The Rose of Autumn

Traveling through the Northshield, I came across a Shire,
Small but great in heart, its people full of fire.
I listened close, I heard the people sing:

The rose of autumn, the rook of spring,
The snowy cliffsides, the summer fields,
All, all are what our Rokeclif yields.

I've seen the Northshield's bounty, I've heard its stories told,
I've sung its songs of glory, I've felt its biting cold.
But I've not seen so warm a gathering...


The lonely road is prison; I needed a new home,
And Rokeclif beckoned, trav'ler, no more need you roam.
I dropped my pack, I ceased my wandering...

The rose of autumn, the rook of spring,
The snowy cliffsides, the summer fields,
The glow that fellowship does bring,
The pride and pow'r our people wield:
All, all are what our Rokeclif yields.

Written for the Bard of Rokeclif contest, Autumn Rose 2000, Sept. 2, A.S. XXXV.
Music/lyrics 5/29/00 J. Friedman

I didn't think too much of this song when I wrote it, but certain people seemed to like it immediately, so I sang it at several events in succession after Autumn Rose. Personally I don't think the varying of the styles within the piece--verse to chorus and then back--is very period. Plus I'm not proud of having borrowed the tune for the verses from "Masters in this Hall", which, yes, I've sung (Madrigal Singers at Lawrence) and not just danced. Hey, that's how the tune came to me, and I didn't question it.

But the sentiment was heartfelt: my new Shire (well, it was newer then, but it's still only been a year and a half as I write this) is a place with so many possibilities, with gorgeous scenery and people with generous hearts. Although I never truly wandered (announced I was quitting my job in December, learned about the job in La Crosse shortly after, finished work in early February, interviewed soon after in La Crosse, was offered the job in April, moved end of April and began May 1), I did feel pleased to have landed where I did, and still do.

I still don't think I've seen a rook here, despite the fact that since they razed the pine forest outside my front window, I can now see the eastern bluffs in the distance. No matter. Etymologically, there MUST be rooks in the cliffs of Rokeclif. I simply haven't seen any of them yet.

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Last modified: 10/15/01