Saint Kevin and the Blackbird

from by Telling the Bees

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Beautiful cardboard gatefold sleeve designed by Rima Staines, with astrolabe design on CD. Lyrics included.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Steer by the Stars via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 3 days

      £10 GBP or more 


  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

      £1 GBP  or more



Kevin was one of those unofficial 'Celtic' saints. The story goes that he was so deep in contemplation that a blackbird nested in his cupped hands. Being a saintly sort, he sat and waited until the chicks had fledged. The song was inspired by a painting by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. I only found out about the Seamus Heaney poem afterwards.


I was no saint, I could not bear
To break another’s heart
Too much grieving for a life
That never had a start

So when she chose my upturned hands
Raised like a begging bowl
I put my self aside and watched
The miracle unfold
You would’ve done the same

She laid her eggs and settled down
To raise her precious brood
She took the blackness out of me
Made it blackbird food

I watched the chicks grow feathers
I watched them as they flew
But when they blessed me with their song
I found my heart could move


from Steer by the Stars, released May 1, 2015
Song © Andy Letcher, arrangement © Telling the Bees 2015.



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Telling the Bees Oxford, UK

Telling the Bees are an innovative acoustic band making a unique and original music they call darkly crafted folk.
They met in 2007 at Oxford's legendary Catweazle Club, and as a four piece released two acclaimed albums, Untie the Wind and An English Arcanum. In 2011 they expanded to the current five-piece line-up. Steer by the Stars is their third album.
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