All Things Green Man & The Traditional Jack-in-the-Green

Archive for Jan, 2012

Greenman Song

Marie is  searching for an old folk song she learned as a child. It has stuck with her to this day and she finds herself singing the lyrics to her children but she doesn’t know where it came from or what it was about. She is in the USA but her great grandmother was scottish so it is possible that she learnt it from her father who learned it from his father.. and so on…..
The lyrics she remember are:
I have lived through many seasons, many towns, and many lands, raised a family I’ve been married, shook the hearts of hardened hands, and still today her memory haunts me like a vision like a dream, and some pirate lives to steal her always young and always green.
See the greenman how he blossoms lines and flowers at his feet, sun in one hand, green the other, always ripe and always sweet….
That’s all she remembers, she knows the tune, and  remembers her parents had it on cassette tape….
If anyone can shed any light on the origin of this song please drop us a line at greenman@virgin.net

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 Ancient Legacy

COTGM member Vanessa Piggott recently went to a performance by group called “Folk At The Fold”. They performed a play with poetry and folk songs called The Ancient Legacy based around the changing farming year “then and now,” the theme throughout was the Green man, with songs for every season and readings, and a good big image at the back of the stage. Vanessa recommends anyone near Worcester to look out for the next performance.

The Ancient Legacy

A journey through the seasons in music, song, poetry and sketches

with some of the Counties most respected folk musicians and actors.

“ When Summer days grow shorter and Autumn days draw near,

The nights grow ever longer, ‘till the turning of the year.

If, when the sun is highest, still the world turns as of old,

We know that winter’s waiting, even when the fields are gold”.…..

Vicki Williams

   And just as surely, Spring will follow Winter in the ‘everlasting circle’ of the seasons.

The Ancient legacy’ is a lively production which takes us on a journey through the seasons and the farming year both past and present celebrating them in music, song, poetry and humorous sketches.

Narrators introduce you to the modern farmer struggling with ministry documents, and the ploughboy of long ago as they journey through Spring ploughing, haymaking and harvest  until Christmas celebrations before turning again to look forward to another new year.

Throughout the play the ancient and mysterious symbol of the ‘Green Man’ appears, representing continuity of the seasons and the need for unity with our natural world, ultimately delivering a message of hope for the future.

The play has an eleven strong cast made up of local actors, singers and musicians dedicated to bringing their audience an engaging and thought provoking Production.

For more information please go to :

http://www.ericpaynefolksongs.co.uk/Folkplay.html


Happy New Year

Stafford St Mary's © Jennie Miller & Gary Truss

I would like to wish all our members a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

This wonderful picture was taken by Jennie Miller & Gary Truss and is from St Mary’s in Stafford