The Handless Maiden's Daughter

by Ursula Holden Gill

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Most of these songs were written to accompany my stories - some traditional, some my own, but all very close to my heart. They were inspired by my immediate landscape, then and now, by the people I call to mind there and the wild call - home.


released May 12, 2013

Ursula Holden Gill (Vocals, Ukulele, Clog) Keith Donnelly (Guitar, Ukulele, Percussion) Martin Oram (Fiddle, Mandolin) Anna Ryder (Accordian, Piano) Bill I Am Bates (Production).

All songs composed by Ursula Holden Gill with the exception of "Prayer" and "Me and the Moon and the Foxes" - words and music by Keith Donnelly. Copyright control.



all rights reserved


Ursula Holden Gill West Yorkshire, UK

In recent years, Ursula Holden Gill has emerged as one of the UK’s most innovative, up and coming Storyteller / Musicians. An insightful comedienne, with a voice “like molasses” Ursula has that rare gift of authenticity in her humour. Her style is largely influenced by folk tradition, 19th century music hall and original song – the culmination of which is something quite spellbinding! ... more

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Track Name: Nutclough
Running, weaving, through the trees.
Space yes, here my soul can breathe.
In each step I trust and flow.
Like the river I follow.

Racing, chasing, to the tide.
Layers shed, life has been read
Now I'm open wide.
Sure on my course I gladly go.
When I reach my end I'll......
Track Name: Goose Wing
She first came by one morning, knocking at my door.
In search of a little company, maybe a little more?
Her eyes they shone a fairytale of true love stolen away.
For when I looked into their pools I swear I heard them say:

“Goose wing, my soul still sings. I just forgotten how to fly.
But I sense in you that there’s a friend so true.
Maybe together we could try? On a goose wing".

The seasons passed and still she came. Between us grew a bond
As deep and bright as lily flowers that sit upon the pond.
I’d tell her how I miss you. She’d flap her wings of white
Until I felt you on the breeze saying “Darling, it’s alright:

Goose wing, your soul still sings. Just remember how to fly!
‘Cause I recall in you I had a friend so true,
Oh you lifted me so high - On your Goose wing”…..

Her journey isn’t over. It’s barely yet begun.
Last night I saw the goose rise up toward the setting sun.
Got to follow her direction now and take off round the world.
Tell her story everywhere and show ‘em I’m your girl.

Goose wing, my soul still sings. Just watch me as I fly!
I know in you I had a love so true.
And that won’t ever die. On a Goose wing.

On a Goose wing, forever, you and I.
Track Name: Just As In The Apple
There is something in the air today (knock heel knock toe x 2)
Whispers to me through the trees (knock heel knock toe step across, shuffle step across diggidy)
Tells me a change is coming I can’t stop (pick and shuttle)
All that is familiar I must leave (break)

Like the blossom you are beautiful (reel step x 2)
Ripe and ready for the knife (twist)
Just as in the apple there’s a five point star (Josephine)
Inside your heart there is new life (break)

(= Clog Steps)
Track Name: Ewe At Widdop
Please Sir spare my daughter, leave her dancing on the hill?
Take me. I am older – I have danced, danced out my will.
I have marked the seasons I’ve sprung and bound the curlews (pheasants / owlets) call,
I have honoured those great mysteries long forgotten by you all.

Once my robes were stately as the cotton above my head,
Purer than the green, green grass in these bright fields where I’ve fed.
But you, you came and pillaged – for greed and gain tore up the earth,
And with rough hands left me ragged all despairing of your mirth.

I know where I’m going – four wheels has this Judas goat.
I’m going miles and miles and miles across the ocean. There the knife will meet my throat.
But from my Arian prison I will look out on you all ,
Singing sweet songs of forgiveness
You may one day heed a mother’s call.
Track Name: Purple Moor
Give me the purple moor
The moon and the plough up above
Hear my heart sing for she knows, she knows,
All I have here’s all I love
And give me the river that flows,
The tow path the red alder tree
Hear my heart sing for she knows, she knows
When I’m at home I am free

Scrambling Pendle on all hallows eve,
Wind blows my hair wild, fists tight in my sleeve
Bonfire crackles a face in the flame
Destiny calling, she knows me by name

Badgers at twilight now calling the tune
Take the ridgeway to the circle late June
Mark every turn of the wheel as it rounds
Toast the time, you’ll be fine, feet on the ground

Framed on the doorstep, sun soft on my skin,
Melody sailing, more stories within
To the future I beckon, to memory I bow,
All the while save my smile for what is now
Track Name: Dorothy
She's away with the fairies and over the rainbow.
A sunflower mid tulips passed which you can't tiptoe,
A storm in a tea cup, a discordant key
But never was any as lovely as she.

And through her eyes the world is still gingham and cup - cakes,
Where love saves the day and laughter is commonplace.
Where living is wholesome, upstanding and free
O never was any as lovely as she.

When I think of her now as I brush with the rat race,
Soulless and underhand - how my poor heartbreaks.
Take me back to her where I long to be
For never was any as lovely as she.
Track Name: Shine
You knew the secrets of alchemy.
You first weaved straw into gold before me.
And you shine, you shine, you shine, you shine so bright.
You filled so many empty lives.
You brought hope where despair thrived.

Teach me I'm ready to learn now...
Willing, wanting to know how:
You shine, you shine, you shine, you shine so bright.

You call now soft from the stars above.
Follow your soul. When you walk in love...
You shine, you shine, you shine, you shine so bright.
Track Name: Pendle Witch Song
If the rush of birdsong marks your morning call,
If the standing circles hold you in enthral,
If the moorland breezes summon you from far,
Well then my bonny sweetheart - remember what you are.

If the scented forests stir your will to learn,
If your intuition informs your every turn,
If the thought of freedom sounds your souls hurrah,
Well then my bonny sweetheart – remember what you are.

And if the old ones stories sit inside your head,
If the moonlight beckons as you lie in bed,
If the years are kind and on you leave no mar,
Well then my bonny sweetheart – remember what you are.
Track Name: Lost Boy
Where are you going? What do you see?
Who will you trust now? Won’t you take a chance on me?
‘Cause I think you’re amazing. All that you’ve been through
And I won’t let you down boy. I’ll sing your blues for you.

It seems to me, I say it seems – you take things in your stride
But sure, you know, I know you must be dying deep inside.
How is it people hurt us and still profess to care?
D’you think it hurts them half as much to live without us there?

So shall I walk or hold on tight? It’s up to you to choose.
I won’t deny you leaving me through that may mean I lose.
I wish you joy, I wish you peace, I wish you happiness.
I’ll be content our paths they crossed and know that I was blessed.
Track Name: Nellie's Song
Somebody show me the right way to go.
God only knows this is tough.
Trying to be the best I can become
And wondering if that’s ever guna be good enough.
Money dun’t thrill me and fame leave me cold now,
All the stuff proves a quick fix.
Religion confounds me. Society wound me up
And love, Oh, I’m tired of its tricks.

But just when I’m feeling I may as well quit,
Cut off the call of my soul.
You come through like candle light, light up my darkest night
And you give me a glimpse of being whole.

Somebody take the strain off my weary shoulders,
God only knows how I’ve hurt.
I’ve pushed it and broken, heard such lies spoken,
I’ve lain there alone, face down in the dirt.
Old friends have moved on now,
The best ones have gone now.
I’m cautious of all that is new.
So what I hold on to is all belong to,
It’s a vision, Oooo, a sweet vision of you (Chorus).
Track Name: Mr. Magpie
They say one brings you sorrow, while two is for joy,
Three will fetch a bonny lass and four a red cheeked boy.
Five it brings you silver, six a bag of gold
Oh but seven that’s for secrets bright never to be told.

So fly Mr Magpie – keep your secrets on the wind,
Make me pick and find through book and rhyme
The way to you my friend.
Keep me wishing on a feather,
I’ll salute you down the road
And I’ll sing….seven’s for a secret bright never to be told.

Well one is for your class my friend and two your laughing eyes,
Three is for your coffee cup and four your fools disguise.
Five is for your itchy feet and six your bought and sold
Oh but seven that’s for secrets bright never to be told.
Track Name: Prayer
Said a prayer last night.
First time I prayed since I was a child, beside the bed.
My prayer wasn’t long,
A few lines from later in this song, was all it said.

Didn’t pray for world peace didn’t pray to feed the poor or heal the lame.
I just prayed that you’d come back to me and feel the same.
(Now I feel ashamed)

Said a prayer for you.
Prayed that you and I might yet come true, still pray me do.
Track Name: There Are Fairies In The Gutter
There are fairies in the gutter.
Well there must be they come in all kinds.
Folk’ll tell you I’m bonkers but
It’s just they’ve closed their minds.
And anyway I’ve seen ‘em hiding in empty crisp packets,
In cobwebs and puddles it’s true.
And if you believe in the gutter fairies
They might believe in you.

They sometimes come when you’ve been crying
And you get that weird gleam in your room.
Or if there’s a crack in your window and
You screw up your eyes at the moon.
Or sometimes they come when you’re feeling quite small
And you’ve got what grown up’s call the blues.
Well them little folk come and kick you up the bum
Singing “Ey up! Stand tall in your shoes”. Oh! (Chorus)

Have you never wondered how dandelions grow
In the midst of a bleak concrete jungle?
Or how some kids bounce back though their grownups are slack
And are always in some sort of bungle!
Or how it is that stuff like glass and ice
Can sparkle as if they were t’ crown jewels.
Folk’ll say it’s a mystery but I knows my history
And who’s the real fools. Oh. Oh. Oh! (Chorus)
Track Name: Magic Show
“Don't judge books by their covers”. My mother used to say:
“All isn't what it seems to be it just appears that way.
Look through the mask, under the glass and open every door.
If you don't find the answers there girl, roll the dice some more”.

For life is like a magic show.
A mystery, the more you see the less you seem to know.
Things vanish, people reappear - who's fake and what is true?
Come inside to enjoy the ride...the magic lies in you.

“Play every hand like it's your last, beware the Jack o' Hearts...
Conjure small feathers endlessly, be colourful, and smart.
Don't let them put you in a box and saw you down the middle,
Stay whole my love and remember there's wisdom in the riddle”.
Track Name: The Handless Maidens Daughter
When I’m still enough to slow my breath and look inside,
I recall you as you were when you sat by my side,
I recall those laughter lines like dunes upon the sand
But what my slide show pause on are your lovely ladies hands.

The way my fingers used to span your wrist with ease so delicate.
The perfect contour of each nail my eye will not forget.
The gentle placing of your palms upon piano grand
I hear them through the silence now – lovely ladies hands.

Guiding my hands pen on page, planting, kneading every stage,
Dancing shadows on a wall, magic giving, mother all.

Every sinew, Knuckle, nerve, the freckles on your skin,
The veins that blush blue when my pad pushes them in,
The sapphire on your finger set in a golden band,
It sits on mine now as I play at having lovely ladies hands.

I cannot read my own lifeline I do not know my fate,
I only know for us to touch we just meet at this gate,
So may we mirror ‘til I’m called to join you in your land,
My love, may I reflect for you – lovely ladies hands.
Track Name: Me And The Moon And The Foxes
Me and the moon and the foxes.
Far as the eye can see.
Me and the moon and the foxes,
The foxes, the moon and me.

Songs for singing, tales for telling,
Sometimes smiles - that's all i'm selling.
Strange, sad gypsy muse compelling.
Half way home, still I'm bound to roam.

As I drive the trees I pass by
Dance like ghosts against the black sky.
Morning clouds scud white and then I
Share the cold night with the moonlight.

Down this endless road I travel
Rolling like a stone on gravel.
Watch the winding ways unravel.
Best I find not to look behind.

Oft times as the pre dawn light glows
Headlights catch where Mr Red goes,
Brushes disappear in hedgerows,
Flashing eyes, bright as the sunrise....