An Impromptu Improvisation, Spoken by

Greg Brown (Iowa, USA / Singer-Songwriter)



"It was the night before Christmas -

but nobody really was noticing that

I ain't sure anybody even knew that much about -


Well I remember even before the whole thing got started

There was a poor couple - looking for a place to sleep at the night


They were a poor couple - from a coal mine

They ducked into a barn

The woman was about to give birth

The man was a good man

The woman was a good - woman

(I never heard anybody say anything about whether she was a virgin or not or anything like that)

She was a good woman

It was pretty warm in the barn actually

There was a couple of cows in there

they were tired - they put out of lot of heat

Fortunately the man who - I think his name was Joe - he did not smoke

Well, the little baby popped out -

it's an amazing thing that little babies do - and the women do

And the men sorta - kinda - help

That's the big story - getting born

Just getting born is such an amazing - thing -

you'd think we'd all just be nice forever after -

just to get to be a part of it.

You'd think that anybody that ever held a little baby in their arms -

would be so careful not to ever - do any damage - to another human being -

or to the creation of which we are so obviously - a part

Well they wrapped him up - pretty cozy in there  

When you don't have a whole - whole - whole - whole -

whole way too much lot, it is surprising how little it really takes to make you feel pretty warm -

pretty good.

The next day fairly early three dudes showed up

They were Zen priests from the East - some people call them Wise Men

But they were Zen guys - they didn't believe in religion -

they believed in a way of liberation

But I guess they must have sensed something about this little child

They came bearing gifts - a warm blanket - quite a few groceries -

and a mule - to help this family on their way


Well that's about all I know about the story

The boy he did not grow up to found any big religions

with shiny churches - with gold and silver and swords

His story is about a 'world' so much better than this one -

(sometimes we can just kinda p*** on this one)

He didn't do any of that stuff - He was a child of full of love - talked about love

talked about the flowers - good fisherman!

Sometimes when I get distraught - about our world and what we're doing to it

I remind myself - that little children like that are being born every day

They may not make a lot of big news

But in their lives - they're kind - they take care of people

They don't blow things all out of proportion

They spread the news

that this life - so mysterious in the heart -

is a wonderful enterprise and should be cherished


I know these babies being born - cause I meet them every day

Some are 12 - some are 23 - some are 38, some are 51, some are 67

They're women - they're men - they're black, white, yellow -

they're every color you can think of

They're all over the place - some of them are 92

So Christmas - if it's anything at all -

it's every day -

it's every night

And even when things look dark -

Way down -

in the human heart -

we all share -

that -- 'Life'"


Nothing On This Page Is 'For Sale' .

It's 'For Wishing' You...




"Christmas Song" is an impromptu improvisation recorded at a Denver music festival in 2001.

It was spoken slowly - and haltingly - in Greg Brown's deep resonant and evocative voice,

over a simple repeated acoustic guitar riff.

"Never performed again, it is a snapshot of his seasoned genius as a live performing artist".

Mixed at Denver's Swallow Hill Music Hall, Denver, 2006,

"Christmas Song" was released on "Dream City, Essential Recordings Vol. 2",

1997-2006, in 2009



"Christmas Song" appears by permission from Greg Brown.©

Thank you!


Illuminations & Art (top to bottom) :


Journey to Bethlehem, Mosaic, c 1315 and 1321, Chora, Istanbul
Guiard des Moulins, Historical Bible of Jean de Berry, 1380-90, National Library of France, Department of Manuscripts
Madonna of the Rosary, Stephano da Verona, 1410, Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona, Italy
Roman du bon roi, Alexandre Manuscript, Jehan de Grise, 1344, Flemish, two sections added in England;
Bodleian Library, Oxford, UK. (MS Bodi 264. folio 76r, lower border); (by permission) ©
Eastern Orthodox Nativity, Small Icon, Middle Ages
Nativity and Adoration of the Magi, Walters Manuscript, 1475; Gospel Book, W.540, Folio 8r.
Heart-Shaped World Map Projection, French scientist Oronce Finé, pub. 1536
(purchased King Louis XVI, 1779; National Library of France since 1924)
O Pescador (The Fisherman), c1300, de Sententiae (Bibl. Mazarine MS 766, fol. 72v)
Hand Holding the Sacred Heart, Drawing for Allegory of Sincerity, c1659-65, Carlo Dolci, British Museum, London
Paradise, Giovanni di Paolo, c1445, tempera & gold / canvas, Siena, Italy
Roundel, Stained Glass, c1390, Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA
The The Wedding Dance, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, c1566, The Detroit Institute of Arts, USA  

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'Christmas Song', Illustration of an Impromptu Spoken Narrative ; M. Ford Creech Antiques