FROM PERSONAL TRAUMA TO PUBLIC DRAMA [video below]
It took a house fire, a dose of cenotaph memorial on ANZAC Day, and a dash of war history TV programming to bring me to the point of inspiration for this project. I’m still marvelling at what has come of it.
Within two days of being invited to take part in the World War I commemorative concert, I’d written “Women of Courage”, a playlet built around the hymn “Abide with Me”, and a week later, new lyrics for another old and very famous song which I used to open the scene.
DID YOU GUESS?
What iconic New Zealand song was first sung in 1914? I asked this in the last Songuine post. Did you figure it out?
Think Maori love song.
Think Hayley Westenra and Russell Watson at the 2009 World Games opening ceremony in Taiwan. http://youtu.be/4JquxqloDHQ
Think Maisey Rika and the St Joseph’s Girls Choir. http://youtu.be/ITee3lUKYmc
Think Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in “Kiri’s Homecoming”. http://youtu.be/lxvV-yu67cE
You know it, don't you? The mesmerizingly beautiful melody of “Pokarekare Ana” has captivated audiences around the world, and now there are new English lyrics, faithful to the original themes of love and longing, fear and loss, pertinent then in 1914 and to us now in 2014.
Here it is.
MY BELOVED, HE HAS GONE AWAY (tune of “Pokarekare Ana”)
All rights reserved to Narelle Worboys, copyright ©2014
My beloved, he has gone away,
Gone to fight a freedom war,
Enduring dangers night and day.
I fear he may return no more.
Evil tears the world apart.
Is there courage in my heart
To march on ‘til victory?
Bring him safe to me.
I want him here
Holding me near.
I love him, I love him so.
Help me let him go.
I regret that I'm unable to offer you better audio-visual quality, but here's a recording of the actual performance at the Town Hall, reportedly moving many people to tears (including me) and rated as the best piece of the night.
In whatever sphere or circumstance you are, "may God give you courage and strength to pursue truth and love and freedom. May He give you a daily portion to live every moment and fulfil every task with joy and grace, and faith to always carry on."*
*The Blessing from "Women of Courage".
Pokarekare Ana, New Zealand’s unofficial national anthem
'Pokarekare Ana' (Come Back to Me) is the beautiful love song of a homesick soldier serving in the Maori Battalion during World War I. Its heartfelt expression of longing for home and loved ones immediately touched his fellow countrymen, who adopted the haunting melody as their own. A century later, it is still a poignant musical touch-stone for any New Zealander, at home or abroad.