Every Mommy Needs a UM

By on November 18, 2009

On this, my birthday week, I promised to post a short blog on strengthening our connection with the Ultimate Mom within us.

One of the many ways to do that is to clasp the hand of those who came before us, the wise women and men who have danced the human dance and left instructions to make the journeys of their descendants a little easier. (I talk about this at length in Celestial Gravity, one of the final chapters of The Fertile Female)

As we agreed on Monday, this entry is meant to serve as an invitation to reclaim the treasures of the tradition you were born into by sharing a lullaby. To do it as a promise to the child to come and a soothing of the Orphan within who might feel alone and abandoned.

To paraphrase the mystical poet Kabir, the Ultimate Mom (he calls her the Guest) is as close as your next breath, her shoulder is against yours. “The truth is you turned away yourself, and decided to go into the dark alone.”

The good news is that we can “turn back” anytime we wish.

To me, that’s what our not-yet-born-children are asking us to do: Be the link between those who came before us and those who will carry the treasures of our ancestral line into the next generation.

So, let the words and melodies of your lullabies roll in: (Thank you for your patience with regard to the imagery we worked on. For now please work with the exercise as you remember it from the circle. )


19 Responses to “Every Mommy Needs a UM”

  1. abbey says:

    These are the lyrics my mom sung to me and my sister and now our children
    (Insert childs name instead of baby}
    Go to sleep my baby
    Close your pretty eyes
    Soon you’ll be sleeping
    La la lullaby. :)

    I love singing this to my 3 week old at bedtime

  2. Cathryn says:

    Hi everyone –
    I’m getting to send this late, but I loved reading everyone’s contributions! I’m contributing an Italian love song and I chose this one because it was my parents’ favorite song – I grew up associating the song with their strong bond. I don’t have the full translation, but it is sung by a man who I think is dying, and as he looks back over his life (while looking at the sea in Sorrento), he realizes that everything is irrelevant compared to the love he has for this girl. The fact that he knows she feels strongly for him in return is enough to make him happy. You can find Pavarotti singing it on YouTube – it’s great!

    “Ti voglio bene assai”

    Qui dove il mare luccica,
    e tira forte il vento
    sulla vecchia terrazza
    davanti al golfo di Surriento
    un uomo abbraccia una ragazza
    dopo che aveva pianto
    poi si schiarisce la voce,
    e ricomincia il canto

    Ti voglio bene assai
    ma tanto tanto bene sai
    è una catena ormai
    che scioglie il sangue dint’e vene sai…

    Vide le luci in mezzo al mare,
    pensò alle notti là in America
    ma erano solo le lampare
    e la bianca scia di un’elica
    senti il dolore nella musica,
    e si alzò dal pianoforte
    ma quando vide la luna uscire
    da una nuvola,
    gli sembrò più dolce anche la morte
    guardò negli occhi la ragazza,
    quegli occhi verdi come il mare
    poi all’improvviso usci una lacrima
    e lui credette di affogare

    Ti voglio bene assai
    ma tanto tanto bene sai
    è una catena ormai
    che scioglie il sangue dint’e vene sai…

    Potenza della lirica,
    dove ogni dramma è un falso
    che con un po’ di trucco e con la
    puoi diventare un altro
    ma due occhi che ti guardano,
    così vicini e veri
    ti fan scordare le parole,
    confondono i pensieri
    così diventa tutto piccolo,
    anche le notti là in America
    ti volti e vedi la tua vita,
    come la bianca scia di un’elica
    ma sì, è la vita che finisce,
    ma lui non ci penso poi tanto
    anzi, si sentiva già felice,
    e ricominciò il suo canto

    Ti voglio bene assai
    ma tanto tanto bene sai
    è una catena ormai
    che scioglie il sangue dint’e vene sai…

    Ti voglio bene assai
    ma tanto tanto bene sai
    è una catena ormai
    che scioglie il sangue dint’e vene sai…

  3. Rina says:

    The first place I went to find a Filipino lullaby was my Mother. She didn’t have one for me at the ready so I was a bit disappointed that she did not immediately have one she use to sing to me when I was a child…this disappointment was an orphan showing herself of course. I went on line and found that there was a very popular lullaby called Sa Ugoy ng Duyan. I ran this by my mother and she said “oh yes, that one is very popular”…so I’m going with it.

    It’s more of a sad lullaby to me…still sweet..but very sad. Here it is.

    Sa Ugoy ng Duyan

    Sana’ y ‘di magmaliw ang dati kong araw
    Nang munti pang bata sa piling ni Nanay
    Nais kong maulit ang awit ni lnang mahal
    Awit ng pag-ibig habang oko’y nasa duyan
    Sa aking pagtulog na labis ang himbing
    Ang bantay ko’y tala, ang tanod ko’y bituin
    Sa Piling ni Nanay, langit ay buhay
    Puso kong may dusa sabik sa ugoy ng duyan
    Nais Kong Matalog sa dating duyanko Inay
    Oh, Inay!

    I wish the past is right before me.
    When I was a small child with my dearest Mother.
    I wish I could listen to my dear Mother’s lullaby
    Her eternal love song as I lay in my cradle.
    In the silence of my very deep sleep.
    Watching over me are the stars above.
    It feels like heaven in my Mother’s arms.
    Heart of mine that suffers yearns for that loving cradle.
    I wish I could sleep in my old cradle Mama.
    Oh Mama!

    Here is a link so you can hear it as well.

  4. Miriam Liebermann says:

    Hi Julia, mazal tov on your blog!!! Looking forward to exploring all your material. I love what you’re doing!! Awesome!! I still recall attending one of your groups here on the West Side years ago. Here’s a lovely, sweet lullaby that I learnt years ago and sang to my children.It has a very sweet melody line:
    lu lai lu my little one
    close your weary eyes
    slumber takes you little one
    to a land where fantasy flies…

    Very best to all!! Warmly, Miriam

  5. Laurel says:

    Hi Ladies,

    Here is a Polish lullaby!

    Polish Lullaby

    – Verse One –

    You’re my little baby
    You’re my little girl
    You’re my little lady
    The treasure of my world

    When you’re sad and tired
    And you begin to cry

    Daddy then will sing you
    This Polish lullaby

    – Refrain –

    Tra la li
    Don’t you cry
    Daddy sings a lullaby
    Tra la li
    Don’t you cry
    Polish Lullaby

    A la la
    Kotki dwa (kittens two)

    Szary bury oby dwa (drab dark grey both two)
    A la la
    Tatusiu (Daddy-O)
    Tru la lu la lu

    – Verse Two –

    When you’re grown and married
    With children all your own
    You will come and carry

    Your babies to our home

    When they’re sad and tired
    And they begin to cry
    Dziadek then will sing them
    His Polish lullaby


    – Verse Three –

    Someday you’ll grow older

    And I’ll have passed away
    But children keep on living
    They grow stronger every day

    When they’re sad and tired
    And I can’t be near by
    Just be sure to sing them
    My Polish lullaby

  6. jasmin sanders says:

    HI Fertile Heart sisters!
    I know this song that is very sweet to me and wanted to share it here. I loved the phone circle last week and look forward to more time together tonight. Josh and I are moving in some good directions together. I am so pleased that our sense of being a team is beginning to reawaken. We might move back to New Mexico soon and begin the journey toward adopting a child in Kazakhstan. We are both feeling drawn in this direction. We had always had the dream to have a child though a pregnancy and open our home to a child who needed a family. we came to new york to foster a child that needed an adoptive home…after one very moving and wonderful yet challenging experience of fostering a newborn who went back to his bio mom, we have not to go in this direction again at this moment. I am really using the tools to clarify what is the next step for me. I have gone off my thyroid medicine and will retest in a month. i have also gone off some other medicine and am more deeply following my inner sense of what i need right now. it is exciting and also bringing up tons of grief (orphans) to be supporting my visionary to lead the way more and more. i think that is enough for now. needing to get lots of my prerequisite nursing school homework done before the group tonight! Thank you all and thank you Julia for leading us…
    love jasmin
    …the Hebrew lullaby Numi Numi, Yaldati which, according to Edelman, was written by Joel Engel and YehielHeilperin in Palestine in the 1920’s (lyrics and audio). Numi’s main lyric goes like this
    Numi, numi yaldati,
    Numi, numi, nim.
    Numi, numi k’tanati,
    Numi, numi, nim.

    Aba halach la’avoda –
    Halach, halach Aba.
    Yashuv im tzeit halevana –
    Yavi lach matana!

    Sleep, sleep, my little girl.
    Sleep, sleep.
    Sleep, sleep, my little one,
    Sleep, sleep.

    Daddy’s gone to work –
    He went, Daddy went.
    He’ll return when the moon comes out –
    He’ll bring you a present!

    Sleep, sleep…

  7. Katherina says:

    Hello ladies,

    This was a fun exercise for me. I remember my Nana speaking and singing in Lithuanian. Although I never understood what she was saying, the research that I’ve done over the past week has brought back the sweet sound of her voice in my head. The Lithuanian culture is rich with folk songs. I was only able to find one lullaby with the English translation. It is very simple, but sweet. I’ve also included a link to another Lithuanian lullaby, for which I was not able to find a translation. Enjoy!

    Mociute mano

    Mociute mano,
    Sirdele mano,
    Vai noriu,
    Saldans m iegelio


    I comfort you my dear child.
    Soon you will be asleep,
    and nothing will disturb you.

    Link to above lullaby (Track #306):

    A link to two additional Lithuanian lullabies (Tracks #101 and 102):

  8. Christine says:

    Hi everyone, I asked my Mum for an English lullaby and she started singing some words, which I looked up and found. The link I found on the internet said something about Wyoming! so I’m hoping it is English, as that’s where my Mum was born (and myself) and she knew it from her childhood. There are a few other English lullabys I definitely know, but because it’s the one my mum said, I thought it was the right one. Anyhow, it’s short and sweet, but quite pretty.

    Go to sleep my baby,
    Close your pretty eyes.
    Angels up above you,
    Watching my sweetie from the sky.

    Great big moon is shining,
    Stars begin to peep.
    Time for sleepyheads like you
    To go to sleep.

  9. Karen says:

    And for us single gals, our assignment was to come back with a love song.
    I found one Albanian love song online, along with its American translation and its video on YouTube. Both were interesting: the song’s English lyrics and the sexy YouTube video.
    The Albanian music I have been exposed to over the years at weddings, etc. is very folksy and very fun to dance to, but NEVER sexy and romantic.
    So it was interesting to see this side of my culture on the video because I don’t see it in my ancestors at all…And the interesting thing about reading the lyrics was that they were very romantic, another trait I hardly ever saw in my ancestors, which was a huge turnoff for me in their marriages, I always thought they were so sexist, and thought the whole culture was sexist, so it was nice to see the romance in this song, although the singer is a woman, which is easier for me to see in this culture. It’s harder for men to admit they have a soft side, so I bet it’s harder to find a romantic song from an Albanian male, but I”m going to try because I think that will make be feel better, like it’s a sign of progress.

    Poni : Pritem O
    Oh wait for me

    Te prita sa hena shkoj
    i waited for you until the moon had left
    sa nata me turbulloj
    until the night drove me frantic
    vetem vesa kur pikoj
    only when the mist had drizzled
    syrin nga gjumi ma zgjoj
    exact translation: it awoke my eye from the sleep
    translation: i had awoken

    pritem o pritem o
    oh wait for me

    pritem ylle pritem hene
    wait for me star wait for me moon
    vetul shkruar
    drawn eyebrown
    gryke zene
    closed throat
    (the chorus is refering to a girl, when it says “star” and “moon” it is calling the girl their “star” and “moon” like comparing it to those. when it says drawn eyebrow its commenting how the girl is beautiful and gryke zene, i believe is a term meaning a girl whose quiet or modest

    pritem yll se kam shum malle
    wait for me star because i long for you
    me ke fut ne dhe te gjalle
    you have put me into the ground alive

    kur degjova ate kenge
    when i heard that song
    seq u qa sa rende rende
    it was sung so heavily
    po gjumi te kishte zene
    but you had fallen asleep
    nuk te fola mos te trembe
    i didn’t speak to you, so it wouldn’t startle you

    te mbulova lehte lehte
    i covered you lighty
    zura vend atije ne shtege
    i took a seat on the trail
    te me qash mua te zine
    so you would pity me
    se per ty prisha shtepine
    because i wrecked my household for you

  10. Vijaya says:

    I wanted to share an Indian Lullaby.

    Lulla Lulla Lori
    Dudh ki katori
    Dudh me batasha
    Munni kare Tamasha

    Choti Choti pyari pyari
    Sunder pariyon jaisi hai
    Kisi ki nazar na lage
    meri munni aisi hai

    Shahad se bhi mithi
    Dudh si phi gori

    Chupke chuke chori chori

    Sari raina ke mathe par
    Chamke chand ki bindiya
    Munni ke chote chote naino me khele nidiya

    Sapno ka palna
    Aashaon ki dori

    Chupke chupke chori chori

    LA LA LA LA Lullaby
    A dish of milk
    A sweet in the milk
    Baby in being silly

    Small and sweet
    Beautiful fairy like is my baby
    No one should cast an evil eye

    Sweeter than honey
    Fairer than milk
    Is my baby

    Sleep come slowly and quietly

    Whole night has a beautiful “bindi” in form of the moon.
    Sleep is playing in my baby’s small eyes
    A bed of dreams
    Attached is the string of hopes.

    Sleep come slowly and quietly

    Melodious version on You tube:

  11. Kerri Hoffmann says:

    Hi all,

    I promised a Ukranian lullaby. My grandmother on my father’s side was Ukranian.
    she is the only grandmother I knew and loved her dearly so this really thouches my heart!

    Ой ходить сон, коло вікон.
    А дрімота коло плота.
    Питається сон дрімоти:
    “Де ж ми будем ночувати?”
    Де хатонька теплесенька,
    Де дитина малесенька,
    Туди підем ночувати,
    І дитинку колисати.
    Там ми будем спочивати,
    І дитинку присипляти:
    Спати, спати, соколятко,
    Спати, спати, голуб’ятко.[1]

    Translated into English:

    The Dream passes by the window,
    And Sleep by the fence.
    The Dream asks Sleep:
    “Where should we rest tonight?”
    Where the house is warm,
    Where the child is small,
    There we will go,
    And Rock the child to sleep.
    There we will sleep,
    and will rock the child:
    Sleep, sleep, my little falcon,
    Sleep, sleep, my little dove.

    Her is the history. Very interesting. I would love to hear how it sounds. And I will have to look up Gershwin’s “Summertime” song.

    “Oy Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon” is a Ukrainian lullaby which provided the inspiration for the popular song “Summertime”. The title is usually translated into English as “The Dream Passes by the Windows”.
    The song is a traditional lullaby, composed of three verses in a minor tone. However, as it is a folk song, there are many popular versions of both the lyrics and the melody.
    The song became famous in the English world when it served as an inspiration for George Gershwin to create the aria “Summertime”. Gershwin wrote it after hearing “Oy Khodyt Son Kolo Vikon” at a 1926 concert of the Ukrainian National Chorus under Oleksander Koshetz, in New York City. “Summertime” is one of the most copied and recorded songs in history

  12. paola says:

    Hi All,

    I found a sweet Italian lullaby, “Dormi bambino”. Most of the lullabies I knew were either ironic or talking of hardship and pain, but then I found this one. I did not expect to have so much fun listening to these songs. I also post a link to a website where you can listen to the song too.

    Dormi bambino nel tuo lettino,
    vegliano gli angeli il tuo dormir.
    Dormi bambino nel tuo lettino ,
    vegliano gli angeli il tuo dormir.

    Fa sogni d’oro mentre la mamma
    la ninna nanna canta per te.
    Fa sogni d’oro mentre la mamma
    la ninna nanna canta per te.

    Dormi bambino nel tuo lettino,
    vegliano gli angeli il tuo dormir.
    Dormi bambino nel tuo lettino ,
    vegliano gli angeli il tuo dormir.

    Fa sogni d’oro mentre la mamma
    la ninna nanna canta per te.
    Fa sogni d’oro mentre la mamma
    la ninna nanna canta per te.


    Sleep, baby, in your little bed
    the angels watch over your sleep
    Sleep, baby, in your little bed
    the angels watch over your sleep

    Sweet dreams while mamma
    is singing a lullaby to you
    Sweet dreams while mamma
    is singing a lullaby to you


  13. Rose says:

    Thank you Julia for doing this! It was such fun to research these and it really took me back… This is a Greek folk lullaby. In my mind I can hear the grandmas and mamas singing it through the ages. It’s very beautiful and tender and has a touch of longing to it. Here are the words:

    Oh Slumber, who takes children
    Come take this one too.

    And take it for me to the garden,
    then bring it back to me.
    And take it for me to the garden,
    then bring it back to me.

    Sleep, Sleep,
    Sleep for my baby

    Come Slumber and take it from me
    And sweetly lull it to sleep.

    Here the lullaby is performed in one of the most famous ancient Greek amphitheaters that sits atop Athens:

  14. Sharmini says:

    Hi Ladies,

    I loved last weeks phone circle and with the work I have done over the past week I feel that connecting to my wisdom tradition is a really critical part of the journey that I have not really engaged with fully up until this point.
    The lullaby below is in Singhalese, the language spoken by a majority of Sri-Lankan’s. I grew up speaking English and Singhalese(mainly through my nanny). My ethnic breakdown is Colombo Tamil but I know so little about the language & customs of the tamil people. I am making a commitment to also learn a tamil lullaby and do some digging around and exploring to learn more about some of the customs and traditions..




    English Translation:
    Sleep Sleep Sleep
    Sleep Baby
    Bye Bye Bye
    Bye Baby

    Your mom
    Went to get milk from the milk river
    And the milk pot
    went down the river!

    Sleep Sleep Sleep
    Sleep Baby
    Bye Bye Bye
    Bye Baby

    Looking forward to connecting with everyone tomorrow,

  15. Gal says:

    Hi all,

    I have been as well spending time listening and reading lyrics of irish and celtic lullabies. I found a few and have decided on this one:

    “When Irish Eye’s are Smiling”

    There’s a tear in your eye
    And I’m wondering why
    For it never should be there at all

    With such pow’r in your smile
    Sure a stone you’d beguile
    So there’s never a teardrop should fall

    When your sweet lilting laughter’s
    Like some fairy song
    And your eyes twinkle
    Bright as can be
    You should laugh all the while
    And all other times smile
    And now smile a smile for me

    When Irish eyes are smiling
    Sure it’s like a morn in spring
    In the lilt of Irish laughter
    You can hear the angels sing

    When Irish hearts are happy
    All the world seems bright and gay
    And when Irish eyes are smiling
    Sure they steal your heart away

    It turns out it was written by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr. in 1912 for a musical production. I picked this one because it is the one I would be most likely to sing to my child of those I found. It seemed much of the music I found told of tough lives. My imaging has started out rocky as well with alot of hesitation at first because I realized I’m not that proud of much of my family. Gradually as I have done the imaging I have been connecting more with individual family members and realizing there was bad but also good people as well. I am realizing people probably did the best they could in the times and situations they lived in. I realized as well that I am part of the continuum of the family and the work I am doing is important and part of our collective overall history.

    Well I hope all of you brave women are enjoying your weekend and I look forward to reading your posts and hearing you on the circle.

    take care,

  16. Rebecca says:

    I did a little research and have discovered that my great, great, great, great grandparents immigrated to the US from Lisburn, Ireland. I think I had known this at one time in my life and completely forgotten it. I found this 2nd verse of Too-Ra-Loo-Ra that I thought was really beautiful.
    Oft in dreams I wander
    To that cot again,
    I feel her arms a-huggin’ me
    As when she held me then.
    And I hear her voice a -hummin’
    To me as in days of yore,
    When she used to rock me fast asleep
    Outside the cabin door.

  17. Laura says:

    P.S. Here’s a nice sing-along version of “Raisins and Almonds” from You Tube:

  18. Laura says:

    I’ve found a Yiddish lullaby called “Raisins and Almonds.” In the song, a poor woman is singing her son to sleep and comforting him by telling him he will grow to be a successful merchant selling raisins and almonds. For me, this song is about a mother who is having trouble meeting her child’s basic needs, but who feeds him with her hopes, dreams, and love. All week, I’ve been ironing out my worries with the soothing reprise, “Shlof zhe Yidele shlof” (“Sleep my Yidele, sleep”).

    In dem beys hamikdash
    In a vinkl kheyder
    Zitzt di almone Bas Zion aleyn.
    Ir ben yokhidl Yidele
    Vigt zi keseyder
    Un zingt im tzu shlofn a lidele sheyn: ay-lu-lu…

    Unter Yidele’s vigele
    Shteyt a klor vayse tzigele
    Dos tzigele is geforn handlen
    Dos vet zayn dayn baruf,
    Rozhinkes mit mandlen
    Shlof zhe Yidele, shlof.

    In dem lidl, mayn kind,
    Ligt fil neviyes.
    Az du vest amol zayn tzezeyt oyf der velt.
    A soykher vestu zayn
    Fun ale tvues.
    Un vest in dem oykh fardinen fil gelt.

    Unter Yidele’s vigele
    Shteyt a klor vayse tzigele
    Dos tzigele is geforn handlen
    Dos vet zayn dayn baruf,
    Rozhinkes mit mandlen
    Shlof zhe Yidele, shlof
    Shlof zhe Yidele, shlof!

    In the temple, in the corner of a chamber,
    The widow The Daughter of Zion is sitting all alone.
    As she rocks her only son Yidele to sleep,
    She sings him a pretty song, a lullaby.

    “Under Yidele’s cradle, there stands a snow-white kid
    that has been to market.
    It will be your calling, too –
    Trading in raisins and almonds,
    And now sleep, Yidele, sleep.

    In this pretty lullaby, my child, there lie many
    Some day you’ll be wandering in the wide world –
    You will choose to be a tradesman,
    And you’ll be trading and earning a lot of money.

    “Under Yidele’s cradle, there stands a snow-white kid
    that has been to market.
    It will be your calling, too –
    Trading in raisins and almonds,
    And now sleep, Yidele, sleep.

    And now sleep, Yidele, sleep!

  19. Maria says:

    Hi everybody! Here is my homework. This is the most popular lullaby in Spanish. The chorus is pretty much the same every where… the verses are many, and every body sings them differently. This is just an example with some of the verses.

    Arroró mi niño,
    arroró mi sol,
    Arroró pedazo
    de mi corazón

    Este nene lindo
    no quiere dormir
    Cierra sus ojitos
    y los vuelve a abrir

    Este nene lindo
    que quiere dormir
    Y el pícaro sueño
    no quiere venir

    Este nene lindo que
    nació de noche
    Quieren que lo lleven
    a pasear en coche


    Arrorró is one of the words we use in Spanish to lull a baby.

    arrorró my boy (girl)
    arrorró my sun
    arrorró little peace
    of my heart

    This pretty boy (girl)
    doesn’t want to sleep
    Close his little eyes
    and opens them again

    This pretty baby
    wants to sleep
    and the mischievous sleepiness
    doesn’t want to come

    This pretty baby
    that was born at night
    want to be taken for a ride

    I know it sounds kind of funny translated, but it sounds good in Spanish :)

    I’m trying to find a video online, if I find one I’ll post the link so you can hear it.

    I’m looking forward to your lullabies.

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