Friday, January 27, 2012

The Moon to Play With (Lullabies)

We've been singing a lot of lullabies recently as my kidlets are under the impression that their bedtime should be after the suns bedtime and I am not under a like impression. So I lie in bed with a kid tucked in each arm, the Poppet busily nursing, and I sing. 
I do not have a good singing voice. It's thin and weak. I once asked a boss if I could have singing lessons (I was singing to kids four times a week at the time) and his response was 'some things are beyond help.' 
But the singing always calms me, if not the children. I sing the same songs my mama sang to me when I was a little girl  (and in my earliest memories of lullabies the sky is unfairly bright and passionfruit vines surround the window,) and my mama sings the songs her mama sang her. 
But we have each added some along the way, and maybe lost some I need to reclaim.
I sing Hushabye Baby, Mama's going to buy you a mockingbird, You are my Sunshine,  Love is Come Again,  Lavender's Blue and All the Pretty Little Horses.  I sing 'At the Gates of Heaven' - which some googling tells me is a Spanish (Basque) lullaby - originally A La Puerta del Ciel

At the gates of heaven little shoes they are making 
For the little barefooted angels that dwell in
Sleep darling baby, sleep darling baby, 
Sleep darling baby, aroo, aroo 

God will bless the babies so peacefully sleeping
God will bless the mothers whose watch they are keeping
Sleep darling baby, sleep darling baby, 
Sleep darling baby, aroo, aroo 

I sing an almost unknown song by the great Scottish songwriter, Ewan McColl (who wrote First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, if you've ever heard Roberta Flack sing it so magically) Kiss the Children for me Mary. 

Kiss the Children for me Mary, 
Don't let them cry nor grieve
Tell them its hard I'm working for them 
Though it breaks my heart to leave
Building dams and fields and factories
Shifting mountains by the load
I'll be with you in November
When I'm finished on the road

I sing a song which (again from googling) I have only just discovered is a song the great American Singer Paul Robeson used to sing My Curly Headed Baby. I've only ever sang the chorus before but I think I'll try to learn the rest of the words now my Poppet has a good head of curls. 

Lulla lulla lulla lulla bye bye, 
Lulla lulla lulla lulla bye bye
Go to sleep darling baby
You shall have the moon to play with, 
You shall have the stars to run away with, 
If you don't cry. (Lulla lulla etc)

I love these songs and it makes me so happy that I am sharing them with my own children. That one day, they will hopefully sing them to their own children.  And they will sing them to their own children. And the words (and maybe even the tunes) will change, but the kernel will remain the same. 
So today I'm linking up with (Maxabella's) GratefulSaturday to say thankyou for lullabies, traditions and family. 


  1. What a beautiful post and some beautiful lullabies for you to share with your little ones.

  2. Wow - tho i've sung it so many times I never knew 'the moon to play with' song was only the chorus of another song

    1. I know - isn't it strange - and the verses sound so different! Although some of that is probably the very deep man voice!
      Here's a youtube if you can open it:

  3. That's just beautiful, Kirsty. Regardless of what you think of your voice, I can say for certain that to your children it is the most beautiful sound in the world when mumma sings to them. x