God, God, God, God —
Something good to eat;
Gott! Gott! Gott!
Stab at seed, repeat;
Dust baths in the heat;
Dio, Dio, Dio —
Rafters for retreat.
Hail Mary, gratia plena,
Grain aplenty, let us pray:
Oats and hay.
What? Up from the gutter?
Iacenti in praesepio
What? Perch on the brink?
Christo Dei filio
I could do with a drink;
Make it double the flutter.
Avian savior, Jesu,
In the harrowed way grew
Blades of sage and fescue,
Salvia to the rescue.
NOTES for Students of English
Gott, Dieu, Dio – “God” in German, French, and Italian.
Avena sativa – The scientific name of oats.
Gratia plena – Latin for “full of grace” from the traditional Christian prayer.
Redemptori Domino – Latin for “the Lord our Savior,” from a hymn by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621). The other Latin lines in the stanza are also lyrics from that hymn.
Iacenti in praesepio – Latin for “lying in the manger.”
Unigenito – Latin for “the only begotten.”
Christo Dei filio – Latin for “Christ, the son of God.”
Harrowed – A pun on the two meanings of “harrowed”: ploughed and tormented.
Sage – A pun on sage meaning both a wise man and a plant. As the common name of a plant, sage can refer to either the genus Salvia (mint) or Artemisia (sagebrush).
Fescue – A tufted perennial grass.
Salvia – A play on “salvation” and “Salvia,” a genus of herbs and shrubs in the mint family.
Amen/Almond – In American English, “almond” is frequently pronounced without the “l” sound (AH-mund) with the “a” sound the same as in “amen” (ah-MEN). When “amen” is sung, the stress on the two syllables is sometimes evened out so that “amen” sounds closer to “almond.”