A little help from my friends?

The soloist at the church my parents and I attended in the late ’70s and early ’80s used to sing a song that my dad liked a lot. I believe it was based on this poem by Victor Hugo:

Be like the bird
That, pausing in her flight
Awhile on boughs too slight,
Feels them give way
Beneath her and yet sings,
Knowing that she hath wings.

The poem is also translated this way:

Be like the bird which on frail branches balanced
A moment sits and sings;
He feels them tremble, but he sings unshaken,
Knowing that he has wings.

My mom and I have been trying to track down the song — and its complete lyrics — but haven’t had much luck.

If I can find it, I would like to get a recording, the sheet music, or both for Daddy. And if I can put my hands on the sheet music, the soloist at my church would like a copy, too.

Does anybody out there know this song? And if you do, can you tell me who wrote it, what the rest of the lyrics are, or where to find the sheet music?

I can’t remember anything about it, but if I heard it again, it might jog my memory. Every now and then, we’ll sing a hymn I haven’t heard in 25 years, and I’ll suddenly remember what I was wearing, which pew I was in, and what the weather was like outside the last time I sang it. So it’s entirely possible that if I heard the song based on the Hugo poem, my memory could go sifting through the boxes in its attic and pull out something it recorded one Sunday morning many years ago.

That would be wonderful. I’d love to hear Sina’s voice float through my memories.

Mockingbirds

I don’t have a whole lot to report today, except that I watched a pair of mockingbirds playing in the front yard of the house across the street from us this morning as I left for work. I say “playing,” but they really seemed to be squabbling over something.

I wasn’t the only one watching. The big yellow-and-white cat who hangs out in our front yard all the time was lying on the neighbor’s doorstep, watching the birds intently.

Incidentally, this site where I found the picture of the mockingbird is kind of interesting and includes some lovely photos of the trail where Suzanne and I like to run.

I had fun at work this morning. I went to interview this guy who works at Cohlmia’s, which is a sort of upscale nursery and interior landscaping place here in Tulsa. They had tons of absolutely stunning orchids for sale, and upstairs, they have office space with windows that look down onto a huge storage area where they keep a lot of big palms and things. Outside the office windows, they have built giant birdcages, where they keep all these gorgeous parrots.

After the interview, the guy I was talking to got out one of the birds — a gorgeous young macaw who hatched out in November — and let me pet her. I was a little intimidated, as I’ve known some nasty-tempered macaws in the past, but this one was a sweetie and seemed to enjoy the attention. He said she was a cross between a blue-and-gold macaw and … um … a military macaw, I think. She was really beautiful. She looked kind of small, but he said she was full-grown except for her tail, which will get longer as she ages.

It blows my mind to think that somewhere in South America, some journalist probably gets up in the morning, looks across the street, and smiles at the macaws arguing over food or territory or potential mates in her neighbor’s yard. I know every bird is native to some part of the world, but it still floors me to think about living in a place where macaws or canaries (WARNING: canary link contains a sound file, so don’t click it if your boss thinks you are doing something productive right now) or Gouldian finches are as common as Tulsa’s starlings and sparrows and pigeons.

Of course, I also got very excited when I moved to Oklahoma and saw my first scissor-tailed flycatcher, which is our state bird, because we never saw those in Illinois … and it would thrill me to no end to see a roadrunner in New Mexico.

I wonder if robins and cardinals and bluejays seem exotic to people in other parts of the world?