Birdsong Carol: From A Singing Faith. A note on the birds and trees. Rata  a species of metrosideros that bears a mass of brilliant scarlet flowers in summer time; of the same family as the pohutukawa. the NZ Christmas tree;  tui – a songbird with dark, iridescent feathers, nicknamed the ‘parson-bird’ because of the tuft of white feathers at the throat; morepork (ruru) – the NZ owl named for the sound of its cry; kea – a large, beautiful and mischievous parrot from the snowline in the Southern Alps.
This carol is appropriate for bell-ringers  and is dedicated to our friends David and Pam McAdam who with their four children have been ringing the cathedral bells  for fifty years.   

The suggested tune is Culbach, J.Scheffler (A&MR 73)

Please press the red title to hear a MIDI recording of this tune, and then re-open this window to read the poem while listening.

If you would prefer to follow the tune and text on paper you may download a PDF file of this hymn.

For permission to perform or reproduce this poem, or for enquiries regarding the purchase of 'Hymns For All Seasons', please contact Jocelyn.


Birdsong Carol

Ringers up the bell-tower climb,
sound a merry Christmas peal.
Tell the world that Christ is born,
sins to pardon, hurts to heal.

Bell bird on the highest branch
of the crimson rata tree,
chime the news throughout the bush:
Christ has come to set us free.

Tui like a priest arrayed,
throat adorned with feathers white,
on the kowhai perch and sing:
Christ brings daylight after night.

Morepork chants Noël, Noël,
watching as the shadows fade,
telling with a solemn voice
Christ is in a manger laid.

Kea from the mountain heights,
feathers glowing green and red,
swoops and calls with cheerful cry:
Christ is born as prophets said.

People, all your voices raise
on this joyful summer day;
God in Christ is born once more,
carols sing and music play.

Copyright © Jocelyn Marshall, 2008