Paul M. Helfrich

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Thought-Bird Song

A Sumari poem by Jane Roberts

The Birds Outside My Window...Listen to Thought-Bird Song (11:08)

This poem was originally published in Adventures in Consciousness by Jane Roberts. In her notes regarding her translation from Sumari to English she had this to say:

Adventures in Consciousness“You might have noticed how much longer the third verse of Thought-Bird Song is than the original Sumari. I don’t know how such a long stanza came out of a shorter one, but I do know that the Sumari did contain the ‘extra’ meaning. Each verse is actually like a Rosetta Stone though, because each Sumari stanza has meanings on various levels. Several layers of meaning are nested one within the other, so that actually the same Sumari words would have to be translated two or three times, to get one ‘full’ song or poem. I think that more ancient songs still lie buried in Thought-Bird Song and many others, waiting till I translate them.”

Sumari English Translation
Enaji o J tumba
Reset-il a baragey
So tem responde
Sol tu detum
Som ambto site
Curiabus ta
The birds outside my window
Are your thoughts sent to me
They come flying; fledglings.
I feed them bread crumbs
So they do not go hungry,
Then they perch on the tree branch
With beaks open, singing:
Fra maronde taba
Usa filnoberi
Java sumbarabi
Lito tu sumba.
Gravi tumari
Silvo un domartum
Ilna sevento marro
Il no barijeti. Tu a
Me atum.
We come from the nest
Of yesterday and tomorrow.
God bless our journey.
We have flown from the inside
To the outside
World of your knowledge.
The cage door is wide open.
We burst out singing.
We fill all the treetops.
Sal Fra tambo
Til sa framago
Ta to tum
Ilna illita. Reumbra
Framago. Tiombreaggo
Te mon de.
Ilno tomage.Ra bing tomage zee.
Lin deova
Lin framadeo
Te olage. Framage
Tu amba.
Splendid and glowing.
Tiny as tree bells
We dance on the tree branches
Night and day always.
Listen to us. Feed us.
We are your thoughts winging
Out of the nest of the birth-cage
Into summer and winter.
We perch on the branches
Of the minutes and seconds.
Our song is your heartbeat.
We move with your pulses.
You send us out perfect and shining,
Each living and different
To populate your kingdom.
We sing outside your window
And line up on the rooftops.
Jo solaris nefti
E O responde heri.
Fromage. Tu um tomorro
De a linagu frimba
Tal toss severage ne
Ne ray o marro
Ti a bra
Separate and knowing
We peer through the branches,
Surveying the inner
Land of enchantment,
The skyless and timeless
World of our birth.
So jari ne remarro
Severandi newmarro
Fra to tiara. Umbarge
Desta. Nea desta.
Nea tumbo.
Tel to neambo
Desta mora.
We fly from our perches
Back and forth to our first nest,
Vanishing inside
The cage of your head,
Then we fly out again
And sing at your window
While you feed us bread crumbs
From your hand.

Reprinted with kind permission of SethNet Publishing

Program Notes

The Sumari development occurred during session #598, November 23, 1971 during a now famous ESP class held in Jane Roberts’s and husband Rob Butts’s Water Street apartment in Elmira, NY. Jane slipped into an altered state that night and uttered the words, “Sumari—Ispania—Wena—Nefarie … Dena—Dena—Nefarie, Lona, Lona, Lona, Sumari!”

There were thirteen people present, including long time friend Sue Watkins who described the encounter in detail in her book, Conversations with Seth, The Story of Jane Roberts’s ESP Class, Vol. 1.

Jane, an accomplished writer, poet, and psychic, experienced a renewed burst of creativity from this event. She describes her own feelings in her brilliant book Adventures in Consciousness:

“In a matter of weeks, Sumari gave me an entirely different kind of poetry. For about three years I’d been working on nonfiction and my poetry had suffered. I seemed to have reached a plateau. As I sat watching the oak tree, I could feel my awareness expand into ever widening and deepening levels. In that state one day, Sumari words suddenly came into my head in a different way. I ‘knew’ that these were Sumari verses, ancient poetry that carried truths long forgotten by our race. Two levels of consciousness were involved; one, in which I picked up the Sumari, and the other in which the translations came. As a rule I couldn’t get the English translation without the Sumari, even though I tried.

“In poetry the Sumari songs, sung or written, delineate the metaphysics of the inner self. And that metaphysics is, I believe, truer to reality than the exterior dogmas and sciences that we accept as ‘truth’.”

I must admit I was blown away when I read about the Sumari development back in the late 1970’s, having read several of Jane’s Seth books by that time. It seemed to me like an entire new reality was unfolding right before my eyes. And the poems felt familiar to me. The language also seemed distantly familiar, like some hybrid Latin/Eastern European dialect.

I was in graduate school at Temple University in Philadelphia studying music composition in the Fall of 1978. After spinning my wheels for several months searching for inspiration for a new piece, I decided to set Jane’s poem — Thought-Bird Song — to music. The result was an eleven minute chamber piece for Soprano, piano, mallet percussion, and synthesizer. It turned out to be my favorite work from that period.

The arrangement begins and ends softly, with tiny bell-like sounds emphasizing the thought-bird aspects of Jane’s poem. Thought-birds are a metaphor for the way in which we literally create ourselves and the world around us. They are also symbolic of the fact that we use inner, though invisible to the physical senses, aspects of our own psyche to create as well.

The score features several motifs that weave their way through a soundscape that includes strange scales, exotic harmonies, and unconventional text settings — all to portray an other-worldly presence, the Sumari, magically manifesting from deep within. So sit back, relax, and enjoy…

The Birds Outside My Window...Listen to Thought-Bird Song (11:08)


© 1978 Paul M. Helfrich, All Rights Reserved.

One Comment

  1. […] explorers of consciousness. I even set some of Jane’s Sumari poetry to music in 1978. Check out Thought-Bird Song at […]

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I am currently the Pedagogical Coordinator and Music Teacher for Grades 1-4 at the Westside Waldorf School in Pacific Palisades, CA for the 2023-2024 academic year.

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