Great Valley's Harvest

Words and Music: Helen Kivnick

 

Gary Garner once sent me a tape of songs he had sing (mostly a capella) that his wife Helen Kivnick had written. This poignant portrait was among them, and I set the accompaniment to it and brought it Ed and Ann. (GB) I've known Helen for almost 30 years now, and she continues to amaze me! (ET)

 

 

It's up and down the valley we go 12 months of the year

In chilling fog in winter and in summer hot and clear

We spend out days a 'laboring in the bounty of what grows

But a barren shack and an aching back is the night the migrant knows

 

We see the valley's beauty in the trees and on the ground

While almond blossoms dress the orchards white for miles around

And offer with their fragrance the promise of good yield

But we'll never taste of the nuts that fall, we'll be off to another field

 

We work among the peaches before the break of day

We stand on shaky ladders with out hands we feel our way

We see the dawn through branches as we watch the peaches glow

Though we choose the best and we load the rest, the worst is all we know

 

To pick the ripest plums we work among the angry bees

To reach the sweetest cherries we climb high into the trees

In vineyards our shears flash as we work two along the vines

Others eat the fruit we pick and we drink the cheap jug wine

 

It's up and down the valley all 12 months of the year

Burnt brown in summer's oven and chilled in winter drear

We live among the richest crops this country has to grow

Through our hands the valley's treasure, our nation's health and pleasure,

a taste not ours to know.

 

 

Great Valley's Harvest was recorded on the album Harbors of Home