Applique altar frontal showing a stylized Mary cradling her new baby.

The Midwife’s Carol

1.The birth itself was not too hard
good presentation, fine strong mum
but my dear it was a circus
I thought that half the town had come
Wash him clean, wipe him dry,
Hush you, shush you rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye.

2. There were these shepherds who burst in
my dear they said a talking light
told them to come and pay respects–
kneeling, they were, to that wee mite
Wash him clean, wipe him dry,
Hush you, shush you rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye.

3. He’s breathing well, the cord’s tied off,
her afterbirth’s come free, my dear
when three fine scholar blokes squeeze in
saying a star had brought them here
Wash him clean, wipe him dry,
Hush you, shush you rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye.

4. You selling tickets then? I said
buzz off you lot and let her rest
and they did, too, leaving presents
rich stuff my dear, the very best
Wash him clean, wipe him dry,
Hush you, shush you rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye.

5. All that public to and fro-ing
she watches as it comes and goes
with him tucked, dear, in a manger
pulled from under the donkey’s nose.
Wash him clean, wipe him dry,
Hush you, shush you rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye.

6. Winter solstice ‘twas my dear
shivery damp and animal stink
worship, palaver, gifts and all
what was going on do you think?
Wash him clean, wipe him dry,
Hush you, shush you rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye.

music: Becca Whitla
words: Ian Sowton, November 1994


Here’s a recording Keith Nunn and Becca Whitla made in December 2020

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