“Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning;
God’s recreation of the new day”
There are some songs and pieces of music that just put us in the right place and make us feel just so good. Most of the time lyrics and tunes give us a good sense of feeling when they are used with other things such as people and society. Morning has Broken is one of those song that does it for me probably because for nearly 30 years I had to make an early start. Even now especially in summer I find it difficult to stay asleep when the morning dawns especially if we’re greeted with bright sunlight.
Being up and about at six implies a change in ones routine, but the rarity of the occasion will add to the experience, however to step outside at such a time, once the grogginess has worn off, is to feel the misanthropic thrill of a planet not yet choked by cars or muddled with people. Here is the day in its tentative, inchoate state, often silent, beyond what could accurately be called the night but before morning proper, a place that belongs to those few who inhabit it.
Memories play a part, I think. A paper round when I was 12 meant wandering alone around the streets of a Hutton Village before it had woken up, before its secret was out, maybe the memory goes further back, into the subconscious. Book-ended as we are between eternities of darkness, it is a great privilege to be alive to encounter the inexplicable properties of light and witness the coming of the morning and be capable of appreciating it.
Getting back to the actual song : “Morning Has Broken” is a popular and well-known Christian hymn first published in 1931. It has words by English author Eleanor Farjeon and is set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune known as “Bunessan” (it shares this tune with the 19th century Christmas Carol “Child in the Manger”).
It is often sung in children’s services and many timed I can remember singing it at junior school along with “All things bright and beautiful”. English pop musician and folk singer Cat Stevens (known as Yusuf Islam since 1978) included a version on his 1971 album Teaser and the Firecat.
The familiar piano arrangement on Stevens’ recording was composed and performed by Rick Wakeman, a classically trained keyboardist best known for his solo tenures and in the English progressive rock band Yes as well as playing on David Bowies ‘Hunky Dory’. The song became identified with Stevens and it reached number 9 in the U.K. Charts and number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on its release on January 1st 1972 and remain on the U.K. Charts for 13 weeks.
It has found renewed favouritism with me when I think of the days in early spring and summertime when I have found great delight witnessing the glorious dawn and sunny early mornings naked as the day I was born….its definitely something that is spiritually uplifting to me but not I have to say in a religious kind of way.
“Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning….Born of the one light Eden saw play”.
Another Cat Stevens song means alot to me now and until recently it was hidden away on an album I’ve had for over 30 years.Its on an album called Tea for the Tillerman an album I bought in a job lot of second hand LPs for £20 from the Record and Tape exchange in London in 1982. Being into rock I never really listened to it and when I did in earnest last weekend I wished had much sooner.
On it the song Father and Son just means so much to me too(I’ve heard it many time before on the radio) as I’m a father and a son, a son to a father who died almost a decade ago and father to two sons (and a daughter) who I see less and less as the years go by. The lyrics echo the sentiments said to me by my father and they are words I’d used to my sons if I only had the chance a little more often.
“It’s not time to make a change,
Just relax, take it easy.
You’re still young, that’s your fault,
There’s so much you have to know.
Find a girl, settle down,
If you want you can marry.
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy
I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy,
To be calm when you’ve found something going on.
But take your time, think a lot,
Why, think of everything you’ve got.
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not.”