Monday, February 25, 2008

The Green Leaves of Summer

“Is That All There Is” is one interpretation of Ecclesiastes (“This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot,” 5:18).

“The Green Leaves of Summer” is another Ecclesiastes song from the sixties, and I like it better even if (or perhaps because) it’s schmaltzy. You can see a rough but poignant performance by the elderly Brothers Four singing at the Kingston Trio’s 45th anniversary celebration here on YouTube.

In “Is That All There Is,” a young person looks ahead to death, anticipating disappointment. In “The Green Leaves of Summer,” an old person looks back at life, with gratitude, as “the green leaves of summer are calling me home.” My favorite lines:

A time to be plowin', a time to be plantin',
A time to be courtin' a girl of your own--
T'was so good to be young then, to be close to the earth,
And to stand by your wife, at the moment of birth . . .

2 comments:

Ancient Future Evangelical said...

That has got to be the roughest rendition of "Green Leaves of Summer" ever committed by a professional group!

LaVonne Neff said...

Yes, but sweet. The green leaves are definitely calling those old boys home! You can hear the original Brothers Four performance at www.rhapsody.com .