Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Lumberjack Moments

I posted the Monty Python Lumberjack Song because I have a profound empathy with the Mounties of the chorus. Notice how they confidently enter into the cheerful spirit of the thing at the outset. They go along with the trivialities of the opening verse and are well into the second verse before it begins to dawn upon them that all is not quite as it should be. Nevertheless the rhythm continues apace and they are back into the innocuous refrain "He's a lumberjack and he's OK...." In the last verse, however, it is soon apparent that he is very definitely not OK and the chorus mutinies. That is the both the origin and the type of what I call a "lumberjack moment". It is that moment when all of a sudden it is clear that what is expected of one is actually rather silly- or worse.

I recall a particular "lumberjack moment" sometime in the late 1980s. I was at mass and we were singing a hymn, one I happen to like, "This is the image of our queen". I glanced at the words of text we were approaching, "In this thy own sweet month of May," and froze with embarrassment. Pray why? You will doubtless ask.



From that day to this I have scrutinised the texts of hymns with great care.

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