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Keeping A Sharp Eye On The Bluebells
by Rose DeShaw

Many people think the ending of the Mayan calendar in 2012 signifies the Mayans somehow knew the world ends then, less than two years away. Now it turns out they weren't alone. There are little signs all over but perhaps the strangest is the prophecy stuffed into that beloved 50’s tune, once popular at engagement parties and weddings, The Twelfth of Never.

You wouldn’t think Johnny Mathis was on the same wavelength as the Mayans when he recorded the song in 1957. The Twelfth of Never reaches for what sound like eternal verities to express just how long love would last. How could we know all these forever things would ever vanish, simple things of nature without which it is hard to imagine our world?

Look at the evidence. In the very first line of his chorus, when the singer promises to love, "till the bluebells forget to bloom" Garden writer Helen Yemm, warned recently in the Telegraph, "Trample with care – loss of habitat and poaching are destroying our bluebells." Not coming up in the spring can surely be classed as "forgetting."

After that the promise to stop loving when, "the clover has lost its perfume." Genetic engineering has taken the scent out of meadow flowers.

Finally there's the promise to love, "till the poets run out of rhyme’". Just ask poets whether anyone publishes rhyme anymore.

The world was a different place back in 1957 when Mathis sang about bluebells, the scent of clover and rhyming couplets proving eternal love. They’d been around as long as human memory.

Was the song meant to predict our doom? Shouldn’t such song analysis be making headlines in these last days? Like:


Fifties hitster Johnny Mathis agonized over whether to panic the known world by recording the Twelfth of Never and its insight into our future. What to do?

Likely possessing covert but phenomenal psychic powers, Mathis saw clearly that our world would end in 2012. Of course he could exploit this knowledge and make millions (or be labeled as a nutcase and persecuted). Still he owed it to our world to leave some clues as to our fate so that we might set our affairs in order.

Finally, this great musical genius, using the skills that served him so well in hit after hit, decided to stuff his prophecy into the simple but ultimately annoying song: The Twelfth of Never: Genetic Engineering, Pesticides, Acid Rain, Demise Of The Book, they are all present with a unforgettable worm of a tune, even the title a clear warning for what was to come. He never worried whether or not it would become a hit. That’s just the kind of guy he was.

"I’ll love you till the bluebells forget to bloom

I’ll love you till the clover has lost its perfume

I’ll love you till the poets run out of rhyme

Until the twelfth of never and that’s a *long, long time."

(*55 years and then, BLOOEY!’ he thought in 1957 as he recorded these prophetic words, written by Jerry Livingston and Paul Francis Webster who in turn adapted it from the old English ballad: I Gave My Love A Cherry).