Sunday, December 28, 2008

Van alles wa nog nie te laat is, misschien...

My short Christmas trip to Brabant (via Oud-Beijerland) was full of beautiful presents, and I thought starting with them would be a proper way to commemorate the feestdagen. One of the most impressive things about going to Brabant for Christmas is the opening up of a new, different world to me. I am grateful to Eric and the bigger family that allowed that to happen. I sometimes feel I hardly have the right to be in this delicate world of wonders in which they so comfortably move in, owning it, appropriating it, without even realising how chuck full of things-long-gone-by it is... Neither do they realise the power, importance, and beauty of what they have. I feel it is better that way; one cannot protect certain things, but can only keep them, love them, and have them as a part of one's life...

One of those presents was folk music in Brabants, Gerard van Maasakkers in particular. Even I heard of Hee goade mee before, but I didn't expect to come across anything more familiar than that. Well, I was wrong. Although my fave song in the 3 Lp's compilation is still Marieken, I found out about this other song, Bloemen zijn rood, which in fact is a translation of an earlier folk song by Harry Chapin, titled Flowers are green.

The idea for this song came to Chapin when his secretary told him about her son who brought his report card home from school one day. The teacher had written a note in the card saying: "Your son is marching to the beat of a different drummer, but don't worry we will soon have him joining the parade by the end of the term."
The story in the song makes me think of a favourite quote by Henry David Thoreau

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

The lyrics are below, but here is a video that also tells the story (and a link to a nice cover from another band):

video

Flowers are Red
by Harry Chapin

The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said.. What you doin' young man
I'm paintin' flowers he said
She said... It's not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There's a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You've got to show concern for everyone else
For you're not the only one

And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

Well the teacher said.. You're sassy
There's ways that things should be
And you'll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me.....

And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

The teacher put him in a corner
She said.. It's for your own good..
And you won't come out 'til you get it right
And are responding like you should
Well finally he got lonely
Frightened thoughts filled his head
And he went up to the teacher
And this is what he said.. and he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

Time went by like it always does
And they moved to another town
And the little boy went to another school
And this is what he found
The teacher there was smilin'
She said...Painting should be fun
And there are so many colors in a flower
So let's use every one

But that little boy painted flowers
In neat rows of green and red
And when the teacher asked him why
This is what he said.. and he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.

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