How Cranes Stay Awake

David Solomons has shared many of his songs with Mama Lisa’s World. He’s just posted a piece of music by the Italian composer Michele Pesenti, who lived during the Renaissance. The song involves a crane (bird).

David has asked me whether anyone can provide further background on the symbolism of cranes, particularly in Europe.

David told me an fascinating story about cranes, which may relate to the symbolism he’s interested in: Some mediaeval writers write about the behavior of cranes as they take turns watching over the flock while the others sleep. In order to keep vigil, the watcher crane puts a stone in its claw; this prevents it from nodding off, because, thanks to the stone, it cannot keep the perfect balance that it would require for sleep.

You can hear David’s performance and read what else he has found out so far here:

The original words of the song are…

Dal lecto me levava per servir il Signor
Alhor quando arrivava la grua suo servidor
Gru gru gu gentil ambasciador
Che disse non leve, torna a dormir.

Here’s an English Translation…

I was just arising from my bed to serve the Lord
When his servant the crane, his kindly ambassador,
arrived and told me “Don’t get up, go back to sleep.”

Listen to David sing the song!

David wrote…

Of course there is also the nagging suspicion that the writer of the song simply wants an excuse not to get up…

If anyone can help out please comment below.



This article was posted on Monday, June 26th, 2006 at 9:10 pm and is filed under Animal Songs, Countries & Cultures, Italy, Questions, Songs about Cranes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “How Cranes Stay Awake”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Monique just sent me these two links about cranes and their symbolism…

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