Angus MacPhail: song will boost charity fund

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I write this article on a fresh May Day morning and it combines the themes of this day and those of two other recent columns – one on the changing of the seasons from March 29 and the other about the charity fundraising for a permanent memorial to Eilidh MacLeod, published on April 19.

May Day was traditionally a day of celebration in many countries throughout the world and in Gaelic society it was known as Là Bealtainn.

Although in modern times the month of May is counted as a spring month, in the past, the first day of May marked the beginning of summer.

Many rituals were carried out to mark this celebration of the changing seasons.

The protection of cattle, crops and people were the most important themes, as well as encouraging growth, fertility and healing. Among the many traditions of this festive time, a common custom was to visit wishing wells or clootie wells in the hope that the water would bring good fortune and healing.

The following are the updated lyrics to our song Wishing Well. I wrote the original version in the winter time with the healing of Christmas in mind, but having been in contact with Eilidh’s family, I have added a verse and made some minor changes to give it a year-round theme.

We’ll be re-releasing the song in a few weeks to help add to the fundraising and will perform the new version for the first time at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh on the Friday May 18.

Wishing Well

(Angus MacPhail)

When the white cold of winter will cover the morn

May your sorrows be healed and your love be reborn

And the warmth of memories long in the glow

Be real as you walk on the snow.

When the flowers of spring grow anew by the burn

And the colours of bloom on the machairs return.

May the pipes that fell silent sound over the bay.

On the wind and the echo they play.

Chorus

Let us join by the glow where the clear waters flow

From the wishing well high on the hill.

Forever we’ll feel, but the waters will heal

From the wishing well high on the hill.

Live the unbridled magic of life long ago

When our hearts were as whole as we felt them before

Before the blind reapers brought dark to the day

And our dreams of the dawn washed away.

Your steps are in time and your tune holds the key

And your smile on the wave will forever be free

Eternal the flame, you will always return

And will dance in the land of the young.

The Star of the Sea in clear island skies

Gives the guidance of old and the light never dies.

Your spirit was strong, now silent your song

But your soul with the Polestar shines on.