Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Reruns: I See The Moon

This summer, I plan to spend a bit more time offline, so I'll be posting a few summer blog reruns. This post about one of my favorite lullabies continues to get the most hits out of any music-related post I've written over the years (with the exception of one other popular song, which I'll put up sometime later this summer)...

Lullaby: I See The Moon, originally posted March 7, 2007

Photo by Jamelah.
On Monday night, driving home from the studio, the skies were completely clear, and there was the most beautiful, just-past-full moon. It got me humming one of my favorite lullabies, "I See the Moon."

This old song has gone through many variations, and transformations (including the well-known rhyme I see the moon and the moon sees me/God bless the moon and God bless me) but according to Mudcat, one of my favorite sources of information about traditional music, the closest to "original" goes like this:
I see the moon and the moon sees me
Down through the leaves of the old oak tree
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love
I love this song, not only because of the melody (which is on one hand very pretty and sing-songy, and on the other hand, very melancholy), but also because of these lyrics. They're so simple and true. When we're far away from someone we love, we try to look for the little things that connect us. It's somehow comforting to remember that the same moon that's shining on me as I go to sleep will be shining on you when you go to sleep, even if you are hundreds of miles away.

Kids, especially, get this. I've used this song in some of my workshops for kids, and they immediately have a list of distant friends and relatives they want to sing this song to. It's relevant to their lives.

And that, of course, is the coolest thing about a song like this. It was written in a completely different century, and it is still immediate and relevant to our lives.

You can listen to or download a free mp3 of my version of "I See the Moon", and read the full lyrics in the Listening Room at

You can also click here to listen to the Stargazers hit musi-comedy version from the 1950's. This is the first version I ever heard of "I See the Moon," and it is certainly an experience. I came across this impassioned post from the blog Popular on where Tom Ewing reviews every #1 single ever to hit the UK pop charts (he's currently up to 1972). His word for the Stargazers version: excruciating. Well, let's see what you think...


Julie said...

I just ran across your blog and had to leave a comment after this post. My daughters love this lullaby, it's one we sing together on the nights the moon shines through their bedroom window. I first heard it on a recording of children's songs by Joan Baez that I received after my oldest son's birth 15 years ago.

Brings back so many memories of bedtime and little voices and sweet goodnight kisses!

Thanks for your blog - love the poetry and music,

Josephine Cameron said...

Thanks for stopping by, Julie. Isn't it such a beautiful song? I'm glad it brought back great memories!