Sunday, October 4, 2009

Singing

Maybe sparrow you should wait
The hawks alight till morning
You'll never pass beyond the gate
If you don't hear my warning

Notes are hung so effortless
With the rise and fall of sparrow's breast
It's a drowning dive and back to the chorus

La di da di da di da
La di da di da di da

Oh my sparrow it's too late
Your body limp beneath my feet
Your dusty eyes cold as clay
You didn't hear my warning

Maybe sparrow it's too late
Moonlight glanced off metal wings
In a thunderstorm above the clouds
The engine hums a sparrow's phrase
For those who cannot hear the words
For those who cannot hear the words
For those who will not hear the words

La di da di da di da
La di da di da di da

Maybe sparrow
Maybe sparrow

This is one of Sicily's favorite Neko Case songs. We sang it over and over at bedtime, until she got the words and melody down. I love singing with her, explaining the lyrics. Sometimes I worry that her thirst for knowledge outweighs her six-year-old brain and I try to gauge my teaching accordingly. I want her to understand metaphors and interpretation, and the beauty of language.

She told me last week that her piano teacher told her she sings beautifully. And I was so proud, because she does. I remember her long, warbling, melody-less tunes she used to entertain the family with at two and three, and marvel at her development since that time. We work on it every night.

Lately, we have gravitated back towards musicals. We have been singing Annie. The other night, she was directing, and wanted me to sing with her.

"Mom, you sing this, then I'll sing this, then you and I sing together. Like this."

"So you want do do a duet?"

She was confused. "What mom? Do what? Do it? What do you mean?"

I answered, "You want to do a duet, Sicily. Sing a duet."

She was louder. "Do what? Do it? What are you talking about?"

I laughed at her Laurel and Hardy-like take on what I was trying to say. "Do you know what a duet is?"

I explained it to her. "Yes mom! That is exactly what I want us to do."

So we have been singing duets, lately. Sometimes she lets her American Girl doll, Sara Amber, chime in. She gives the doll space for the lyric, and jumps ahead as if the doll was really singing it. She directs me. It's funny. And wonderful.

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