Bittersweet Crimson
Bittersweet Crimson


First light stillness
In villages and towns
Then came teardrops
News was texted round


Hush across the hillside
August early cool
Teacher asks for silence
In English class


Doing daily business
Silenced by the bell
We somehow surprised ourselves
The day the great oak fell

Oh, the day the great oak fell

Next morning dreamers
At the poet's well
Toasting his goodness
The day the great oak fell

Oh, the day the great oak fell
He said, 'Do not be fearful
Mind your sentence well'
I hope we're digging deeper
Since the great oak fell

Oh, since the great oak fell
Oh, the day the great oak fell
The great oak fell...

© 2020 Luka Bloom //
(IMRO/MCPS Ireland)

(for Seamus Heaney)

    Every now and then in Ireland, someone passes away, and it seems to bring life itself to a standstill.
    Everybody takes a deep breath and acknowledges the depth of the moment.
    So it was on August 30th, 2013.

    Word began to filter through that Seamus Heaney had passed.
    Immediately there was a hush across the place, at the passing of a chieftain.
    A teacher asked for silence in an English class.
    People phoned into radio stations, reciting original poems, or reading their favourite Seamus Heaney poem.
    I immediately wrote this song.
    And just as quickly, must have been distracted by a tour or something.
    Because I forgot.
    A very strange thing to happen.

    Then in 2018 I had the privilege of singing in The Seamus Heaney Homeplace in Bellaghy, County Derry.
    A wonderful place, and a wonderfiul night of song with great people.
    The next morning, I suddenly remembered; the song.
    ‘Where is it?’ I asked myself.
    Eventually I looked through voice memos in my phone from the end of August 2013, and sure enough, there it was on September 6th 2013.
    ‘The day the great oak fell’.

    I’m so glad I didn’t record it when I wrote it, simply because the version on Bittersweet Crimson is sweeter than I ever could have imagined. The playing of everyone on this song really touches me; and to be honest, it is a song I’m very proud of.
    It clearly needed it’s time to come, and that time is now.

    It is of course, a sad song.
    But here it feels actually comforting.
    A humble tribute to the great Irishman that was Seamus Heaney.
    I find myself frequently reflecting on what I believe were his last words:
    ‘Noli Timere’.
    Such a powerful message for 2020.
    Do not be afraid...

    ~ Luka Bloom

© Rena Bergholz :: Luka Bloom Page