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Life in Community

Song of the Month for February 2019: All The Birch Trees Are Green

February 28, 2019 by

It’s still February, but who wants winter songs? Instead, we’ve got a beautiful rendition of a German folk song. Set to music by Ernst Licht, this poem was penned by Hermann Löns. Known as “The Poet of the Heath,” Löns was, among other things, a natural historian, a conservationist, and a hunter. He wrote the poem, “Alle Birken grünen in Moor und Heid,” in 1911. Three years later and just a few months into World War I, the newly enlisted Löns was killed near Reims, France.

Listen on SoundCloud.

On the Bruderhof, we sing this folk song both in its original German and in English, but this featured recording is played by Jason Swinger on a harp that he built with his daughter. You can watch a video of the harp’s construction here. Although this version is instrumental, the poem is gorgeous, and we’ve included the lyrics below:

 

Alle Birken grünen in Moor und Heid,
Jeder Brambusch leuchtet wie Gold,
Alle Heidlerchen dudeln vor Fröhlichkeit,
Jeder Birkhahn kullert und tollt.

Meine Augen, die gehen wohl hin und her
Auf dem schwarzen, weißflockigen Moor,
Auf dem braunen, grün schäumenden Heidemeer
Und schweben zum Himmel empor.

Zum Blauhimmel hin, wo ein Wölkchen zieht
Wie ein Wollgrasflöckchen so leicht,
Und mein Herz, es singt sein leises Lied,
Das auf zum Himmel steigt.

Ein leises Lied, ein stilles Lied
Ein Lied, so fein und lind,
Wie ein Wölkchen, das über die Bläue zieht,
Wie ein Wollgrasflöckchen im Wind.

All the birch trees are green now on heath and moor,
Every gorse bush is shining gold.
All the skylarks are piping a song of joy,
Heath cocks whirring in gladness untold.

And my eyes are wandering here and there,
O’er the dark of the white-flecked moor,
O’er the brown heather sea, with its foaming green,
’Til they rise up to heaven’s door.

To the heavens blue where a cloud sails by
Like a flake of cotton grass light,
And my heart it sings a quiet song
That soars to heaven’s height.

A quiet song, a peaceful song,
A song so tender and fine,
Like a cloudlet that over the blue sky sails,
Like a cotton grass blown in the wind.

 

 

 

Listen to more Songs of the Month here.

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