Before Winter Sets In

from Song Bridge by Colum Sands

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Blackberries always remind me of walking the road back to school on sunny September days. During a walk on the quiet roads of County Cork’s beautiful Cape Clear Island, I noticed how blackberries growing on the roadside seemed to be showing the various stages of their lives, all at the same moment.

At one spot on the stone wall there were blackberry blossoms mixed with green, red and ripened black berries and they set me thinking of a song that would pause for a few moments to look at all the seasons of our own lives.

Thanks to Terri and Eric Freeman from the Davy Lamp Folk Club in Washington for a long breakfast discussion under their welcoming roof a few years ago when the conversation came around to the virtues (and otherwise) of keeping things that will come in handy sometime - verse three comes from that morning!


Before Winter Sets In 3:23
Words and Music Colum Sands © Elm Grove Music

September looks out as the evenings draw in,
Her colours are coaxing the spiders to spin,
They’ll lay out their lace in the dew of the whin,
For they’ve plenty to do before winter sets in.

And down the long lane with many’s the turning,
Back to school children are laughing and learning,
We’ll follow the field to the blackberry hill,
See the black, red and green and the blossoms there still.

And as fields turn to gold the songbirds still sing,
How summer was true to the promise of spring,
There’s no time to lose and a harvest to win,
So we’d best make a move before winter sets in.


Sure we’ve filled up a shed instead of a bin
With things that we said were sure to come in Handy sometime now it’s anchor to pin,
But we’ll make room to dance before winter sets in.

When October makes time where there was none before,
We’ll follow the river from mountain to shore
And we’ll talk of the times we came through thick and thin,
And of all that we’ll do before winter sets in.



from Song Bridge, released April 28, 2020
Colum Sands: vocals & guitar
with Mary Dillon: backing vocals


all rights reserved



Colum Sands Newry, UK

Colum Sands is a universal storyteller who draws on a long Irish tradition of poetic musicality to weave songs for the world.
Drawing on countless performances, Sands uses humour and shrewd observation to celebrate what unites rather than what separates. His latest album “Song Bridge” includes many of the songs written for his extensive environmental campaigning over the past two years.
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