her after Mary
Fine a craft as ever sailed
From the shipyards of West Kerry

The Buisness men in Belgim
Say our fishing is poaching
while in the lea of our harbours
Dannish trawlers are encroaching

I watched him slip his lines
To fish where seas are still free
two hundred miles off shore
past the common market's boundry

Clearing Innish Vic Illan,
Seven Brothers and the Skelligs
Bear South West to meet the swells
Building up from the Antarctic


The glass is falling fast
and the winds are now lashing
as the night closes in
sheets of lightning now are flashing


Though the seas pound our shores
like many long guns a-blazing
still I know he'll return
red storm tris'le he'll be raising


We have lost all our gear
and our engine is drowned
and we pray for our wives
that our bodies will be found


I will watch for my Sean
I'll keep watch here on Sleahead
there'll be seagulls in his wake
then this black shawl I will shed

Gura mise tha gu tinn,
Cùl mo chinn air an leacann,
Bha mi (i) reimhe rotach, garbh
Air an fhairge 'gam marcachd.

Whatever can I give to Thee

Whatever can I give to thee, that ever could compare
with all that thee has given me, so far above my share
and now I look with wonder at, the world thee made anew
what can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me

Whatever could I give to thee, for teaching me to know
a hundred thousand simple things, which calmed me in such woe
And as I pray to find a way, to thank thee tenderly
What can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me.

When others take and turn away, in greed or fears they hide
and thy heart is aching for a place to safely bide
I'll ever be a glade to thee, in forests of dark paths
What can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me

And when I have to see thee go, to seek thy life and love
I'll open up my hand and heart, for thee to fly my dove
And as thee soars towards distant shores, my joy flies o'er the sea
What can I give but thee to thee, thee means that much to me.

True story... there is a light house in the middle of New York Harbor. Kitty's husband was the keeper of the light... he died... she was left... she tended the light and saved mariners washed up on Robbin's reef in her small boat...

Tune... Molly Bawn...
I was alone in the water, the blackness all around,
I could not find dry land, till thy becon I found
It sprang forth from thy tower, and shattered the night
And I swam towards the warmth of thy soul saving light

As I cling to the sharp rocks, waves break o'er me...
so many of my ship mates are lost in the sea
but I can see thy shadow, as thee climbs to the light
and I know thee will find me as thee watches in the night
Oh I know thee is faithful, now never yealding to fright
As thee tends to thy becon, my Kitty o' the light

Every inch of my being, on this reef has been flayed
Each hope in my bosom, the seas torment has now frayed
Still I call out thy name, though I know thee can't hear,
Oh kitty launch thy small boat, oh kitty come near

My voice weak from salt water, my soul nearly fled
the hands that still anchor me, are but dead things of lead
But I know thee will look down, from thy tower above
And save this poor mariner, dear angel sweet dove

Now my body is slipping, deeper into the wave
My blood streams down the rocks, there little left to save
But I feel thy strong hands as thee lifts me from my fate
Oh Kitty, my dear Kitty, I knew thee'd not come late

When life's troubles engulf me, and my voyage seems unfair
I look to thy light house, and picture thee there
Oh Kitty, dear Kitty, thy strength and God's might
Will ever burn brightly, my Kitty in thy light
Kitty's verse
Don't look to the light keeper, or focus on the light
I but point to a safer channel in the dark of thy night
When adrift on dark waters, and thy hopes all take flight
I but point to the harbor, thy Kitty of the light.


Once there was a maid and a very pretty maid
and she lived all alone with her father in a gladeA poor miller he was and she did as he bade
For a kind a good child was this pretty maid

The miller he was poor, and yet wanted to be more
he boasted and he bragged weaved tales and he swore
Till his stories finally crept inside the castle door
to the High King's table and wonders out did poor,

He bragged that his lass could weave straw into fine goldThis story unabashed this poor weaver had told
till summoned by king's men his daughter they did hold
And they locked her inside a tower dark and cold...

Weave oh weave this straw for me now,
Said the king to the maid, and I'll not ask ye how
And if no gold, in the morning I allow
Thee shall hang on that oak's broad bough

All alone in the cell, she bitterly did cry
how I should suffer for my father's foolish lie
how cold the hand of fate that I now must die
For such a task as this, only a fool would try

There came a voice like ice in the nightShe turned and spied in wonder and in fright
a tiny manikin, who bore a tiny light

He laughed and he danced to see her in her plight

What will ye give to me, if this task I will take on
This ring on me finger, is yours when the has done
He laughed and he said, before the morning sun
Thy gold I will weave, my little fair one

Whir whir, three turns and three times more
and gold spilled out onto the tower floor
Whir whir three turns and three turns more
and the reels filled up with a merry golden store

The king rejoiced to see his new found gold
But it was not enough, this poor girl he told
more straw more straw if your life dear you hold
For I must have more of this wonder I behold

That night she sat and cried alone in her cell
until the manikin returned to this Belle
What will ye give me, if I work my spell
My mother's necklace, and a cheerfully farewell

Whir whir, three turns and three times more
and gold spilled out onto the tower floor
Whir whir three turns and three turns more
and the reels filled up with a merry golden store

The king rejoiced again, and asked for her hand
If once again she's weave gold at his command
Again came the manikin and a boon he did demand
Her first born, to bear away into his land

So the gold filled the room and this maiden was wed
and taken she was to the Kings marriage bed
a year passed away and her heart felt cold as led
as she swelled with child, it's fate she did dread.

He came for the child, and she begged him give her time
Three days he said, then the child shall be mine
unless you guess my name, when the morning bell will chime
I will have thy babe for ever and all time

She sent her servant to search far and near
to gather every name, that ever he may hear
Bring to her each name, as common or as queer
that she might whisper it to manikin's ear

For two nights she tried each name that came to mind
but the manikin's name she would never find
until her ser vent saw like a little withered rind
the manikin dancing by his fire in the wind (wynde)

Today I bake, to morrow I will brew
The next day I will have the Queen's babe it's true
For I am glad no human born ever knew
Me name is Rumplestilzkin, she'll never find a clue

Next morning he did come to take away the babe
to raise the girl child in his lonely glade
He smiled and he chortled while the Queen she prayed
for he knew soon her hope of victory would fade

Caspar Balthazar Melchior, Hilltaine
Finbar, Fintan, Hotspur or Bill Baine
Bently Bentknee, Jobber or John Crame
Rumplestitzkin is that perhaps thy name

The devil told you that! the little man did cry
and he stamped his right foot in the earth up to his thigh
he grabbed his left leg and tore him self in two
There there I end my song, a gift from me to you

The child of winter

When I met the child the fall was upon us
Yet she was spring's sweet breeze in the wind and rain
her voice could paint the first blooms of April
Her gentle manner soothed the deepest pain

As the first snow fell we would sing together
and the winter's chill we both could keep at bay
we laughed and spoke of a thousand wonders
deep into the night, there was still more to say

But the world is full of such pain and sorrow
and misfortunes fell upon us like the bitter frost
and I felt the chill replace her child like wonder
and I prayed for spring before all love was lost

but the winter is long and her smiles all faded
and each treasured moment a forgotten dream
her heart grew distant as the days grew longer
swept away like melting snow in a mountain stream

and I pray if ever I meet this child again
it will be when the buds of spring adorn the trees
and we have a moment in the sun together
and our laughter float upon sweet scented breeze.

The song of the Child of Abraham

Abraham was a busker, on the streets of the town
his collar turned up and his capeen pulled down
and the song of his chanter was a lonely ol' sound
as he played Uilleann Pipes in the morning

I'm told I can sing, can I sing ye a song ( Other voice )
I'll sing one that's not very long (OV)
sing it then ( lor )
Can I sing ye a song from my home far away ( OV )
Your music takes me back there in a sweet way

Then into his world came this girleen so wild
she sang like an angel, in tones rich and mild
and he gave her his tunes as though his only child
as he played on his pipes in the morning

Your songs are like water pouring out of a stone ( other voice )
Your music it sings to my heart It's thy own ( lorcan )
I drink in your music just like rich Spanish wine (OV )
And a busker's free life makes the darkest day shine (OV)

To see them in song was a wonder and joy
the weary bent busker now brisk as a boy
their music, misfortune, in cold hearts would destroy
as they sang to the sun in the morning

But I have demons, I've fears in my night (OV)
people who've gripped me to tight (OV)
Yes I know (lorcan)
Your loneliness scares me, I don't want this to end (OV)
but my soul longs to drift along on the south wind (OV)

But children must grow or decay like the old
he knew that the gamin's heart was not his to hold
so he set this lark free, turned his face to the cold
alone with his pipes in the morning

I'm lost in the dark, now I haven't a song (OV)
I can't even give ye a smile (OV)
Pastine a gra, ( L )
I'm off down the road, I don't know where I'll be (OV)
Abraham, but I know that you can't follow me, (OV)
In some sweet secret glade he's laid down to rest
that part of his soul that was this child's nest
N'er there to return and he's doin' his best
to play ye a tune in the morning.

Ye sing in my soul, though we now have to part ( Lor )

I hear you in each beat of my heart ( L )

I can't hear ( other voice )

Pastine mo chroi, thy sweet music's with thee (Lor)

Though I play so alone every morning.

Genie's song I wrote the first two verses in the late seventies, lost the verse I wrote in the eighties, and now, 2005, a new verse...

Come here to me now, turn off the set awhile,
while I tell you of a time not to long ago
When my love and I sat spell bound by a tale
told by a man, the like of which our son will never know,
We'd walk to the square for a market or a fair,
and we'd wonder at the plenty or the prices
But in the chill morning air, there was nothing so fair
as the crys of the seagull or the Traveller's wives.

A red haired girl, a good reason not to fish
so it's off to the high fields for a pint, or two... or three
or late to Mass, standing in by the door, but I suppose
it's alright between God and me.
and the seas may be fierce and I fear for my life
but its better than fearing for my sanity.
So shoot the net and freeze, God send the salmon please
for this night is long and this half decker is cold.

Now the world we knew is gone, and sometimes we don't belong
in these times when the simple ways are lost in all the noise
But when I find I'm looking back, there no regret, for all that,
As I know, you stood beside me when the road was steep and cold
And I know that I failed you, though I never wanted to
and you know that you'll always be along with me
So if our gentle world is gone, we can both still carry on
For the road ahead's a wonder even though a mystery.

Harrum Doigh

I met a colleen on the hill, when all the world was dark and still
She winked at me and passed me by, and oh but she was looking sly

Colleen deas fair play to thee, and happiness where ere ye be
I'll ner forget that look ye gave till roses red adorn me grave

Roses I will nurture and me spirit paint with gentle hand
the colors of my love for thee who passed me by so casually

grant she picks a rose from there and weaves it in amongst her hair
that my soul may linger there, until the petals fall

The Faerie Child

One evening I wandered, the day being mild
My soul was enticed by a bright faerie child
She led me away with her laughter and song
she led me away from my sorrow

I thought I was safe and I thought all was well
as I followed she skipped to a green woodland dell
She new all my thoughts and she named all my cares
and her songs twined away every sorrow

It seemed but a moment, that we lingered there
then a cold wind swept by us, and tossled her hair
Her smile quickly faded, her eyes lost all love
her songs turned to mirrors of my sorrow

I awoke in the forest, alone and in pain
all joy from of the evening swept away by cold rain
The weight of long years I now suddenly knew
and I long for an end to all tomorrows.


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