Brown Leaves

Words by Opal Whiteley; Music by Michael Smith
© 1993 Raven Heart Music / Bird Avenue Music / ASCAP

From Anne’s album Angle of the Light

During an acting stint in two different productions of the Quilters, the director Kyle Donnely introduced me to the writings of Opal Whiteley. First published to critical acclaim in 1920, these words come from that diary which she wrote at the ages of 6 and 7 … writing phonetically in capital letters with no punctuation! (Benjamin Hoff, of The Tao of Pooh fame, wrote a wonderful biography which includes the diary for Warner Books.) I asked Michael to put some of these writings to song for me, and he did his usual beautiful job.

Now are come the days of brown leaves
They fall from the trees, they flutter on the ground,
When the brown leaves flutter they are saying little things.
They talk with the wind.
I hear them tell of their borning days when they did come into the world as leaves.
And they whisper of the hoods they wore then. I saw them.
I used to count them on my way to school.
Today they were talking of the time before their borning days of this springtime.
They talked on and on and I did listen on to
What they were telling the wind and the earth in their whisperings.
They told how they were apart of earth and air before their tree-borning days.
And now they are going back.
In gray days of winter they go back to the earth again.
But they do not die.
And in the morning of today
It was that I did listen to these talking of the brown leaves.