-- Bird Without Wings --
released 1968

Found on:
"Christopher's Movie Matinee" by 3's A Crowd, released in 1968. Although Bruce Cockburn wrote this song he was not with the group at the time of its recording.
Rumours of Glory - box set Disc 1 (2014) [compilation album]

Rarities (2022) - digital release

O Sun O Moon (2023) - vinyl release

In the circle of your arms
I could have set the sun in silver
And made for you a ring so fine
If we had grown together, babe
We might have made it to the sea-shore
And left this muddy river far behind
Ah, but I couldn't find the key
That would unlock these chains of mine
And my songs were not complete enough to sing
I could only feel your music one line at a time
And there's no chance for a bird without wings

If only I had read
The meaning that your eyes held
As they shone like diamonds burning in the dawn
But the raindrops in my own
Changed the colour of the sky
And I just sat and helplessly looked on
So I'll go on worshipping my world of faded dreams
Though the church bells are of lead and will not ring
And to those who try to tell themselves I'm more than what I seem
I say, What good is a bird without wings?

Liner Notes from Rarities:
Guitar, Vocal: Bruce Cockburn

Previously unreleased. Recorded at/Enregistre au Studio H.H. Bloom Sound Enterprises, Ottawa in/en 1966.
ISRC CAT242100128 / Publisher: Holy Drone Corp.
(P) 1966 High Romance Music a div. of Linus Entertainment Inc. Marketed by True North Records

  • Editor's Note - 2022: Re-released on digital album Rarities

  • Editor's Note - 2023: Re-released on vinyl version O Sun O Moon

    Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • Date unknown

    At the Ottawa Folk Festival, during the reunion of Bruce's old band, The Children, Bruce mentioned that "Bird Without Wings" was written back in the sixties sometime and he couldn't remember what it was about except it was for some girl who broke his heart and back then it was common for artists to cultivate a broken heart.
    -- Courtesy of Frank Brusca.

  • August 1997

    In the below cited article about the reunion concert by The Children, it's noted that Cockburn "admitted he'd written it in a room on Clarence St., while 'nursing a broken heart.' Adding,"That was a sentiment that we carefully cultivated as musicians."
    -- from "Unbroken Circle", Ottawa Sun, August, 1997 by Rick Overall. Submitted by Rob Caldwell.

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.