Archive for August 22nd, 2008

Poetry Friday: The Water Is Wide

August 22, 2008 @ 6:58 am | Filed under: ,

Another old Scots ballad I’ve been humming almost incessantly lately.

The water is wide,
I canna cross o’er.
Neither have I wings to fly.
Give me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row,
my love and I.

A ship there is,
And she sails the sea.
She’s loaded deep as deep can be.
But not so deep
As the love I’m in…
I know not if I sink or swim.

I love these old songs so very much. This one goes way, way back, and has many variations, some Scottish, some English. The most common version, the one I’ve quoted above, goes on to tell a very sad tale of love lost, betrayal, faithlessness. But I like the song best just like this: these two simple verses, which by themselves seem to me to speak to a true love, a real love, the kind between two people who, pulling together, can navigate stormy waters no matter how burdened the boat.

If you’d like to listen to the melody—perhaps even more beautiful than the lyrics—here’s a lovely version by Jewel, Sarah MacLachlan, and The Indigo Girls. (YouTube clip.)

Or here’s James Taylor.

The singer in this YouTube clip sounds like Charlotte Church to me, though she isn’t credited. The visuals are scenery.

This week’s Poetry Friday round-up can be found at Read. Imagine. Talk.