On All-Hallows Even

A Hallowe’en ritual

For Rahel, who heard me first sing this song on October 30, 1998

(A recording of the song will be uploaded soon.)

Go to Robert Burns’ Hallowe’en poem

On All Hallows Even I lay down and wept
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
For the loom of life, the warp and the weft.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

It’s not for the old whose time has come
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
But the young untimely laid in the tomb.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

It’s not for the sick who are given release
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
But the whole cut down by their decease.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

The grave is a warm and welcoming place
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
And all my old comrades I’ll there embrace.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

I saw my old comrades the other night
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
They were standing in glory, surrounded by light.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

Don’t burn my body, but let it lie
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
Where I can hear the cock’s Resurrection cry.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

Go dig my grave with a silver spade
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
Lower me down with a golden chain.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

Old comrades and friends, don’t weep or mourn
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
The old world is dying, so help it on.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

I want to go gentle into that goodnight
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
I want to go singing into the light.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

I want to go singing into the night
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
But I fear I won’t go without a fight.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

The Angel of God has ebony wings
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
And sweet is the chorus the angel choir sings.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

The river of death is deep and wide
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
Please ferry me over to the other side.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

The pain of our going is sharp as a knife
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
In the midst of our dying we’ve Eternal Life.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

On All Hallows Even I lay down and slept
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
At sunrise and dawning my mourning heart leapt.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

Lie still and lie peaceful, all my old loves
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
For the eagle is flying, surrounded by doves
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

Don’t worry your head about which way you’ll go
– Death, old friend, I’ll be seeing you soon;
Your account has been settled, the debt paid in full.
– And he gathers us in by a sickle moon.

 

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