Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mother Goose, New To Me

There was an old woman tossed up in a basket,
Ninety-nine times as high as the moon;
And whither she went I just had to ask it,
For in her hands she carried a broom.
“Old woman, old woman, old woman,” said I,
“Whither, O whither, O whither so high?”
“To sweep the cobwebs off the sky.”
“May I come with you?”
“Aye, by-and-by.”

I love this nursery rhyme, it’s so dreamlike. I never heard it as a child; only shortly after becoming a father; so I heard it fresh with adult ears. It was indeed with me... by and by.  It comes in many varieties:
in her hand/under her arm
And I’ll be with you by-and-by /  May I come with you? Aye, by-and-by.

2*3*2*2 = 24 choices. I happen to like this particular mutation. Also I made a few tweaks myself. This is a rhyme you have to co-create.
Who is this old woman? A maid? A witch? An angel? A goddess? An astronaut? All of the above? I like to think of the web-sweeping as the clearing of the mind during sleep. The last-line choice creates ambiguity. Is she coming back to us or are we flying off with her?
Here is a tune I made for it:

hi-C F G F A A A G A G A# A#
A A# A hiC hiC G F E F
A F G F A A G A G A# A#
A A# A hiC hiC G F E F
hiE hiF hiC hiC hiC A A A# A A# hiC
hiC hiD hiC hiC hiD hiC hiC A# A G
G F F A A G G A#
A# A A# hiC hiC  

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