A couple of years ago I wrote a song and published it last winter, Goshen Yule. This year, despite my feeling that I didn’t have it memorized and couldn’t sing it well, I put the first verse on Instagram, and made a fuller recording. Am I happy with the recording? No. Do I think it could be improved? Yes. Do I think it would be better with more people singing? Yes, very much so. Especially the verses about the coyotes, and the chipmunk, I screwed those up and I need more practice. But what do you expect from a song that can only be sung once a year?
I give you a song called Goshen Yule, based on the John Renfro Davis tune The Nightingale. Chorus: Come up now, come up now, come up now bright Sun! The autumn is ending, and the winter is come: The maples are leafless, and the fields fill with snow; And though you’re now weakest, your light can but grow! The does dip their mouths to the stream before dawn, And drink while the blue jays sing their wintering song; Fresh snows hold the footprints of possums and hares, and rocks faintly rumble with the snoring of bears. Chorus Out in the deep woods, coyotes howl at the Moon, And seek from their neighbors both a gift and a boon: “Hear the love in our song, the joy this chorus intends — But leave us the places where your firelight ends.” Chorus Look where the chipmunk scurried over icy ground tnd where the owl landed without making a sound; No scuffle, no battle, just a claw and a bite, White wings and pure silence under cover of Night. Chorus But here in the darkness, some faces emerge, And on the high hilltop, glad voices converge. Their loud shouts of gladness must echo to the skies; though shadows and snowfall on the meadow still lies. Chorus “He rises! He’s coming! Here’s the first light of the Sun! Now Autumn is ended and Winter’s begun! Though trees are all leafless and everything’s gray, The light is returning and life finds a way!” Chorus