GOD SPEED (The Snow Goose)


This song will mean little to those who have never read The Snow Goose. Originally published in 1940 as a newspaper short story, and then as a book in 1946, this is the work of the American writer Paul Gallico (1897-1976). It hinges on the relationship between a solitary artist and a young girl who seeks his help in caring for an injured bird. Gallico used a true story from a previous book about a couple who had tended and tamed a wounded snow goose on the Essex Marshes.

Philip, the painter, is based on Gallico's firend, the artist Peter Scott, son of Captain Robert Falcon Scott (of the Antarctic), who, like Philip, lived in a light house - but at Sutton Bridge on the Wash. Peter's mother, the sculpor Kathleen Bruce, made a bust of John Montagu which stands in the hallway at Beaulieu.


Silver white

a symphony of water, wind and light

where a saltmarsh meets the sea


Grey and green

And the painter's eye sees every hue between

and every brushstroke's reeds or rain

to ease his pain

Now it's my time,

My turn to hold you

My time,

My turn to set you free



Black and white

the mighty wings that never tired in flight

that crossed an ocean in one bound

brought to ground

Pearl and gold

with violet eyes to fire a heart grown cold

brings her burden to be healed

to be revealed


Black and red

the port aflame, so many good men dead

with peppered sail and angel's wings

salvation brings


Crimson blue

a saltmarsh sunset - gulls fly through

the snow goose has no tale to tell

just farewell