The Sally Gardens

I found myself today wandering down an empty corridor in a vast building with no one in it. For those who don’t know, my ‘real job’ is as a teacher. I have been in school at least one day every week since the lockdown began. The spaces that are usually so full were completely empty and have been for a while. It is a strange thing and it can’t be described – you have to feel it. Strangely, I found myself filling up the space with a song. I was literally walking around the corridors singing ‘The Sally Gardens’. And I found that I suddenly felt it keenly. I can’t think why it would have come into my head. Maybe I was just filling up the space with ego. The words don’t seem to me to fit the moment. Maybe it was the tune – perhaps something beyond the words – that fitted.

I have always preferred it unaccompanied and I like there to be plenty of space in between the lines. That ‘white space’ before the word ‘But’ always carries its resonance, I think. When you sing it to yourself you can ‘break’ the lines create the caesuraeĀ in the middle of lines. Always powerful.

2 thoughts on “The Sally Gardens

  1. Thanks for posting this, Andy. I think it’s one of the most beautiful poems/songs ever written and I can understand why it came to you at this sad time. It’s full of melancholy and regret – for all that has been lost. Whether we are mourning a past love or the loss of pre-Covid freedom or the silencing of children’s voices, the words fit. Who was the singer in the version you posted? She had a lovely voice.


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