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Beyond the Lone Islands

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Turn Around

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Within walking distance from where I live there is a little park which in my own mind I call the Butterfly Park, since last summer I got to see and take photos of several different kinds of butterflies there. (I’ve only been living in this part of town two years, and it was only last summer that I started bringing my camera on almost every walk.)

Earlier this summer I complained (I think it was in my other blog) that there didn’t seem to be any butterflies around this year. But now they’re back, and I’m very happy to see them.

Yesterday it was raining most of the day, and I was having a rather miserable day from ache-and-pains point of view. (Actually, to be honest - from almost any point of view.) 

But in the afternoon I managed a short walk in between showers, and then I found this beautiful peacock butterfly in the park, performing a little “dance” for me – slowly turning around on top of a white cone flower, with its wings spread out (probably to dry!).


Putting the pictures all in a row for this post, and writing as far as the paragraph above, the hymn “Lord of the Dance” came to mind for me.

I was reminded that I’ve always been curious about the origin of this song. So now I looked it up.

It has sometimes been said that this is an old traditional hymn, but it was written by English songwriter Sydney Carter in 1967. However, he adapted the tune from an older American Shaker dance song "Simple Gifts"; and the lyrics follow the idea of a traditional English carol, "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" which tells the gospel story in the first person voice of Jesus of Nazareth.

Before I started this research, I had already put down Turn Around as the title of my post.

When I looked up the Simple Gifts lyrics (which I can’t remember ever hearing), this is what I found:

Tis the gift to be simple, ‘tis the gift to be free,
’Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
’Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Does that fit my turning butterfly, or what?!

"Simple Gifts" was written by Elder Joseph at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine in 1848.

Below is a YouTube video of Lord of the Dance performed by the Dubliners; and the lyrics to that.

Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I lead you all, wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance, said he

I danced in the morning when the world was young
I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun
I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth

I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame
They ripped, they stripped, they hung me high
Left me there on the hill to die

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body, they thought I was gone
But I am the dance, and the dance goes on

They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the life that will never, never die
I'll live in you if you'll live in me
I am the Lord of the dance, said he

Dance, dance, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance, said he
And I lead you all, wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance, said he


Ginny Hartzler said...

Oh, Monica, this is my favorite post you have EVER done! You have outdone yourself! I have goosebumps from the top of my head to my toes. when you first started talking about Lord Of the Dance, I was thinking of the Irish Step Dancing Riverdance show with Michael Flately, which I love. But I was wrong, it is something amazing that I have never heard of. The song is good, the words amazing. I just printed them out. Thanks for making my Sunday. Oh, I have done a post on the Shakers so I enjoyed those other words. Unfortunatly they were a bit too simple, because I think there are under a dozen left. There is still a large compound that I pictured part of in my blog post. I hope your aches and pains calm down, maybe will get better when the sun comes out?

MadSnapper said...

i am going to vote with Ginny, this is just about the best post ever. first i totally Love Love Love the photos, the title is perfect, the gifts and the song all of it so full of joy and imagination. You outdid yourself on this one, Monica. LOVE IT
i am with Ginny I do so love Michael and the Lord of the dance,

Tipper said...

Hi-Sandra suggested I jumped over to read this post and listen to the music. I'm glad she did cause I enjoyed both!


Rachel said...

Love love love the song!!!!

rae said...

Gorgeous photos!


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