deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #0 of 8: (alexallan) Wed 10 Sep 03 23:48
Bird Song 
w: Hunter m: Garcia
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #1 of 8: Alex Allan (alexallan) Wed 10 Sep 03 23:49
Bird Song 
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

All I know is something like a bird within her sang
All I know she sang a little while and then flew on
Tell me all that you know
I'll show you
Snow and rain

If you hear that same sweet song again, will you know why?
Anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passing by
Laugh in the sunshine
Sing, cry in the dark
Fly through the night

Don't cry now
Don't you cry
Don't you cry any more
La da da da

Sleep in the stars
Don't you cry
Dry your eyes on the wind
La da da da da da

All I know is something like a bird within her sang
All I know she sang a little while and then flew on
Tell me all that you know
I'll show you
Snow and rain
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #2 of 8: Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 10 May 04 00:14
Interesting notes by Hunter in the "All Good Things" booklet about the
writing of "Bird Song":

"Don't remember where I wrote the words for 'Bird Song.' Probably when
we were all living in Larkspur (where we wrote 'Workingman's Dead' and
'American Beauty') because it's intended as a tribute to Janis, after
her death, and she lived down the block from us in Madrone County.

"The birdsong image came from a beautiful collage someone had
constructed and hung on the wall when I was a waiter at St Michael's
Alley on University Avenue in Palo Alto, a year or two before the
transition from folk and bluegrass into rock - maybe 1963. The collage
had a picture of a bird and a quote: 'All I know is something in me
sang that in me sings no more.' I don't know whose quote that is, but
it stuck with me over the years and finally found its expression in
'Bird Song'."

The quote is in fact a slight misquote from a sonnet by Edna St
Vincent Millay:

"I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more"
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #3 of 8: Lightning in a Box (unkljohn) Mon 10 May 04 05:03
very cool.
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #4 of 8: David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 10 May 04 08:41
Wow! Thanks, Alex. Guess I'd better break down and buy the Jerry box...sigh.
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #5 of 8: Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 10 May 04 18:05
Do buy it David - the sound quality is great and the bonus tracks are
patchy but with some real gems.

Re "Birdsong", I love the way that allusions and references in Hunter
lyrics can emerge 30 years after they were written. And the fact that
Hunter's half-remembered quote from an old collage turns out to be from
another poet is great.

I'd never heard of Edna St Vincent Millay before (I guess a UK
eduction is biased towards UK authors/poets). A fascinating life, and
I'm enjoying the bits of her poetry I've now read. One of the fun bits
of being a deadhead is the links it brings.
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #6 of 8: Passerby (comet) Mon 10 May 04 22:15
The line that comes back to me now and then is "anyone who sings a
song so sweet is passing by"; as a way of accepting the loss of
something too precious to last.

Birdsong was retired in 73, perhaps because it had taken on the weight
of a dirge. I remember my elation at hearing it revived at the
Warfield 80 shows, soaring from the ashes in a new acoustic
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #7 of 8: from JEFF FERMON (tnf) Fri 4 Jun 04 10:15

Jeff Fermon writes:

I used to sing this to my daughter when I would visit her. She was always
missing her mom and would cry for most of my visitation. I would spend the
entire time cradling her and trying to console. This is the song I would sing
to her, over and over and over. Eventually she would fall asleep on my
shoulder and I would keep singing.

"don't cry now...don't you cry...don't you cry...anymore...sleep in the
stars... .... ...."

I realized something about death and consolation, nothing new or profound, in
fact it reminds me of de saint exupery's little prince in some ways, or the
tibetan book of the dead (which was a manual for the living). Mourning is so
much about our own sense of loss, and not so much for the 'departed'. As I
sang this song to her, I realized it was at least as much to comfort my own
despair and a paradox of love- where you cherish and love someone so much
that your heart aches- you miss them, even when they are right there in your
arms. Love is a true force in nature, like the nuclear force that binds
particles in the nucleus of an atom? This binding of souls, and the ache of
separation, the strong resistance you feel in separating. It was my own eyes
I was drying on the wind.
deadsongs.vue.21 : Bird Song
permalink #8 of 8: David Gans (tnf) Tue 11 Aug 09 23:00

From Paul Keniston:

I was investigating the life of Fanny Crosby on WikipediA,
and this quote which rings much like Bird Song:

Eliza Hewitt memorialized Fanny’s passing in a poem:

   Away to the country of sunshine and song,
   Our songbird has taken her flight,
   And she who has sung in the darkness so long
   Now sings in the beautiful light.

Fanny Crosby was a blind American lyricist who lived from 1820 to 1915.
She is credited with writting over 8,000 songs and enjoyed great success.

Some of her hymnns are still sung today in the Christian Church.
They are words that will live forever.

I bet old Billy Sunday liked to sing her songs at his revivals.

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