I'll hold you while angels sing you to sleep

by CynthiaYockey on November 20, 2009

“Lullabye” by Cris Williamson from her 1978 album, Live Dream.

I love singing lullabyes and this is one of my favorites. In my first year with my late life partner, Margaret Ardussi, circa 1984-85, I thought it would make her feel loved and comforted if I sang her lullabyes before we went to sleep. But she would be so moved it would make her sob, so I had to stop.

I just wanted a comforting song tonight. Losing friends to Islam is on my mind. And Nov. 26 will be the anniversary of the murder in the Mumbai massacre of my friend, Alan Scherr, and his daughter, Naomi, by Islamic terrorists. I see from Google that HBO had a special about it tonight — we don’t subscribe, but even if we did, I could not bear to watch it. It was bad enough last year, sitting next to my father’s hospital bed, seeing Alan’s photo on CNN, and praying, “Be someone else’s Alan — not my Alan, not my Alan, not my Alan.”

“Lullabye” by Cris Williamson:

Like a ship in the harbor,
like a mother and child,
like a light in the darkness,
I’ll hold you awhile.
We’ll rock on the water.
I’ll cradle you deep
and hold you while angels
sing you to sleep.

When Cris sings the lines first so her audience can then sing the line, line by line, she is using a technique my father tells me is called “lining out,” which poor churches used to use because they only had one hymnal for the entire congregation. I wish more singers did that at their concerts — the call and response interaction is so stirring and beautiful.

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  • Cynthia, you reminded me of a live version of ‘Amazing Grace’ sung by Joan Baez. She does the lining up that you mentioned. It’s certainly not a lullabye, but it has that beautiful affect that you like.

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