Wednesday, August 30, 2006


So I began my day, as usual, going through the email that arrived since I left work last night. As usual, several of my emails were "Baby" emails - websites I've registered on that send me emails giving me info about the development of baby, and other useful information. I usually read whatever sounds interesting from the initial email, then follow interesting-sounding links below each story until I run out of things to read. Well, today, one of the links was to the words to "typical" lullabies. As this is something I've been contemplating recently, I checked them out. There were several I hadn't heard of, but I some of their choices for "favorite" lullabies.

For instance, the song "Clementine." You know the one - "Oh, my darlin', oh, my darlin'..." Yeah, well, read the verses. She's a beautiful girl and her boyfriend is the one singing about her. She goes down to the river to drive in some ducklings, trips and falls in. He can't save her because he can't swim. Her dad commits suicide because of her death. She fertilizes the roses in the churchyard now. He dreams about her in wet clothes, but won't hug her like he did in life because she's dead now and he's got to draw the line somewhere (you think I'm kidding). Artificial resipration could have saved her. And he missed her till he kissed her sister.

Wow. Yeah, there's a gem that I'm _SURE_ to sing to MY kid.

The other one that really caught my attention was "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." ("Comin' for to carry me home...") That song is all about laying down your burdens to die and being carried home to heaven. Now, I want my kid to have the hope of heaven...but this song sounds a "little" defeatist to me for new life to hear. My child is not a slave in a field picking cotton. It's a newborn baby living a comfortable life in middle-class America. It's got healthcare, its parents have good jobs, it has a house and will have plenty of food and clothing. IMO, the "burdens" of dirty diapers and momentary hunger aren't enough to call for the "Sweet Chariot" to come.

Another interesting choice (although not one I necessarily disagree with) is "Amazing Grace." They include five of the seven verses, and leave off the one tacked on by an anonymous writer which has come to be known as the "last" verse ("When we've been there ten thousand years...") since it a) has nothing to do with the rest of the text, b) wasn't written by John Newton, and c) like with "Swing Low..." has to do with death more than life, so again, not something I want to associate with my newborn. So I wholeheartedly agree with this choice, although it wasn't one that would have come to mind without their suggestion.

Other than that, their list is pretty much just full of standards (Brahms' Lullaby, Rock-a-bye Baby, Twinkle, Twinkle, etc.). But nothing but "Clementine" will come to mind when I'm singing to Baby.

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