A song for Trans Day of Remembrance

Claye sings 'You Wish, You Wish', an 'angry and sad' adapted folk song, first performed at the Leeds TDOR vigil in 2018.

Duration 05:31


You can also hear Claye talking about Founding the Yorkshire Trans Choir.


INTERVIEWER: So, I heard you sing something at TDOR [Trans Day of Remembrance] last year, could you maybe say a little bit about that?

CLAYE: Yeah, so it was a song written by my friend Rowan Frank who lives in Sheffield, and it’s based on a traditional folk song that’s like hundreds of years old. And so the – it’s called ‘You Wish You Wish’, and the original’s ‘I Wish, I Wish’ and the original’s about a woman who has sex before marriage and then can’t get married to the man she loves or something cos, ‘oh no’. But the way that Rowan’s written it’s being like, ‘you wish that I wasn’t trans, but I am’, so it’s a really nice, angry, sad song that reflects that. And I think it’s a really well put together song that really fits. And I like recorded it and I put it on social media and everyone was like, ‘you’ve changed all the words!’ and I didn’t even realise I had, and I really like folk music, that’s how it’s kind, always evolving that people change it and make it slightly nicer and however they want it, so.


You wish, you wish
But all in vain.
You wish I was a maid again,
But a maiden I ne’er shall be,
‘Til apples do grow on orange trees.

I wish I had no fear to roam,
Free as a bird to fly from home.
But like a ghost, fear haunts my dreams
And I am not the maid I seem.

Oh grief, oh grief, so many lives,
Lost by anger, fear and strife.
I long the day when folk like me
Can live their lives in liberty.

Dig me a grave, And dig it deep,
Lay a [?] stone both head and feet.
Inscribe my name as bald as you can
So all shall know I died a man.

You wish, you wish,
But all in vain.
You wish I was a maid again,
But I never was a maid you see,
And apples do grow on orange trees

[Singing ends]

INTERVIEWER: Thank you. So, tell me a little bit about how it felt singing that at TDOR and why you went with that song?

CLAYE: Yes, I think that was - when, the first time I heard it, I was like, 'Oh, yes!', and like, it gave me goose bumps and I wanted to share that with everyone else… And I think it, it's, it's quite a personal song and it talks about, like, one person's life but also, it's relevant to so many people. Like, the way that my friend wrote it and I was like, 'Oh, that's about me!' And, yeah when I sang it at TDOR I was, I couldn't tell if I was just really cold [laughs] or if I was really nervous but I was really shaking and it like, felt it was like trembling out of me in a different way to the way that I've sung it before, I've sung it on my own. And it like felt like everybody was listening to it in their own way. And I think that was really nice and powerful, for me at least.