Ode to a Raven


Inspiration for this song came from a local newspaper story I discovered whilst doing my research. The original account was referred to as The Brad Stones and told of two young brothers who had gone out one Monday morning to search for some missing sheep. The snow began to fall quite heavily and when they failed to return, the village helped the parents search for the boys. Unfortunately, they found them too late. When the snow had come in too thick they had tried to seek shelter under one of the many dense gorse bushes found on the moor. But the youngest perished in the cold weather and the older brother died upon his return to the village.

At the same time as discovering this account, I was also researching the folklore surrounding indigenous animals/creatures found living on the moor. My research produced information regarding the Raven. This bird was believed to be an omen of good and bad, as well as the reincarnation of King Arthur. Legend has it that He turned into a Raven when he died. If a Raven was seen circling in the sky, then people said this meant imminent death or the beginning of sickness, especially if they were seen encircling the chimney of a house. The tale also told that if a Raven flew low to the ground, then it meant bad weather was on its way. However, legend also had it that if you saw a Raven fly into the sun it meant the beginning of a hot spell. Folk also heeded the warning to leave the Raven’s eggs well alone, because if you stole any one of her eggs, she would exact revenge and take a human child/baby in return.

I also researched the humble bat, learning that its Devon term was ‘Flittermouse’. They were also supposed to predict bad weather if they flew low too.

I decided to link the two rural folklore legends together and hence I came up with these lyrics of one mother talking to another. The story is told from the standpoint of the mother of the two boys. She is searching for reasons and answers after their death and so addresses the mother Raven, the one she might have seen as the probable culprit at that time. She begins to tell the story and ends it begging the mother Raven for help. Although she has support from her friends and her husband, no amount of kindness seems to lessen the pain of losing her only children. Her heart has found itself in a desperate place and she pleads for the mother Raven to take her life, her only hope to end the pain.

Song written and composed by Anna Lilley

Guitar performed by Anna Lilley

Lead Guitar composed and performed by Kayode Farley

Vocals and harmonies performed by Anna Lilley and Kayode Farley

Recorded at April Media Productions, Stoke, Plymouth

Proprietor and Sound Engineer – John Carter