A Very Merry Yule and Christmas to all our members, contributors and readers of this blog! I hope you all have a wonderful festive season. Thanks to Rose Blakeley for the wonderful picture and poem on this page. You can find out more about Rose and her work at: http://www.roseblakeley.moonfruit.com/
The Foliate Head
Elusive, masked, I evade your eye,
Whilst silently poised from my boss up high
As a mystery shrouds me, my past is obscure
And bound by the ages, I have strange allure,
For on the winds of antiquity, here I have blown,
But still, I adorn my ecclesiastical throne.
With a delicately carved, ornate leafed-face,
A composite of foliage my features embrace,
And many strange guises oh have I,
For the vogue of my genre, with time, does comply.
I grin and I gurn, in curled, chiselled stone,
In many-a place my leaf-clad head it is known,
Whilst greenery issues from all that you see
And vegetation it disgorges from my mouth before thee.
How I leer, mock and lure, scare with no sound,
Though for my fine, flora form, I am now quite renowned,
For many have sought me, desired what they’ve seen,
They even gave me a name and embellished it with green,
But created was I for this church, my domain,
So in these great arching shadows, here I remain…
Elusive, masked, I evade your eye,
Whilst silently poised from my boss up high.
By Rose Blakeley
Each month I will be publishing a random newspaper article that featured the traditional Jack-in-the-Green. Each of these articles is a magical window into a bygone era. For more information about the Jack in the Green both current and historical visit our main website at: www.thecompanyofthegreenman.co.uk
1832, 1 May: MARLBROUGH-STREET (Magistrates Court)
MAY DAY. – A lady and gentleman, two of the loyal and sooty subjects of Jack in the Green, having, after the May-day enjoyments, ” kicked up a bobbery,” they were taken into custody by a policeman, and placed at the bar on Wednesday, when ” sweepy ” made the following characteristic speech, in answer to the magistrate’s question, ” What are you?” “Oh, why I’m a chimbley sweep – a master sweep – and this here’s my wife. Yesterday was our day, and so we went to John’s wood, to the United Society of Chimbley Sweepers – master chimbley sweeps – and you see we were fatigued, and so we merely drank to squench ourselves ; and we’d got home comfortable enough, nearly, when we were hinsulted by some chaps, and they hit me and my wife : and my wife said, ‘Bill, don’t let them ere coves podger you,’ and so we up and took’d our parts, your honour ; and we all larrup’d one another till this here hofficer com’d up, and oh, s’elp me, I never touched him.” They were committed for seven days
The Atlas, 6 May 1832, page 292.
Our book of the month for December is actually an audio CD of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight by Simon Armitage read by the author. The story of Gawain has always had a link with Yuletide for me and I think this wonderful interpretation would make a perfect Christmas present.
About the Author
You can buy this audio CD from Amazon by using The Company of the Green Man bookshop via THIS LINK
If you buy your green man books via our Amazon links you pay nothing extra but a small referral fee will go towards the Company of the Green Man. This helps us to keep our website and membership free for all our members.
Sally Priston’s work is based around nature, folklore and the changing seasons, she works in 2D in watercolour, ink and pencil generally, and also on wood, using pyrography. We are publishing one of her pictures each month from June 2013 until May 2014. If you would like to get in touch with Sally or would like to purchase any of her art please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org