Wise and Holy Woman

Christy Moore\Wally Page

I met a wise and holy woman near the town where I was walkin’
We both sat together down below the Yellow Furze
She closed her eyes and started singing
A song about the light that shines and the wonders of the world
She sang of the forests on the high high mountain
The pure clear water and the fresh air we breathe
Of the bounty we gain from natures abundance
And how the mighty oak tree grows from a little seed

She had an everlasting notion
The wise and holy woman had a neverending dream
As she called out to the stars glistening on the ocean
Shine a light , shine a light on me

She sang a song from the streets of Sao Paolo
For the homeless street children who never learned to smile
She sang of the shrine they built to Chico Mendez
Where the plantation workers laid his body in the soil
She sang of the greed we display before our altars
The oil soaked cormorant drowning in the tide
She sang of the halting site way out beyond Clondalkin
Where Ann Maughan froze to death between the dump and the railway line


(outro verse same shape and melody as chorus)
She sang of the eagle flying high above the mountain
The otter that swam through rivers and streams
Of the lilies that bloomed and the countless wild flowers
and the rainbow that rose in the valley of tears.

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My mother’s name was Nancy Power. She grew up in Ardmulchan, near Yellow Furze, which is on the southern bank of the Boyne on the low road from Navan to Beauparc (Where Mountcharles surveyed the battlefield). Her father was Jack Power from Hayestown, her mother Ellie Sheeran from The Cotton Mills. Nancy sang all her life. Old songs at first, then Hymns,light Opera, musicals, parlour songs, popular songs and traditional ballads in English and Irish. When she sang in the church on Sundays she had an enormous and beautiful deep soprano voice which emerged miraculously from deep within her diaphram. When she sang parlour and pop songs at the piano her Meath accent would peep out, when she sang the old songs, Eamon an Cnoic, Sean O’Duibhir an Gleanna or The Three Flowers it would be in a small quiet lonesome voice that often stilled my night. Writing these few words here in Belfast this morning, my tears are tears of joy for her memory and sadness for her passing. I feel no mourning for she remains a constant presence in my life and we all still cherish her. I wrote this song for Nancy Power.





Dm C DmC G Am




Dm C Dm C G Am

chorus ( and outro verse)