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Poems for Anthony Ritchie's Lullabies by Elena Poletti

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Poems by Elena Poletti
Music by Anthony Ritchie

Watch a performance of this work HERE

Note: there are a few minor changes to word order in the setting of these poems


1. Shush-a-shush

Shush-a-shush-a-shush
Little waves on the beach
Shush-a-shush-a-shush
Little waves, one by one,
Draw eyelids down to sleep.

Shush-a-shush-a-shush
Little waves on the beach
Shush-a-shush-a-shush
Little waves softly creeping,
Draw up the coverlet of sleep.

Shush-a-shush-a-shush
Little waves on the beach
Shush-a-shush-a-shush
Little waves, gently creaming,
Draw you down into drifts of sleep.


2. Little One

Little one, so hot and cross,
listen to the rain.
Hear it falling,
Cool on the grass,
soft on our tin roof.

Little one, drowsy and warm,
listen to the rain.
Hear it falling,
soft into your dreams,
as gentle as each tender breath.


3. Sounds of Penguins

Under the house by the sea
it is night time
full of the sounds of penguins,
tiny blue penguins,
chuckling and squabbling for space,
settling to their rest.

Inside the house by the sea
it is bed time
full of the sounds of children,
blithe, busy children
chattering over all they have done
as they climb into their beds.

All around the house by the sea
the moon shines bright
the wind blows
the waves hush in and out.
In the distance, on the island,
the lighthouse flashes on-off-on.


4. The Nightsingers

Listen, my lovely,
Listen to the nightsingers.

The valley lies so silent and still,
But for the song of tiny treefrogs,
Rising and falling, rising and falling
Flowing like the little creek below.

Listen, my lovely,
Listen to the nightsingers.

From the great rimu on the hill
Comes the floating cry of the ruru.
Echoing over the jostle of house and road,
As it did when all was swamp and bush.

Listen, my lovely,
Listen to the nightsingers.

Nose to nose, sleek shapes in the dark,
Crouched on steps still warm from the day,
The cats are rapt in their wild harmony,
A crooning song of long ago and far away.

Listen, my lovely,
Listen to the nightsingers.


5. Beddington

Off to Beddington now, my babe!
Who will go with you?
Blue Lamb, under my arm,
Grey Kitten on my shoulder.

Off to Beddington then, my babe!
Are you sure you know the way?
Of course! We’ve been there before.
And Grey Kitty can see in the dark!

Off to Beddington then, my babe!
But what if there are monsters?
We’ll chant our Monster-Munch-Up Chant
—You know, the one you taught us.

Munch a leg, munch an arm, chomp, chomp, chomp!

Off to Beddington now, my babe!
But when will you be back?
In the morning silly!!
We’ll be back by breakfast time.


6. Hope of my heart

Hope of my heart
My bonny,
My own one

Everything is different
Your clouts stay fair and white
When I hang them outdoors
And they smell of the sun.

Hope of my heart
My bonny,
My own one

My sister and her pale wee boy,
They lie by the kirk wall.
In the sad, gray, drear air,
Nor grass grows nor bud bursts.

Hope of my heart
My bonny,
My own one

Himself made your cradle from wood,
Its name I cannot tell
Nor of any plant that crowds us in.
We will thrive and blow here, you and I.

Hope of my heart
My bonny,
My own one

Author:Elena Poletti

Featuring

Lullabies   Anthony Ritchie 
Copyright:Elena Poletti

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