The man in the wilderness asked of me,
“How many strawberries grow in the salt sea?”
I answered him, as I thought good,
As many a ship as sails in the wood.
The man in the wilderness asked me why
His hen could swim and his pig could fly.
I answered him as I thought best,
“They were both born in a cuckoo’s nest.”
The man in the wilderness asked me to tell
All the sands in the sea and I counted them well.
He said he with a grin, “And not one more?”
I answered him, “Now you go make sure.”
Natalie Merchant’s two-disc album, “Leave Your Sleep,” is a collection of 26 traditional poems set to original music. The project began shortly after the birth of her daughter six years ago.
You can watch Jeffrey Brown’s recent report on Merchant here.