Since we seem to be on a Kipling kick lately:
The Four Angels Lyrics: Rudyard Kipling, 1905
Music: Mark Horning, 2005
Recorded live in Concert at CopperCon 34
(Series: Filksong Genealogy)
Above: another poem by Rudyard Kipling set to music by Leslie Fish: “Song of the Men’s Side,” a mythic story about how humankind rose above its status as prey for wolves by attaining a crucial piece of technology.
Below: Bob Kanefsky’s take on a … loosely related story, which is also about wolves and prey and technological advancements: “Song From the Pig’s Side,” performed by Leslie Fish. (Look at the end of the third verse for a sneaky shoutout to a different Kipling poem entirely – which, yes, has also been set to music by Fish.)
Use your hooves and use your head
Don’t let down the Man in Red
“March of Cambreadth” (lyrics), by Heather Alexander, is a classic battle song about killing as many people as possible. “December of Cambreadth” (lyrics), a parody by Bob Kanefsky, is…also about maximization of output, but the similarities end there. Except that the language is, somehow, equally vicious.
(Series: Filksong Genealogy)
Now seems like a good time to make this anthem available to all who need it. Free to download, free to learn. free to sing in any street or battlefield where it seems to be needed.
By Catt Kingsgrave – 1993
I am one sword out of many, I am one face out of three
The Maiden, Crone, and Mother live united within me
For I am woman’s fury, and her honour and her pain
And before this day is over, oh, the blood shall fall like rain!
Bring me thunder, bring me steel, bring me coat of iron mail
Bring me diamond hardened will and let my courage never fail.
Bring the Lightning to my sword; lashing, living in my hand
And bring warning to the horde that here, the Battle Raven stands.
I am wind and rain and fire, I am venom, blood, and tears.
I can raise a fury higher than the worst of mortal fears
I am woman for the women and the children and the home
I will raise my cry in battle with an army – or alone!
When the Raven stands to battle, I will heed no pleading word
I will grant no foeman quarter; fallen men raise not the sword.
For I know no rules of warring; this is not some bloody game
This is kill, or die in trying, ‘cause your foe will do the same!
I will sing to bring the thunder crashing down from out the sky
And I’ll sing to light the souls of all the warriors soon to die
And I will sing in battle, bloody songs of power and pain
And I will sing tonight for War to never come again.
Every autumn, every spring
Her touch changes everything
She knows the way down, and the way back up
Come taste Her secret in this cup
This song is just…charming. I don’t have another word for it. I love Ben’s style, always unassuming but poignant.
I picked up some stones & then
I made myself a labyrinth
built the walls so high til I
could not see the stars
so tell your metamorphosis
that it is not invited here
those sounds you’re hearing now
are anything but minotaurs
“Refusal of the Call,” by Beth Kinderman, from her upcoming concept album The Hero’s Journey. The Bandcamp description includes this quote from Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces:
“Refusal of the summons converts the adventure into its negative. Walled in boredom, hard work, or ‘culture,’ the subject loses the power of significant affirmative action and becomes a victim to be saved. His flowering world becomes a wasteland of dry stones and his life feels meaningless—even though, like King Minos, he may through titanic effort succeed in building an empire of renown. Whatever house he builds, it will be a house of death: a labyrinth of cyclopean walls to hide from him his minotaur. All he can do is create new problems for himself and await the gradual approach of his disintegration.
Guileless son, I’ll shape your belief
And you’ll always know that your father’s a thief
And you won’t understand the cause of your grief
But you’ll always follow the voices beneath
“Mordred’s Lullaby” by Heather Dale, a wonderfully creepy song from the point of view of Morgana le Fay.
Lyrics (and annotations!) available on Genius.
The wreckage now has vanished
The waves cavort and roll
I’m riding on a coffin and conversing with my soul
I understand completely now what Ahab tried to do
And if I live to get to land I’ll try and do it too
“Ishmael’s Oath,” by Leslie Fish
I believe that justice is the same thing as the law
So I conform my opinion to whatever I’ve been told
I’ll admit that I just shrug, no I don’t dwell on it at all
When I hear how some unfortunate hound got thrown in with the wolves
‘Cause deep down I know that the innocent always go free
That there’s someone who’s watching the watchers — it doesn’t have to be me
It’s easy to trust that things are going as they should
As long as it’s no one I know getting nailed onto the wood.
A very politically relevant song from Heather Dale. Lyrics available here.
We are come to the labyrinth tonight,
walking one by one.
In the dark of Samhain, a riddle burning bright,
and candles waving down.
Missed Samhain by a couple days, but honestly when has that ever stopped anyone from doing anything. “Come To The Labyrinth,” by S.J. Tucker, lyrics and chords available here.
I am a daughter of the glade,
and I will make no man a wife!
By Hoof and Horn I came to be;
in Song and Storm I came to life!
Leave off thy chase! Thy prize is here!
and she will love you without fear!
“Daughter of the Glade,” by S.J. Tucker, a sequel to Heather Alexander’s “Creature of the Wood,” performed by Tricky Pixie (S.J. Tucker, Alexander James Adams, and Betsy Tinney)
I Am A Creature Of The Wood,
Forsaken In My Solitude
My Song Is Pleasure And Is Pain,
My Song Can Drive A Man Insane
So Come With Me, My Pipes I’ll Play,
And We Will Dance ‘Till Break Of Day
I Shall Be Thy Lover
“Creature of the Wood,” performed by Tricky Pixie (S.J. Tucker, Alexander James Adams, and Betsy Tinney), lyrics by Philip R. Obermarck and music by Heather Alexander
Lady MacBeth said to Helen of Troy
When they finished the wine they’d been drinking
“I’m all for regicide once in a while, but
Helen, dear, what were you thinking?”
“Archetype Cafe,” by Talis Kimberley, for all the reviled and diminished women of history and myth, with Tim Walker on drums and Simon Fairbourn on bassoon (and holy hell he is good). Lyrics available here.
Let me teach you to wonder and worry.
Permit me to tell you how to wage war.
A creature’s reach should exceed its grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?
Hey, remember when I posted this song under the wrong name for no good reason? That was a good time.
“Lucifer,” by Don Simpson, sung by Leslie Fish.