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White eggs in the bush

by Judith Weir From The Voice of Desire (2003)

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White eggs in the bush
English source: Traditional

The blue cuckoo
lays white eggs in the bush.
When war captures the town
the blue cuckoo cries:
“Kill twenty, kill twenty!”
The red-bellied coucal cries:
“Kill thirty, kill thirty!”
Then death will not fail to come,
then death will not fail to come.
When men begin war,
the blue cuckoo cries:
“Fools, fools!”
The red-bellied coucal cries:
“The world is spoiled,
the world is spoiled!”
Then death cannot fail to come,
then death cannot fail to come.

from _Blue Cuckoo - Hunter Poems of the Yoruba_,
trans. by Ulli Beier


Judith Weir

Judith Weir was born into a Scottish family in 1954, but grew up near London. She was an oboe player, performing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and studied composition with John Tavener during her schooldays. She went on to…




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