Iona Wyn Hall


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Joy Of Living - Ewan MacColl

Duration: 00:04:48
This is one of MacColl's last songs and his farewell to the world. In it, a dying hiker says goodbye to all he holds dear: the hills, his wife and his childr...

Ceri Shaw
12/18/11 06:59:13PM @ceri-shaw:

Ahhh...the highlands. I was fortunate enough to spend a few vacations hill-walking up there before I migrated. Trying to identify some of the Munro's in the slideshow. Gwych

Iona Wyn Hall
12/18/11 05:42:32PM @iona-wyn-hall:

The Joy of Living by Ewan MacColl (Kirsty MacColl's father)

Farewell you northern hills, you mountains all goodbye
Moorland and stony ridges, crags and peaks goodbye
Glyder Fach farewell, Cul Beag, Scafell, cloud-bearing Suilven
Sun warmed rock and the cold of Bleaklow's frozen sea
The snow and the wind and the rain of hills and mountains
Days in the sun and the tempered wind and the air like wine
And you drink and you drink till you're drunk
On the joy of living

Farewell to you my love, my time is almost done
Lie in my arms once more until the darkness comes
You filled all my days, held the night at bay, dearest companion
Years pass by and they're gone with the speed of birds in flight
Our life like the verse of a song heard in the mountains
Give me your hand then love and join your voice with mine
We'll sing of the hurt and pain
And the joy of living

Farewell to you my chicks, soon you must fly alone
Flesh of my flesh, my future life, bone of my bone
May your wings be strong, may your days be long, safe be your journey
Each of you bears inside of you the gift of love
May it bring you light and warmth and the pleasure of giving
Eagerly savour each new day and the taste of its mouth
Never lose sight of the thrill
And the joy of living

Take me to some high place of heather, rock and ling
Scatter my dust and ashes, feed me to the wind
So that I will be part of all you see, the air you are breathing
I'll be part of the curlew's cry and the soaring hawk
The blue milkwort and the sundew hung with diamonds
I'll be riding the gentle wind that blows through your hair
Reminding you how we shared
In the joy of living

Mountain references: Glyder Fach is in Snowdonia, North Wales; Cul Beag and Suilven are in Wester Ross in Scotland; Scafell in the English Lake District; Bleaklow in the Derbyshire Peak District (near Kinder).

Ling is a variety of heather, milkwort and sundew also grow on such mountainous areas.

MacColl said about the song in a book of poetry (1989): The last time I climbed Suilven, or to be more precise, failed to climb it, was in my seventy-second year. I was with my wife and fourteen-year-old daughter Kitty. "You go ahead," I told them, "I'll meet you at the top." But 'the flesh is bruckle, the fiend is slee', and I hadn't gone more than half the distance when my legs refused to carry me further. My body had given me plenty of warnings over the last seven or eight years but this was the final notice. My mountain days were over. I sat down on a rock feeling utterly desolate. The feeling lasted for several days and then my grief and feeling of loss gave way to nostalgia and I wrote The Joy of Living. In an odd kind of way it helped me to come to terms with my old age. (Ewan MacColl in Bell, Poetry 104)