Mudcat Café message #141853 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #15686   Message #141853
Posted By: Stewie
28-Nov-99 - 07:03 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Borning Day (Hellerman/Minkoff)
Subject: Lyr Add: BORNING DAY^^
It has been said that the religious celebrations as we know them at Christmas are the product of the medieval peasantry - the triumph of the common people over the church fathers whose view was essentially pessimistic in respect of the things of this earth. For the common people, the incarnate God became a real child to be fondled and rocked, the lowliest of infants whose birthday was to be kept with feasting, song and dance. It was the childhood of the redeemer that won the heart of Europe for Christmas.

The following is a tender little Christmas song that takes a West Indian or islander approach. It echoes the spirit of a traditional Spanish carol that began: 'In a porch, full of cobwebs, between the mule and the ox, the saviour of souls is born ... In the porch at Bethlehem are star, sun and moon: the virgin and St Joseph and the child who lies in the cradle. In Bethlehem, they touch fire, from the porch the flame issues; it is the star of heaven which has fallen into the straw. I am a poor gypsy who comes hither from Egypt and bring to God's child a cock. I am a poor Galician who comes from Galicia and bring to God's child linen for a shift. To the new-born child all bring a gift. I am little and have nothing; I bring him my heart'.

Hellerman and Minkoff's song is a potent little brew of sentimentality and optimism:

(Fred Hellerman and Fran Minkoff)

Mary and the baby hungry
Oh we know what hungry be
So we bring them peas and rice, a little ginger tea
Only pigeon peas and rice, a little ginger tea
Mary thank us with her eyes
She poor the same as we
She poor the same as we

Mary and the baby lonely
And lonely is not good to be
So we sit a while and chat a while, keep them company
Stay a while, make the baby smile, pass the time of day
When we see how pleased they be
It makes us glad we stay
So glad that we could stay

Mary and the baby weary
Oh we know what weary be So we make a bed, a pillow for their head, with down from the mahoe tree
Only down from the mahoe tree to rest them soft and good
We be sad these are all we had
But we do the best we could
We do the best we could

Mary and the baby rest easy
We go away and let them be
On hushed tiptoe with voice held low and we look up and see
Star of hope shine in the sky, to mark the baby's birth
Seem to say it's the borning day
Of better times on earth
Of better times on earth

Authors: Fred Hellerman and Fran Minkoff Copyright Appleseed Music Inc ASCAP.

Source: Ronnie Gilbert 'Alone With' Mercury LP MG 20917