Palm of My Hand

Music and Lyrics by Sarah Jane Scouten

Magpie Waltz 2011

 

If I had a pretty penny, if I had jingling bells all around my waist

If every ring on my finger were made of gold and silver

There'd be a magpie eating from the palm of my hand

There'd be a magpie eating from the palm of my hand

 

And if I had my old true lover by the hand up a mountain looking over the sea

Pulled a flask from my pocket and poured it down his gullet

There'd be a whisky-jack* eating from the palm of my hand

There'd be a whisky-jack eating from the palm of my hand

 

If I had a tiny baby just as soft as a peach as it slept at my breast

If I gave it all my love expecting back nothing

There'd be mother goose eating from the palm of my hand

There'd be mother goose eating from the palm of my hand

 

If I bat my long dark lashes, put on a blue cotton dress and kick up my heels

Picked up my lonely heart and bring it thumping from the ashes

There'd be a turtle dove eating from the palm of my hand

There'd be a turtle dove eating from the palm of my hand

 

(Whoa...)

 

If my name were Dylan Thomas**, if my heart were in heaven when I'm under milkwood

If I said Croeso y Cymru, do you take sugar in your tea, yeah

There'd be a red kite eating from the palm of my hand

There'd be a red kite eating from the palm of my hand

 

And if I walked my way to Canada over an ice bridge stretching from Mongolia

If I went'quiet through the trees with only leather on my feet

There'd be a raven soaring up above my head

There'd be a raven soaring up above my head

 

(Whoa...)

 

* a whisky-jack is a little brown bird that lives in the mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore

 

** In 2007 I spent a year in Wales, studying philosophy and creative writing at Cardiff University. The town of Laugharne in Carmarthenshire, is a couple of hours away by train and is where the poet Dylan Thomas spent the last 15 years of his life. The town is situated in a bay, beneath a wood on the hill, called Milkwood. Under Milkwood, Thomas’ last work, is thought to be based on small-town life in Laugharne. Croeso y cymru (pronounced croy-so ee gumree) means “Welcome to Wales” and is sadly about the extent of my knowledge of the Welsh language, besides a few words and terms of endearment. A red kite is a bird of prey found in Wales, and is referred to in Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales:

 

“Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales and birds the colour of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills."”

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