All things Green Man & Jack-in-the-Green

Green Man Poetry & Verse

The Ceremony of May Show

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All doors open at 7pm and the shows start at 7:30pm


The Wheel of the Year


The Green Man Looks On

St Chads, Stafford © Jennie Miller

Many thanks to Eric Payne (see previous blog entry) for allowing us to reproduce his wonderful song “The Green man Looks on” and to Vanessa Piggott  for alerting us to Erics work. For more about Eric go to www.ericpaynefolksongs.co.uk thanks also to Jennie Miller for another wonderful picture.

‘The Green Man Looks on’

Dowse the lantern, new dawn is at hand,
The team is a-waiting to plough the good land.
Three abreast, they shall stumble and nod,
Heaving the share through the heavy clay sod.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

Hour after hour the neat furrows climb,
Like the strings of a harp in a regular line;
Till needful of rest, all labour must wait,
The horses have nosebags, the ploughman his bait.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

Yet steadily on until late afternoon,
The chains chack relentlessly into the gloom,
Till reins through the cringle, less urgent confirm,
The voice of the Ploughman to take the last turn.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

Then away with the harnesses, off with the plough,
For sweet scented hay bids the steaming team now.
From their stable the low lantern light,
Passes out through the door with the Ploughman’s “Goodnight”.

The Green Man looks on,
And he smiles from the copse as the cycle of death and re-birth never stops,
The wheel of the year,
Turns again and the mythical man watches on.

…………………………………………………………………………

Copyright: © Eric Payne. January 2010


The Green Man by Lauren Raine

I have included this poem before in the early days of this blog, but it is so beautiful and apt for the begining of the year and our blog is so regularly discovered by people entering it in search engines, that I feel it is time to publish it again. You can find Lauren’s website full of wonderful masks (like the one above) at: http://www.rainewalker.com/catalog3.htm.

“Remember me, try to remember.
I am that laughing man with eyes like leaves.
When you think that winter will never end,
I will come.
You will feel my breath,
a vine caressing your foot.
I am the blue eye of a crocus,
opening in the snow,
a trickle of water, a calling bird,
a shaft of light among the trees.
You will hear me singing
among the green groves of memory,
and the shining leaves of tomorrow.
I’ll come with daisies in my hands –
we’ll dance among the sycamores
once more.”
–  Lauren Raine, The Green Man


The Green Man (A Carol)

I recently discovered Clive Andersons wonderful poem “The Green Man” has been put to music by Lynn Noel and is now sung as a Yuletide Carol by the Paperbag Mummers of Waltham Massachusetts. It seems a perfect way for the poem to evolve and hopefully wind its way into future generations.

A Merry Yuletide and Happy Christmas to all members of The Company of the Green Man

THE GREEN MAN

William Anderson arr. L. Noel 1990

Like antlers, like veins of the brain the birches
Mark patterns of mind on the red winter sky;
I am thought of all plants, says the Green Man
I am thought of all plants, says he. (REFRAIN)

The hungry birds harry the last berries of rowan
But white is her bark in the darkness of rain
I rise with the sap…

The ashes are clashing their boughs like sword-dancers
Their black buds do trace a wild face in the clouds
I come with the wind….

The alders are rattling as though ready for battle
Guarding the grove where she waits for her lover
I burn with desire….

In and out of the yellowing wands of the willow
The pollen-bright bees are plundering the catkins
I am honey of love….

The hedges of quick are thick with May blossom
As the dancers advance on the leaf-covered King
It’s off with my head….

Green Man becomes grown man in flames of the oak
As its crown forms his mask and its leafage his features
I speak through the oak….

The holly is flowering as hayfields are rolling
Their gleaming long grasses like waves of the sea
I shine with the sun….

The hazels are rocking the cups of their nuts
As the harvesters shout when the last sheaf is cut
I swim with the salmon…

The globes of the grapes are robing with bloom
Like the hazes of autumn, like the Milky Way’s stardust
I am crushed for your drink….

The aspen drops silver of leaves on earth’s salver
And the poplars shed gold on the young ivy heads
I have paid for your pleasure….

The reed beds are flanking in silence the islands
Where meditates Wisdom as she waits and waits
I have kept her secret….

The bark of the elder makes whistles for children
To call to the deer as they rove over the snow
I am born in the dark….


The Apple Tree Man

A Carol arranged by Lynn Noel (From a traditional Somerset tale)

In Somerset there lived two sons of a farmer who passed away
The elder son was vain and mean, the younger merry and gay
The elder son was left the farm, to his brother naught gave he
Save a tiny plot with a feeble ox, a donkey and apple tree.

(chorus) Old apple tree, we’ll wassail thee and hoping thou wilt bear
The Lord doth know where we shall be to be merry another year
To blow well and to bear well and so merry let us be
Let everyone drink up a cup, here’s health to the old apple tree.

Good husbandman was the younger son, he tended the ox and ass
He patched their stable walls and roof and he led them to sweet grass
And he poured the cider round about and a wassail song sang he
To the spirit guard of the orchard wood, the Man of the Apple Tree.

(insert chorus after every first, second or third verse as audience & time permit)

On Christmas Eve the rent from him his brother did demand
And at midnight the elder should summon him to where treasure lay on the land
To the farmer spoke the Apple Tree Man in a voice so rich and rare
“Go dig beneath the apple tree, the treasure awaits you there.”

The younger son went to the tree and he dug as he was told
And there beneath the roots he found a wooden chest heavy with gold.
Hide it away, it now is yours,” said the voice from out the tree
“And your brother call to the stable door as he bids you, merrily.”

The elder son came silently, to the stable door did creep
And the ox and ass, as was foretold, of the treasure they did speak.
“He thinks to learn, the greedy fool, where the treasure lies from me,”
Said the ox and then the ass replied, “Twas taken long since from the tree.”

The Apple Tree Man spoke not a word as he stood in the orchard good
But shook with mirth and an apple rolled to his feet where the farmer stood.
So the greedy son he went without while the wise one prospered free
And each Christmastide for all his days he wassailed the Apple Tree. (chorus)

Merry Yuletide to all members of  The Company of the Green Man

WASSAIL!


Cloudstreet

Cloudstreet is the Australian duo of Nicole Murray and John Thompson.  They play Australian, English and Irish traditional music, with original songs and tunes written in a traditional style thrown in.  Their music focusses strongly on the human voice, with tight two-part harmony being their trademark.

Cloudstreet have recorded The Green Man and made it available as a free download via the free stuff page on their website at:

http://www.cloudstreet.org/

 

The Green Man

The Green Man’s a traveller, a reveller, unraveller
Of dreams and of fancies, from first to the last.
Older than all men, living in all things
Son, father and sage,
Long live the Green Man!

 
First light of first morning saw the Green Man there waiting
He saw the creation and joined in the dance
All creatures grew ’round him, he grew with them singing
The first song of all, sing of the Green Man

 
Quietly watching and waiting and learning
The storms are his fury, the lightning his laugh
The first leaf of spring, his beauty and glory
His stillness his power, in the trees is his path.

 
There are fewer trees now, but the man is not sleeping
‘Though our ruin brings sorrow to time’s oldest heart
In our souls we may find him and remember his wisdom
And rekindle the flame; once again make a start.

 

© John Thompson

 

 


Jack in the Green

Had to re-produce this at some point as I’m aware that there are some generations out there who sadly may not have heard of Jethro Tull (I can proudly say I once saw them play live, I was of course very young!)

These are the lyrics to their wonderful Jack in the Green, from the album Songs from the Wood. If you would like to hear how it sounds there’s a link to it on our You Tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/cotgm

Jack in the Green

Have you seen Jack-In-The-Green?
With his long tail hanging down.
He quietly sits under every tree
in the folds of his velvet gown.

He drinks from the empty acorn cup
the dew that dawn sweetly bestows.
And taps his cane upon the ground
signals the snowdrops it’s time to grow.

It’s no fun being Jack-In-The-Green
no place to dance, no time for song.
He wears the colours of the summer soldier
carries the green flag all the winter long.

Jack, do you never sleep
does the green still run deep in your heart?
Or will these changing times,
motorways, powerlines,
keep us apart?
Well, I don’t think so
I saw some grass growing through the pavements today.

The rowan, the oak and the holly tree
are the charges left for you to groom.
Each blade of grass whispers Jack-In-The-Green.
Oh Jack, please help me through my winter’s night.
And we are the berries on the holly tree.
Oh, the mistlethrush is coming.
Jack, put out the light.


Wassail!

COTGM member Sean Breadin (Sedayne) sent me a link to a real time improvisation of  the wonderful Gower Wassail performed by himself and Rachel McCarron and recorded just the other day. The link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZYBhP7mUgU and I have reproduced the lyrics below. Members will be aware of Bruce Eatons piece on Wassailing which was reproduced in the November e-newsletter and can be found further back in this blog. It seemed a perfect excuse to pass it on and to take the oppurtunity to raise a glass and wish all members of The Company of the Green Man a fantastic Yuletide……..Wassail!!

Gower Wassail (Traditional / Phil Tanner)

A-wassail, a-wassail, throughout all this town.
Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown.
Our wassail is made of the good ale and cake,.
Some nutmeg and ginger, the best we could get.

Al di dal – al di dal di dal
Al di dal di dal – al di dal di dee
Al de deral – al de derry
Sing too rel I do

Our wassail is made of an elderberry bough.
Although my good neighbour, we’ll drink unto thou..
Besides all on earth, we’ll have apples in store,
Pray let us come in for it’s cold by the door.

We know by the moon that we are not too soon,.
And we know by the sky that we are not too high,.
We know by the star that we are not too far,.
And we know by the ground that we are within sound.

Now master and mistress if you are within
Pray send out your maid with her lily-white skin
For to open the door without more delay
Our time it is precious and we cannot stay

Here’s a health to our Colley and her croo’ed horn
May God send her Master a good crop of corn
Of barley and wheat and all sorts of grain
May God send her Mistress a long life to reign

Now master and mistress – thanks to you we’ll give
And for our jolly wassail as long as we live
And if we should live til another new year
Perhaps we may call and see who do live here


The Green Man’s Song

At this year’s Fylde Festival COTGM member Sedayne is performing with the Earthbound Souls a show called Demdyke! which explores various aspects of Lancastrian folklore in a sequence of songs penned by local artist & songwriter Ron Baxter and set by the musicians of the Earthbound Souls (Sedayne, Rachel McCarron & Ross Campbell). One of  songs is called The Green man’s Song:

Their God died, nailed to a tree
Why in His temple should I be?
Yet there my image you will see
Carved in wood or stone.
Though He arose, as doth the Spring,
New life unto this world to bring
He’s not me, and I’m not Him
For Him I do not know.

I dwell with the greenwood trees
And when they rustle in the breeze
‘Tis then that folk think they see me,
And perhaps they do.
Through Summer sun, through Winter cold
I’m there with oak, and ash, and thorn.
I’ll never die, ’cause never born,
Forever I’ve been here.

Yet in May some still are found
As the pipe, and tabor sounds
Bedecked in leaves they dance around
Doing homage unto me.
But of their homage I’ve no need
Of their worship I take no heed
Let them believe, what they believe,
It matters not to me.

For I am…..just what I am
Though that you’ll never understand
Jack in the Green, or the Green Man
You may call me what you will.
Though He arose, as doth the Spring,
New life unto this world to bring
He’s not me, and I’m not Him
For Him I do not know.

You can have a listen at:

 http://www.myspace.com/sedayne


Jack in the Green


Jack in the Green (from a song written by Martin Graebe in the early 1970's)
 
Now winter is over I'm happy to say
And we're all met again in our ribbons so gay
And we're all met again on the first day of spring
To go about dancing with Jack in the green
Jack in the green, Jack in the green
To go about dancing with Jack in the green
 
Now Jack in the green is a very strange man
Though he dies every autumn, he's born every spring
And every year on his birthday, we will dance through the streets
And in return Jack, he will ripen our wheat (as above)
 
With his mantle he'll cover the trees that are bare
And our gardens he'll trim with his jacket so fair
And our fields he will sow with the hairs on his head
And our grain it will ripen till old Jack is dead
 
Now the sun is half up and betokens the hour
That the children arrive with their garlands of flowers
So now let the music and dancing begin
And touch the young heart of young Jack in the Green

 


The Green Man in song

Australian COTGM Member John Thompson has kindly allowed us to use his song  The Green Man. John is a member of the band Cloudstreet

Nicole Murray and John Thompson sing and play Anglo-Celtic traditonal and original music with magnificent harmonies and loads of laughter, all backed on guitar, flute and concertina.. They breathe new life into the Australian tradition – come and fly with cloudstreet

You can find their website here: http://www.cloudstreet.org/index.html

and download an MP3 version of this song free here: http://www.cloudstreet.org/downloads.html

You can also donate to the Red Cross Bushfire appeal via their site 

The Green Man

The Green Man’s a traveller, a reveller, unraveller
Of dreams and of fancies, from first to the last.
Older than all men, living in all things
Son, father and sage,
Long live the Green Man!

First light of first morning saw the Green Man there waiting
He saw the creation and joined in the dance
All creatures grew ’round him, he grew with them singing
The first song of all, sing of the Green Man

Quietly watching and waiting and learning
The storms are his fury, the lightning his laugh
The first leaf of spring, his beauty and glory
His stillness his power, in the trees is his path.

There are fewer trees now, but the man is not sleeping
‘Though our ruin brings sorrow to time’s oldest heart
In our souls we may find him and remember his wisdom
And rekindle the flame; once again make a start.


GREEN MAN

The Green Man comes and he dances all day
The Green Man comes and he is gone away
Turn and he turns in a year and a day
Green Man laughs and he loves to play.

Green Man.

Green Man?s his name, some call him Iron John,
Herne the Hunter, or Herne the Hunter?s son.
Dances the seasons as they spiral on
Call him, call him. He is each and every one.

Green Man.

He is hiding in each and every single tree
He is inside them and in you and in me
He lives he dies, but he will forever be
Grinning his grin, the grin of eternity.

Green Man. Green Man.

This Poem (actually a song) was sent in by COTGM member Mark Newell from London. You can view his book of poetry “Symbolic” at http://www.lulu.com:80/content/3980491


The Green Man

Remember me, try to remember.

I am that laughing man with eyes like leaves. 

When you think that winter will never end,   

I will come.  

You will feel my breath,  

a vine caressing your foot. 

I am the blue eye of a crocus,  

opening in the snow,  

a trickle of water, a calling bird, 

a shaft of light among the trees.  

You will hear me singing 

among the green groves of memory, 

and the shining leaves of tomorrow. 

I’ll come with daisies in my hands 

we’ll dance among the sycamores once more.

(Lauren Raine)

 


A Riddle

I am born on May Morning by sticks, bells, and ribbons
I am the sap in the dark root
I am the dancer with his six fools
I am the tump behind the old church
I am the lost soul under the misericord
I am the oak against the stars
I am the face that peers through the leaves
I am the fear in a childs mind
I am the demon on the roof-boss
I am killed in October and laid on church altars
I am the guiser on the bright bonfire
I am the old grain sown with the seed
I am the flame in the pumpkins grin
I am the spirit in the kern-baby’s bosom
(unknown)

To add your favourite Green Man poem or verse (or even your own composition) either coment via the tag below or e-mail us at:
greenman@virgin.net
 


The Green Man in Poetry and Verse

 GREEN MAN IN THE GARDEN
By Charles Causley

 Green man in the garden
Staring from the tree,
Why do you look so long and hard
Through the pane at me?

Your eyes are dark as holly,
Of sycamore your horns,
Your bones are made of elder-branch,
Your teeth are made of thorns.

Your hat is made of ivy-leaf,
O
f bark your dancing shoes,
And evergreen and green and green
Your jacket and shirt and trews.

“Leave your house and leave your land
And throw away the key,
And never look behind,” he creaked,
“And come and live with me.”

I bolted up the window,
I bolted up the door,
I drew the blind that I should find
The green man never more.

But when I softly turned the stair
As I went up to bed,
I saw the green man standing there.
“Sleep well, my friend,” he said. 


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