Saturday, July 2, 2016

My Paddle's Keen and Bright

written by Margaret Embers McGee (1918)

a song that is used to keep time paddling

I was thinking about David being out in his kayak, and an old song popped into my head.

I thought it was called "Land of the Silver Birch" but on an internet search, I discovered the words I was looking for are in another song: "My Paddle's Keen and Bright".

The u-tube I have pointed to above is a little more syncopated than the version I know.  But I still like it.  Try listening to it over breakfast.


And when Aunt Wyona is in the room, we will sing it as a 4-piece round.

I think I will teach it to Michael for I am keen on teaching him a new song every time he and I are together and we have some spare time.  This song would be a good one to sing when he finally gets a chance to ride in your canoe, David.  The song is used to keep paddlers in time with each other, which you have already discovered, I am sure, can be a problem.

I was working on teaching Michael the song,  "Mirzy doats" / "Mare's Eat Oats" yesterday.  He wanted to switch the chatter between us, for we were walking home from the LRT and so he did, "Step on a crack, you break your mother's back", instead.

Not a song really, but a fun childhood chant.  He can make his feet skip along the sidewalk and not hit any of the cracks.  

I want him to be able to hum "dip, dip and swing", when he gets a paddle in his hands.



  1. Mares eat oats, and Does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy, a kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?

    I don't know how old I was before I really knew what I was singing here. I may have been in my 20s.

  2. Hello,

    You made me laugh, saying you were in your 20's by the time you knew what that song meant.

    Yesterday at supper the phrase came up "As I was going to St. Ives ..."

    I don't think Michael gets the concept yet, of the question asking "How many were going to St. Ives". So we practised it with Michael going around the side of the house and then coming toward me. We shook hands and established who was going to St. Ives, and who was coming from St. Ives. "Hello, and how do uou do. I am going to St. Ives", etc.

    But I don't think there was a connection between that and the nursery rhyme.

    He can ask "kits, cats, sacks and wives, how many were going to St. Ives", but the answer isn't apparent yet.